More of Jesus’ Parables
AUGUST 24- Nº 236 Matthew 13:24-43; Mark 4:30-34
Jesus had been rejected by Israel’s leaders (see #234 - August 22). He knew that he would soon die on the cross, be resurrected, and then leave the earth to live with his Father in heaven. He began to teach his disciples what would take place before he returned to ultimately defeat Satan. He wanted them to grasp the vital role they had in spreading the Gospel message while he was gone. He taught these lessons using parables—simple everyday stories that illustrated important spiritual Truths (see #235 - August 23). Since there was a lot of agriculture in Galilee, Jesus’ parables often included farmers. One of the stories he told was about a farmer who planted a field filled with wheat. In the middle of the night, one of his enemies snuck in and planted weeds in the same field. As the wheat began to sprout, so did the weeds. The servants were upset. “Sir, didn’t you sow good seeds?” they asked. “Where did the weeds come from? Do you want us to pull them out?” “An enemy did this,” the owner replied. “But it is not your role to pull out the weeds. If you try, you might accidentally pull up some wheat as well. We will wait until it is time for the harvest. Then I will send my workers to gather the weeds, tie them in bundles, and burn them. After that we will be able to gather the wheat and store it.” Later, Jesus’ disciples asked him to explain what this parable meant. He told them that the farmer represented the Son of Man (the term Jesus used when referring to himself as the Messiah—see #229 - August 17). He went on to explain that the field was the world, and in this parable, the good seeds represented the children of the Kingdom. The enemy who mixed the weeds in with the good crop was the devil. “The harvest will take place when time is up on this earth,” Jesus said. “Then I will send my angels to gather everything that causes sin and everyone who does evil. Together they will be thrown into the fiery furnace. But the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” Jesus wanted his disciples to understand that only God knows what is inside people’s hearts. Only He knows who His children are. It wasn’t up to the disciples, or anyone else, to make that judgment. In another parable, Jesus described the kingdom of heaven as a mustard seed—the smallest seed the Israelites planted. “Yet,” Jesus said, “when it is put in the ground, it grows into the largest of all the garden plants. As a matter of fact, it can become so large that the birds of the air are able to perch in its branches.” Jesus was illustrating that God’s kingdom would start very small, but eventually it would grow into something very large. And Satan would take full advantage of this growth. He would infiltrate and corrupt the kingdom with his evil ambassadors. (In Jesus’ parables, the birds were always agents of Satan—see #235 - August 23.) These false representatives would look like they worked for God, but their goal would be to replace God’s Truths with Satan’s lies.
The parables teach us that Satan will do anything he can to disrupt the spreading of the Gospel message. He will plant false replicas and replace the Truth with lies! But our job is to continue to plant and share the Truth. Instead of pulling up weeds, we are to plant seeds. How are you doing? Where can you plant seeds today?