Our sermon series on Jesus’ parables in the Gospel of Matthew continues this week with Part 2, the Parable of the Weeds. Jesus tells us in this parable that the church will face opposition not only in world, but also within its own ranks. This will happen because we have an enemy that is actively opposing every good work that we do for God’s kingdom.
Among other things, I discuss the challenge of church membership—with all of the church’s problems. I sympathize with Groucho Marx, who said, “I don’t care to belong to any club that would have me as a member.” Thank God that the church, however imperfect, is the kind of club that would have us as members!
In spite of these challenges, we are, at our best, able to demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ to a world that desperately needs it.
Sermon Text: Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
Please note: There’s a small hiccup in this week’s video. The batteries in my Flip camcorder ran out (inexplicably, since I had just put in a fresh set), so Lisa, my wife, switched to her iPhone. Pretty good quality overall!
I don’t have a green thumb. I’m not someone who likes to “play in the dirt,” as the old Pike’s Nursery jingle said. For me, the best thing about fall besides college football is the fact that the grass stops growing—or the weeds stop growing, as the case may be.
As you might imagine, I am very sympathetic with the landowner in today’s parable, who decides to ignore the weeds for the time being, not to pull them up right away. I’m all about ignoring weeds. I do not pull up weeds. Look, I figure if the weeds are green, and they sort of match the rest of the lawn, what’s wrong with some weeds? Once you mow the lawn, it all looks the same—sort of—from a distance at least. I realize that not all of you share my enlightened view of weeds.
Similarly, the servants in today’s parable did not share the landowner’s view of weeds. And who can blame them for wanting to pull up these weeds immediately? These weeds were bad news for wheat farmers. Today, these weeds are called bearded darnel, “false wheat,” or tares, as King James Version says. Darnel is poisonous and potentially deadly. And it looks a lot like wheat—at least until it sprouts. When wheat sprouts, the wheat grain causes the stalk to droop, whereas the darnel stalk stands straight up. To make matters worse, the roots of the darnel become entangled with the roots of the wheat. The landowner doesn’t want to pull up the weeds prematurely because doing so would also uproot a portion of young, perfectly good wheat. It’s easier to sort it out at harvest time, when all the good wheat is ready to be harvested anyway. Read the rest of this entry »