Jesus told the Parable of the Weeds to the crowd in 13:24-30, and we covered it a couple posts back. At the end, I gave a simplified and “practical” or “every day” kind of explanation and mentioned that it has apocalyptic implications. For the most part, I just left it at that, knowing that A) you wouldn’t believe me if I went into it further, and B) that Jesus spoke about in this passage. Jesus isn’t as easy to argue with as I am!
Last time, I mentioned that everything about the Kingdom is apocalyptic, both because it reveals things in the here and now, and because it has eternal significance, as you will shortly see.
The disciples ask about the parable and Jesus holds nothing back:
He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. (13:37-39)
Can you see the “here and now” in this? The here and now is everything except for the last sentence, which is the end, when Jesus returns. We are living in that messed up field, in which good seed has been planted by the Gospel, and in which the weeds planted by the nasty neighbor, the enemy of the farmer (Jesus) has sought to sabotage the crop (Satan). Like the wheat of the field, we struggle with the weeds that try to choke us off. But when the harvest comes…
“As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.” (13:40-43)
Sometimes apocalyptic passages reveal things about the present that have future implications. These verses however do the opposite; they speak of the future in a way that has implications about the present. Take special notice of the weeds in the Kingdom in 41b:
…and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.
Are there “weeds” in the Kingdom today that cause “sin “? Are there “weeds” in the Kingdom today who do evil?
At this point, we might run into a problem if we don’t recognize that fact that there is another Biblical term for the Kingdom, and that term is the “church”. Are there such “weeds” in the midst of the church today?
I would have to say that, “Why yes, there are weeds in the church today, and that these “weeds” cause tremendous harm to both the citizens of the Kingdom, and to the very Kingdom itself.
OK dear reader, are you getting the hang of this whole “apocalyptic” business now? Present things have future implications, and future things have present implications, for both of them reveal considerably more than it would seem at first. Apocalyptic = Revelation.
Now that we are understanding this revelation of the Kingdom, I would offer an “editorial opinion”:
I hear and read a great deal of criticism of the church today, and I also offer some of my own periodically. These weeds have created chaos to a certain degree, filling the church with hierarchies, forms, rules, ceremonies, rituals, and many other abuses that tear people away from Christ; I get that. Yet I grow weary of those who blame the Kingdom (Church) for the subversion of the weeds planted by Satan. Can’t they see that they are playing Satan’s game?
Look carefully: The harvest, the ones who “will shine in the Kingdom of their Father” are not the ones who allow themselves to be choked off and separated from the Kingdom, they are ones who persevere, who resist the devil to the end.
We might ask ourselves where the constant critics are in this picture…