“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?’
“‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
“‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 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.’”
This little story is one of Jesus’ most profound and expansive parables. In just a few lines, it deals with cosmology, theodicy and eschatology. Cosmology examines the beginning of time and the creation of the world. Jesus tells us that God created a good world where people can thrive and be fruitful in service to our Creator. Theodicy studies God’s response to suffering and evil. Why does God let bad things happen in his good world? Why doesn’t God just pull up all the weeds? Eschatology imagines the end of time and the final fulfillment of God’s plan for this world. Jesus tells us in the parable that there will be a divine judgment in which the weeds will be destroyed and the good wheat will be harvested into God’s glorious presence. That’s a lot of ground to cover in one parable.
If we are honest, we may not really like what Jesus is telling us here. Like most people, we tend to side with the servant who wants to go pull up all the weeds. Why let evil persist? Why allow bad things to happen to good people? Why doesn’t God do something about all the suffering and hurt in his world? Why does God put up with racism, domestic violence, sexual assault, abortion, greed and corruption? There are just so many weeds!
Jesus assures us of two things in this parable. First, the weeds are here to stay, for now. We don’t have to like them, but we do have to put up with them and learn to live good lives despite the bad happening around us. Second, God has a perfect plan to deal with evil. Judgment will fall on this world, and God will rightly divide the wheat from the weeds. That isn’t our job, and we can’t control when it will happen, but we can know for sure that one day Jesus will return to take his followers to heaven where there will be no more weeds.
Good Father, thank You for creating this world where I can know You and love You. Give me strength to endure the hardships and hurts of this life, and give me hope for eternity. I trust in Your goodness and grace, through Jesus my Savior. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian