Biblical Text: Matthew 13:24-45
The gospel lesson continues the parable sermon of Jesus, the 3rd of 5 sermons that make up the Gospel of Matthew. The parable is often called: the wheat and the tares. I remember it by a line from a hymn – the wheat and weeds together sown/unto joy or sorrow grown. It is a hard teaching parable, as may or may not be apparent from that hymn line.
The background summary that I’ve taken in my sermons on the parables is that these are some of the deeper teachings that would be taught to newbies in the faith. The sermon on the mount is rather straightforward first teaching. The missionary discourse (Matthew 10) is a presentation of how the Word comes to us from outside of us and how the call to discipleship is not all sunshine and roses. But then Jesus turns to parables for what are harder questions. Why are the reactions to hearing the word all over the place? (The Parable of the Sower and the Soils). And the biggie of the Wheat and Weeds – Why is their evil in the world?
And the answer of the parable isn’t the most satisfying, but it is an answer. While that might be the question that the parable is an answer to, the parable wants to turn our attention to something better. Yes, there is evil. Yes, we live amid weeds. But there will be a harvest. The weeds do not stop the wheat from being fruitful. And polished by the parables sandwiched between the parable and explanation, that eternal hope is not all we have. The Kingdom is working now, like a mustard seed, or like leaven. The devil sowed his weeds, but the kingdom has its own trickery that overgrows those. And that is Hope. The eternal Hope seeps and grows into this life. And Hope does not disappoint us.