TEXT: MATTHEW 13:24-30, 36-42
ROMANS 8:18-27/ISAIAH 44:6-8
AMONG IDOLS AND TARES
THE SON OF MAN GIVES SURE HOPE FOR THE HARVEST!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting

Jesus words in the Gospel are sweeping and profound!  He pictures all the people who have ever lived in the world or who will yet live on this globe!  You are included!  I am included!  His word-picture reaches to the very end of the world and the judgment of heaven and hell for all mankind!  His parable is easy to understand yet difficult to take!  While He spoke the parable to the crowds, He spoke the interpretation of the parable only to His disciples.  He who has ears, let him hear.

“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away…The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man.  The field is the world, and the good seed is the children of the kingdom.  The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. 


TEXT: MATTHEW 13:24-30, 36-42
ROMANS 8:18-27/ISAIAH 44:6-8
AMONG IDOLS AND TARES
THE SON OF MAN GIVES SURE HOPE FOR THE HARVEST!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting

Jesus words in the Gospel are sweeping and profound!  He pictures all the people who have ever lived in the world or who will yet live on this globe!  You are included!  I am included!  His word-picture reaches to the very end of the world and the judgment of heaven and hell for all mankind!  His parable is easy to understand yet difficult to take!  While He spoke the parable to the crowds, He spoke the interpretation of the parable only to His disciples.  He who has ears, let him hear.

“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away…The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man.  The field is the world, and the good seed is the children of the kingdom.  The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. 

Dear Christians – Jesus here presents a world view that is simple and yet sobering!  It is not the view of CNN or ABC or Fox News!  There are two who sow seed and only two!  The Son of Man and the evil one!  Arising from the sowing of wheat and weeds, there are two categories of human beings and only two!  Children of the kingdom and sons of the evil one!

Among all the people that are in this world - that are categorized and grouped and form cliques and get organized and join clubs and socialize and join forces economically and work together politically – Jesus will judge each human being not as a member of their group but as either wheat or weeds.  Whether wealthy or impoverished, whether single or married, whether right-to-work minded or union-minded, whether Democrat or Republican, whether American or European or Asian – every human being that has ever lived or ever will live is either wheat or weed.  First place energetic devotion to any other division in this bondage of decay is idolatry.  Devotion to some cause or some group that week by week rings stronger in our hearts and lives than devotion to and promotion of Christ’s Church is idol worship. 

The sobering part of Jesus’ world view is that the weeds will be intermingled with the wheat until the last day.  The Christian Church will not grow greater and more glorious on earth!  That is millennial imagination!  It is not grounded in the sowing of the Son of Man!  Until the harvest comes the weeds will do what weeds do – grow and grow seeking to choke out the wheat from this world!  Remember Jesus’ question in another place, “When the Son of Man comes will He find the faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8).

Jesus here and Isaiah in our Old Testament reading reveal massive idolatry at work in this world!  Those living as weeds are really living as idolaters!  In Isaiah’s day – in the context of Babylon’s pantheon of 3000 idols, most were busy building idols to fit in and get along.  Israel was being choked out by the weeds!

A helpful illustration might be the hundreds of build-a-bear workshops you may have heard of.  Customers can come and chose one of 30 models and stuff it and stitch and dress it according to their tastes.  When they are done, they receive a certificate verifying that it is their creation – the product of their desires!

In Isaiah’s day, Israel was into building idols like customers build bears in these workshops.  They wanted a Messiah who would give them earthly privilege and remove their suffering for faithfulness to Yahweh!  They were willing to adapt to Babylon’s idol workshop if it made life easier in the here and now.  The evil one and His sowing is behind every such compromise and addiction to the powers of this world.  Beloved, you also are into building such idols!  Your heart is a perpetual idol factory – as is my heart!  We imagine that God should like what we like!  In that vein, He should improve our standard of living – increase my feelings of happiness.  He should keep me healthy and prosper my clique.  And I implore you – don’t think about others and the cliques of others as you hear these words – for that would be the sowing of the evil one in your heart even as the Son of Man is here scattering His seed.

Whatever you set your heart on and put your trust in is truly your God (Luther LC 13).  Investments – careers – people - social position – privilege you are accustomed to – political power – economic success!  We all believe we have too little control and must have more for ourselves and for our group also for benefit to others of course.  We are so wise, like the Babylon idol Nebo, who was thought to give wisdom and understanding for human destiny.  You see, everyday is time to turn in our tools, and stop building substitutes, and throw away our idols and never do business at the build-a-god workshop again.  Yet every day the workshop is open!

The stakes are more than temporary.  False gods trap us into a life of hopelessness!  They do not endure!  They look pretty for a time but come up empty in the end!  On our death bed and on Judgment Day they will be a “no show” – “so sorry” – “weeping and gnashing of teeth are your lot now.”  

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.  The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all lawbreakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace.  In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.  He who has ears, let him hear.”

If you do not believe that you and all those in your earthly groupings are worthy of the fiery furnace, than the Son of Man cannot help you.  Eternity is not a game of multiple-choice!  The Good harvest is not determined by the good intentions of your good friends!  Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts; I am the first and the last; besides me there is no god.  Who is like me?  Let him proclaim it. 

Indeed, who is like the Redeemer – our kinsmen - the one who buys us sinners back?  The first and the last is a title given to Jesus in Revelation!  He is God in the flesh in the field of this world! 

The weeds and the one who sows them sought to root out the wheat – Christ – from this world!  They hung Him to burn in the noon-day sun.  Even more, the Father cut Him down and burned Him in the fiery furnace of hell in our stead!  Christ suffered on behalf of all the weeds in the field – including us!

Who is like me?  Let him proclaim it…Is there a God besides me?  There is no Rock; I know not any!  Unlike the Babylonian pantheon of 3000 idols, the Lord is One!  Unlike the American religious scene with a plethora of spiritual idols (some of them including the name of Jesus) some of them nature idols, some of them eastern idols, some of them monetary idols some of them political idols some of them personal idols - the Lord is One!  Is there a God besides me?  There is no Rock; I know not any! 

After His rest in the rock-hewn tomb, Jesus rose to guarantee the sacrifice He made on the Rock called Golgotha!  He is now the world’s cornerstone!  Satan with His accusing head is now crushed between a Rock and a hard place – between the risen Rock of Ages and His Sacrifice on Calvary.  Your hope is rock solid because Jesus is now your Savior and brother!  You are wheat because the Sower sowed good seed in you!  He washed you!  He feeds you!  No one is able to snatch you out of His hand (John 10:29).  He will soon call you from this groaning creation so subject to futility.  The harvest, the close of the age will come!  Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.  Indeed, the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.  He who has ears, let him hear.  In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center | 3833 N Maryland Ave | Shorewood, WI  53211
(414) 332-5732 |lmcusc@lmcusc.org

Divine Service: Sundays - 9:00a Mondays - 7:00p Bible Study & Sunday School: Sundays - 10:45a