THE MIXED CROP PLOY
Matthew 13:24-30, [the parenthesis (…) is Jesus’ own interpretation in the later verses]
Another parable he set before them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like a man (Jesus, v37) who sowed good seed (children of the kingdom, v38) in his field (the world, v38):
But while everyone slept, his enemy (the devil, v39) came and sowed tares (children of the wicked one, v38) among the wheat, and went his way.
[This was likely DARNEL or rye grass which grows in grain fields. The name was formerly given to any weed growing in grain.] But when the plants sprouted, and formed grain, the tares also appeared.
So the servants of the householder came and said , Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? Then how did the tares get there?
He said, An enemy has done this. The servants said, So, do you want us to go and weed them out?
But he said, No; you might root up some of the wheat.
Let both grow together until the harvest (end of the age, v39): and at harvest time I will tell the reapers (the angels, v39), gather first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
Have you ever wondered at the way evil seems to go unpunished even among Christians? Impostors flourish and it seems that God doesn’t notice. In verse 28 & 29 the servants came to Him and asked the question, “How did this happen?” Then they offer to go take care of the problem. We’re always ready to take care of those little impostors for God, aren’t we? Note how He replies, “No, you’ll just kill off some of the good guys along with them. Just leave them alone and I’ll take care of it at Harvest time.”
Jesus is the One who has been given all authority in the judgment department. The thing that makes Him take care of things a little differently than we expect is that He has this directive from the Father: I don’t want any of My Children to perish. If He rooted up the impostors before we are ripe for Harvest, some of us would be rooted up, too.
You might be thinking, “I’m already being uprooted by these con artists, these wolves in sheep’s clothing!”
There’s only two things to say to that:
• 1] Don’t make the mistake of thinking you know enough to do the judging for Jesus. Don’t take the time out of what you are supposed to be doing to judge someone based on the limited insight you may have.
• 2]Don’t confuse your present trials, no matter how devastating, with being uprooted. Remember the apostles and all the others who endured persecution, torture and death. They didn’t just have a hard time getting along. They didn’t just get depressed or have a nervous breakdown. They weren’t just slandered or humiliated. They were tortured to death. Did that uproot them? No! They endured all that for the deep soul-joy of being eternally rooted in Yeshua their Messiah.
OK! So what is the point? If the outcome (or crop) is going to be the same either way, what is the purpose of the “tares”? Let’s look at it from the devil’s point of view for a moment. What would he be trying to prove? He must know better than to think that planting weeds in with God’s wheat is going to actually turn any of the wheat stalks into weeds. No, from the devil’s perspective, this is at best a malicious prank just to cause confusion, choke off some of the growth and add more to the work of growing and harvesting the wheat.
Now, let’s look from God’s view. That’s always where the real fun begins! Oh, but before we do, let me ask this question – Do you believe the devil has ever surprised God? You would probably agree with me that the devil is a very predictable ego-maniac whose antics always end up playing into God’s ultimate plan for His Children.
Back to the point – If God knew that the devil would be sneaking in and pulling that prank, why didn’t He stop him? He could have saved Himself a lot of work. Now, I’ll tell you right now the discussion of this could fill volumes but let me just kick a little hole in one corner of God’s goodie-bag and see what comes out.
Notice, the very thing that would actually cause the confusion in the beginning is what makes everything clear in the end. Here’s what I mean. The devil didn’t plant dandelions in the wheat. The field workers would have noticed that the minute a leaf was formed. No, the plant of choice was one that looked just like wheat right up until the fruit was supposed to appear. At that point the roots were full grown; it took up just as much space as the wheat stalk, but no fruit was formed in the flower. Instead, the flower would turn a tell-tale color and just hang out – continuing to “act” like wheat but now everyone knows the truth. At least, everyone with their eyes open. [This would be a good time to review Matthew 7:15-27]
YOU BECOME THE SEED OF WHAT IS PLANTED IN YOU
Don’t dwell on the devil’s objectives. They’re not worth the time it takes to mention them. Jesus said the seeds are people. [By the way, seeds grow up to be plants after they have died and are buried. Deep, huh?] These people/seeds form two very distinct groups. But God allows the bad and the good seed to grow in the same earth side-by-side. I’m sure I could never know all the reasons why, but the list needs to start with practical stuff like, How else would we know the difference? I mean, how but by contrast could God show us some of the subtle differences between wrong and right, evil and righteousness, etc? But wait! His purpose is not to teach us how to discerningly focus on other people’s problems. His goal is to show us Himself so that we will come to know Him. I’m pretty sure that every point we would rightly make concerning God’s purposes for us would come down to that – that we might know Him – since that’s the definition of Eternal Life. [John 17:3]
NEXT ISSUE: Jesus’ next word pictures describe the result of being ROOTED IN HIM