Today’s readings.. (Genesis 19), (Psalm 22), (Matthew 12)
Today’s chapter in Matthew (13) is full of Jesus’ parables, 8 in all. Some are long, like the familiar parable of the sower, some are short, even just one verse, like the parable of “the hidden treasure” [v.44] which a man found hidden in a field and “in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
They are all parables related to “the kingdom” – how to be in it: this parable telling was beneath ‘the dignity’ of the religious leaders – don’t let them be beneath ours? Combined, and with many other scriptures, they show that a heavenly kingdom is coming on earth which will replace the kingdoms of men that presently dominate life on earth. Which kind of kingdom do we desire to be in?
One parable is of weeds (tares) growing together with the good grain, they are weeds of human thinking and concepts of the meaning of life – recently termed “humanism.” We understand that only when it is near harvest time, is it easy to distinguish which is which! The reapers (angels) are told “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.” [v.30] It is plainly stated “the harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Just as the weeds, are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age” [v.39,40] Another parable is about fishing with a large net “when it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. So will it be at the close of the age…” [v.48,49]
The meaning of these parables is plain; we have just about reached the evil climax of the world and whereas there was only one “devil” among the 12 disciples (John 6 v.70) of Jesus, they abound today, teaching what Jesus did not teach and, sometimes making a good profit out of doing so! Reading on in v.49 (not quoted above) is “ … at the close of the age the angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Do you remember how – when his disciples asked Jesus to explain the parable of the sower – the explanation he gave of the seed sown among the thorns? Jesus said, “this is the one who hears (reads?) the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word…” [v.22] How true that is NOW! May that not include us.