Reflective Bible Study.
Delaying Judgment: Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 Focus Passage: Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 (NIrV)During His ministry, Jesus shared many parables to help illustrate the broad spiritual truths He wanted the crowds to learn. In one of these parables, which centers on the theme of farming, a phrase Jesus says stands out in my mind as being very fascinating. In this phrase, we learn a little more about God and the gift He has given called “free will”. In the parable, a farmer has planted a field of wheat, but during the night, an enemy comes and plants weeds among the wheat. This initial setup gives us a picture of Jesus and Satan: Jesus wants to be productive; Satan simply wants to make Jesus’ life difficult. By sowing weeds, Satan is showing himself to be worthless. If Satan had sowed a different type of plant that was of practical use, then while he still would be evil, his actions may have unintended positive results for Jesus’ work. What is interesting in this parable is that both the planting of the seed and the planting of the weeds are invisible initially. When there are seeds on the ground of both types, and before anything has started growing, there is no way to simply move through the field and collect all the actual weeds. Even after the wheat and the weeds have begun to grow, at the early stages of their growth they may look similar. It is when things begin to look obvious that there is more than wheat growing in the field that the servants of the farmer come with a question: “Do you want us to go and pull up the weeds?” (v. 28) In Jesus’ parable, the farmer responds, “No. While you are pulling up the weeds, you might pull up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest.” (29-30a) In this question and response, we see a picture of God that is powerful. While there are weeds growing, He chooses to let them grow alongside the wheat. This accurately reflects the world we are currently living in: There are evil people who are thriving, and it seems like God is not doing anything about it. While God could simply snap His fingers together and erase all evil in an instant, Jesus tells us why He doesn’t do this: “While you are pulling up the weeds, you might pull up the wheat with them.” (v. 29) It is for the sake of having as much wheat as possible that Jesus chooses to let the weeds continue to grow. God knows that if He were to start weeding out what His enemy had done before the right time, then He might lose some of the wheat He planted. There will be a time when the harvest will come, and at that time God will send His angels into the world. His angels will separate those the enemy had planted from those God had planted. It is not up to us to know when God’s harvest is truly ripe. What matters to us at this instant is that we still have the choice which plant we will become: Will we be a weed who sides with the enemy, or will we be wheat standing for God? While the harvest is still a future event, the choice is still ours to make. This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus “Reflective Bible Study” package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today! Read this article on the web on it's official page: Delaying Judgment: Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43