Wednesday in the Eighth Week of Ordinary Time

Matthew 13:24-30, 34-43; Mark 4:33-34

The Enemy of the Kingdom

Again a parable begins, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to….”  That is the purpose of Jesus’ parables – to teach us about His kingdom.  This parable tells us that there is an enemy within the kingdom, a very real enemy, and he is the devil, otherwise called “the evil one.”  We actually have three enemies: our “flesh,” by which Scripture denominates our sinful nature, the world, which is not our friend (1 John 5:19), and as we have already said, the devil.  The devil as “the tempter” uses the other two to trip us up any way he can.  Yes, we have an enemy, and he truly hates us.

In this parable, Jesus uses an illustration that his listeners would have been very familiar with.  Wheat was a staple of that time, much like today.  So after the master of the house and his servants finished their work and slept, an enemy, the evil one, came and sowed weeds among the wheat.  Now I have read that this weed was probably something called “darnel.”  The “demonic” character of this particular weed is that when it first appears, it is indistinguishable from the wheat.  It is only after some maturation that the difference appears – and then it is too late to do anything but let the wheat and weeds grow together until the harvest when they can be separated.  Jesus explains the parable to his disciples, how the wheat represents the children of the kingdom, the weeds the children of the evil one, and the harvest the end of the world; the weeds are burned up and the wheat gathered into the barn.  So far the meaning is unmistakable.

But there are other lessons here.  To begin, sometimes the wheat and weeds are indistinguishable – sad but true.  Furthermore, we should never judge one’s salvation; that is for God alone.  Sometimes the most “godly” is the biggest hypocrite while the one we think the greatest sinner actually more humble and repentant.  But there is something else here: It seems that God has ordained that evil, though brought on by the fall, is part of God’s plan.  It is necessary that the weeds and the wheat grow together; God forbids the taking of either one out of the world before the time which He has appointed.  One day, He will, and the righteous shall shine like the sun with no evil to hinder them.  So God’s sovereignty is shown in that He uses everything for His purpose, even evil. And do not understand the parable to be teaching that the devil “created” the weeds.  The devil can create nothing; that is something only God can do.  But he does corrupt; that is how he “sows.”  Finally, these parables were hidden from the foundation of the world until revealed by Jesus.  What a bounty the gospels are to us!

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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