Saturday, August 15, 2015

Jesus' Kingdom grow Quietly and Abundantly (At First, it is Indistinguishable)

Wheat and weeds look very similar, it takes an experienced eyes to discern between them
’The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew. The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’ ‘An enemy has done it!’ the farmer explained. ‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked. ‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.’” (Matthew 13:24-30, NLT).

Jesus explained that the Kingdom grows quietly and abundantly, but evil still exists in the world. As Jesus provides the meaning of this parable in Matthew 13:36-39, he revealed that himself, the “Son of Man” is the farmer; the “field” is the world; the “good seed” symbolizes God’s people; the “weeds” are Satan’s people; the “enemy” is Satan; and the “harvesters” are angels. A common practice in ancient warfare and feuds was to destroy the enemy’s agriculture. Thus, the presence of Satan’s people among the people of God would weaken them. So it seems.

At first, the weeds and wheat are indistinguishable; eventually, however, the differences become obvious. At harvest time, harvesters remove the weeds and get rid of them. The “weeds” may be people in the church (and of course the world too) who appear to be believers, called themselves ‘Christian’, but who never truly believe. Later, the apostles would battle the problem of false teachers who had come from within the ranks of the believers (see, for example, 2 Peter 2:1-3; 13-22), and this problem is still exist even today – until Jesus’ second coming.

As new believers begin to mature in faith, their lives begin to reflect the Holy Spirit’s work, affecting values, perspectives, priorities, attitudes, and actions. Those who aren’t true followers of Christ, however, continue to reflect the values and attitudes of the world. Eventually, the truth will be revealed, and God will judge righteously and send each group to their deserved eternal destination. For the “weeds”, whose who “cause sin” and “do evil” (Matthew 13:41), that will be terrible. But “the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom” (Matthew 13:43).

Think about this: God is the ultimate judge of who truly belongs to him. We should be slow to judge others, realizing people have different levels of spiritual maturity. Only God knows their hearts. Instead, we can lovingly share the gospel, teach, encourage, and comfort and discipline, when necessary, leaving the final judgment to him. As for you and me, Jesus said we can tell a lot about people by their “fruit”, how they act and what they produce (Matthew 7:20), so what “fruit” are we producing that shows we belongs to Jesus? How our values, perspectives, attitudes, and actions differ from those who don’t know Christ? It is very well with our souls if we can ask these crucial questions to ourselves and examine our own hearts in the light of Christ’ gracious mercy and love. Amen.


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