WHEAT, WEED, SEED, YEAST
Father in heaven, I am grateful for the gift of another day. Where you lead, may I gladly follow.
Read Matthew 13:24–35
The Parable of the Weeds
24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”
The Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast
31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds[a] of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
34 Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. 35 So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet:
“I will open my mouth in parables,
I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.”[b]
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘We wait with patience, not like people in a dark room wondering if anyone will ever come with a lighted candle …’1
The parable of the weeds begins where the previous parable ended – on good soil. However, in a slight twist, Jesus introduces the enemy as a contending sower. Read alongside the parable of the net (vs 47–50), it highlights the present coexistence of good and evil, looking forward to a final separation of the two in the future. The parable of the weeds emphasizes the natural inclination to eliminate that which is evil when it is threatening that which is good. Can good and evil flourish together? Jesus affirms so and directs that the process of eradication is his. If, like me, you have a natural inclination to rip out the weeds, then may God give us ears to hear.
The parable of the mustard seed must have been a reassuring moment for the disciples, who surely entertained moments of wondering how they could be the catalyst for some of the things Jesus was suggesting. Does the parable also emphasize the impact of a penniless preacher from Nazareth being declared the world’s foremost character in history?
Each of these parables emphasizes the need for patience. Our ‘get it now’ culture appears in direct conflict with waiting. The farmer waits frustrated, observing the weeds entangle the wheat. Similarly, the mustard seed requires significant time before birds can perch in its branches. The mysterious leavening of the whole loaf lacks immediacy. Yet God says ‘wait’. What may God be saying to you about the emergence of his kingdom in your life? Later, Matthew records Jesus saying that we only need faith the size of a mustard seed to be able to move a mountain.2 Lord, grant us both patience and faith for the mountains we face today.
‘… but like people in early morning who know that the sun has arisen and are now waiting for the brightness of midday.’3
Lord, show me the ways in which I can make the world a better place. Help me to light candles of hope and change my world.
1 Tom Wright, Matthew for Everyone, Part 1, SPCK, 2002, p170 2 Matt 17:20 3 See note 1
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