In Matthew 13, Jesus tells several parables and three of them about seeds: the Sower and the scattering of the seed, the wheat and the weeds and the mustard seed.
The first one was heard last week in churches and we gave thanks for the generous sowing of seed.
This upcoming week we hear about the master who sowed good seed but later his servants came to him confused. If he sowed good seed why are there weeds growing in his field?
They have high regard for their master and don’t understand how weeds could ever creep into their good master’s field. Their confusion is very interesting because it would have been very normal in the first century for the wheat and the weeds to grow alongside of each other. It was also common knowledge that it was better to wait until the harvest to separate the wheat from the weeds. But in Jesus telling of the parable the servants are surprised.
The master explains that the weeds did not come from him but that somebody in the night came and planted the weeds.
The weeds would grow alongside the wheat and would not be visible until the wheat began to develop its grain heads. The wheat would get heavy and droop a little with the weight of the grain. The weeds would then be visible because they carried no fruit for harvest but instead stood straight.
When the servants heard from the master about the devilish source of the weeds, they eagerly wanted to go into the fields and pull out all the weeds. But the master cautioned them to wait until the harvest and leave the work of separation to the harvesters.
This is a marvelous parable about the church and the world, the interior community of the church, and the internal struggles of each individual.
I also find in this parable a reminder that the church community is strengthened by the power of the gospel at work through Jesus. We are not a powerful community when we attack and judge each other. We do not build each other up when we seek to pull the sinners away from the midst of us. We trust God to do the work of the judgment and we live in the midst of the good news that He is planting in our midst.