Beautiful Weeds | Matthew 13:24-43
The story is supposed to be about the end of the world, or at least that is the way the church generally teaches it. In most pulpits, this Jesus story becomes more fire and brimstone, more warning of the judgment to come.
I think we’ve missed the point.
This story is about God responding to people. Jesus told the crowd a story that started where they were—expecting judgment and condemnation from God—and taught them about patience and grace. Jesus even began by saying that this story was about the kingdom of God. He didn’t say it was about the judgment of God.
In other words, this is more about how it is than about how it will be.
In this kingdom, God is not in a hurry to snatch up the weeds. Growing the wheat is more important. At any rate, it seems it may take an angel to tell the difference—the disciples don’t get to do any sorting, and the wheat never has a say in the matter.
Maybe the weeds look like wheat. Maybe some of the wheat looks like weeds.
Maybe some of the wheat only thinks it is wheat, because it is surrounded by wheat. The good news is that it works the other way as well. Maybe some of the weeds only think they are weeds—we might turn out to be wheat after all.
Jesus is talking about mysterious things. Between the story of the wheat and the explanation, Jesus talks about tiny seeds growing into large trees and unseen leaven causing bread to rise. This kingdom, this God, is about the mysterious processes of creation and growth, not condemnation and destruction.
Interestingly, the lectionary pairs this passage with Genesis 28:10-19, the story of Jacob’s ladder, which gives us this verse:
Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until have done what I have promised you. (Genesis 28:15, New Revised Standard Version)
That’s not the promise of a vengeful, judgmental God, a God whom we have made in our own image. That’s the promise of a patient God, a faithful God, taking all the time it takes to grow us into God’s own image of us.