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Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
[Mt 13:24] Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field.  “But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away.  “But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also.  “The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’  “And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’  “But he said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them.  ‘Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.’”
 Then He left the crowds and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.”  And He said, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man,  and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one;  and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels.  “So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age.  “The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness,  and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  “Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
[Mt 13:24] Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field.
Eyewitness to heaven
As we read this parable, we should keep in mind that Jesus is talking about what he has witnessed. He is not guessing about “what the kingdom is like,” he was at its creation. These are eyewitness accounts of heaven. All the more reason to pay special attention to the “the Kingdom is like” stories that Jesus shares with those gathered.
The Good Seed
This statement needs to guide our thoughts and behaviors toward all people. What God planted was good seed. From the moment of creation, we have been given every opportunity to bear good fruit. That means that every person created has “good seed” in them. This seed is the very dignity of God planted deep in our being. Therefore, we treat all people as sacred because “the Sacred” is in them.
[Mt 13:25] “But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away.
Does anyone think that this life is for rest and comfort? That is the challenge of this reading—for the enemy sneaks in when we are least vigilant. These workers had not posted guards although it was evident that they knew their Master had enemies, “We also know our Master has an enemy.”
When David rested
David was the great King of Israel as long as he was at the front of his people. His demise as king began when he sent his troops out to be vigilant, while he remained in the luxury of his own palace.
2 Samuel 11:1
Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem.
The Vigilant Steward
As Christian’s, our first obligation is to love God above all else. This is not for God’s sake as much as it is for our sake, our vigilance. The more we focus on our own wants the less we can hear God’s whisper.
Am I constantly vigilant? Perpetually focused on serving God’s needs and loving the “least accepted and most rejected?” Do I build the habits of vigilance in my life and surround myself with people who are eager to serve God? That’s “Habitual Vigilance.”
[Mt 13:26] “But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also.
“But when the wheat sprouted…”
There is a subtle truth here that must be acknowledged; the weeds aren’t evident until the grain starts to grow.
1 Titus 1:3-7
“ As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines,  nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith.  But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.  For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion,  wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.”
2 Titus 2:24-25
 The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged,  with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth.
 These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage.  But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ,  that they were saying to you, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.”  These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit.  But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,  keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.  And have mercy on some, who are doubting;  save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.  Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy,  to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
[Mt 13:27] “The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’  “And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’  “But he said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them.  ‘Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.’”
The incredible compassion
At first glance, this story may seem unnerving to Christ’s listeners. Yet, one must jump into the moment to understand its scope. Jesus is speaking to large crowds, many came days to hear him – others gave up their lives to follow him. Still, scattered about the crowd, are those who are listening for ways to trap Jesus and denounce him.
Christ’s message would evoke a different response from each of those people and I, too, am somewhere in that crowd. Sometimes I am just listening, at other times I seek ways to stop the “threat” of Jesus from changing my comfortable existence or resisting the call to give up everything and follow him. How do we respond in each situation?
Those just listening
When we are “just listening” we say to those around us; “Hmm, that was an interesting talk, now where do you want to go for breakfast?”
Seeking to condemn
When we seek to condemn Jesus, we only hear what fuels our fire. We will listen for what will accent our prejudice, not for truth and (certainly) not for change. How often do we hear only what we want and skip what threatens or challenges our lifestyle or comfort zone.
Those who gave all
I believe the sincere believer will hear a teaching like this and ask, “Could I be a tare in God’s crop?”
 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,  who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials.
The focused vision
The second thing we learn about God in this story is his abiding vision. The very vision he invites me to understand and share. God’s eye, focused on eternity, stays his hand of judgment today. Judgment is held in check for the sake of the harvest. That should draw two responses from the believer: 1) Thanksgiving, and 2) urgency. Thanksgiving because God waited for me. Urgency because there are so many others who have never heard his words of love and invitation. What else can I do with Jesus’ incredible gift except tell others or support those who are doing gathering work in the harvest? If I can go, I must. If I can’t go, then what can I do to send others? What can I do to say; “I can’t go, but Lord please let me support those who can and please send your least, little ones to me.”
[Mt 13:40] “So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age.  “The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness,  and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  “Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
“At the end of the age…”
While some people create entire theologies about “when exactly will we see the end of the age,” we don’t fret ourselves with such busywork. We are not “clock-watchers.” We are not staring at the second hand waiting for the shift bell to ring. Harvest workers don’t work until 5:00 PM, they work until the harvest is completely and safely stored. They work until every seat is filled at the banquet. Christ goes so far as to tell his questioning disciples it is not for them to know when the end of the age will occur.
 So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”
About the Author
Jerry Goebel is a community organizer who started ONEFamily Outreach in response to gang violence and youth alienation in a rural community in Southeastern Washington. Since that time, Jerry has worked with communities around the globe to break the systemic hold of poverty by enhancing the strengths of the poor.
Copyright © 2007 Jerry Goebel. All Rights Reserved. This study may be freely distributed, as long as it bears the following attribution: Source: Jerry Goebel: 2007 © http://onefamilyoutreach.com.
Scripture Quotations noted from NASB are from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD VERSION of the bible. Copyright © The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995. Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org)
The New Testament Greek Lexicon based on Thayer’s and Smith’s Bible Dictionary plus others; this is keyed to the large Kittel and the “Theological Dictionary of the New Testament.” These files are public domain.
The Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon is Brown, Driver, Briggs, Gesenius Lexicon; this is keyed to the “Theological Word Book of the Old Testament.” These files are considered public domain.
NAS Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible with Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries. Copyright © 1981, 1998 by The Lockman Foundation. All rights reserved. (www.Lockman.org)
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