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The Lord’s Compassionate Care for His Wheat!

July 23, 2017

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Seventh Sunday after Pentecost              Trinity Lutheran Church

23 July 2017                                                Murdock, NE

 

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

 

Here we go again. Another parable. In addition, Jesus blurts out His high pastoral care with these words: “Do you have ears? Then you’d better listen up!”

 

In other words, you need to hear today’s parable of wheat and weeds with the ears and heart of faith! Trusting that Jesus alone is your Savior. That He died FOR YOU. Rose from the grave victoriously FOR YOU! That His Good Friday blood covers all your sin. It’s all atoned for! And that God’s wrath has been silenced. His resurrection guarantees your resurrection to eternal life on the Day of Judgment. Do you believe that? Good! Then on the Last Day you will shine like the sun in the kingdom of God the Father in which Good Friday Jesus reigns forever and ever.

 

If you don’t believe the good news of this gospel, if you oppose and refuse Jesus, His Good Friday death and His Good Friday filled words of forgiveness, then you will weep and gnash your teeth eternally as you will forevermore endure God’s wrath in the fiery furnace of hell.

 

So when Jesus, like last week, says: “Do you have ears? Then listen up,” your salvation is at stake. Either you believe and have eternal life or you don’t believe and you have eternal damnation and death. As you believe or do not believe so you have.

 

The parable of the wheat and the weeds has two points. First, it deals with the future – the Last Day. Judgment Day. In the end Jesus will be vindicated. The seed that He sows ultimately bears fruit – eternal life. Again, those are His believers, the wheat. The seed sown by the devil (the weeds) is destroyed in the end. Yes, in the end, the weeds HAVE NO LASTING EFFECT on the wheat harvest. The weeds DO NO PERMANENT DAMAGE to the Lord’s wheat harvest!

THE WEEDS DO NOT DESTROY THE WHEAT. In the end Jesus prevails because He has already won with His death on the cross. He is the Lord of the harvest field. He is the Savior of the world. He is the Redeemer of all. So nothing, not the devil nor his lies can deny or destroy Christ’s harvest of the wheat.

 

The second part of the parable concerns the present: the here and now. At the moment both wheat and weeds, good and evil, Jesus and the devil, faith and unbelief are all in the field. They’re all mixed up together. Jesus sows the good seed of His faith-creating gospel Word. However, Satan is right there too sowing doubt, despair, and unbelief. Where Jesus does His work, the devil stirs up mischief. Just where Jesus is closest to you, in His Word and Sacrament, in the church, in the divine service – THAT IS WHERE THE DEVIL mounts his greatest threat.

It goes like this? Just like in Genesis 3. “Did Jesus really say that? You can’t trust Him. He’s holding out on you. Baptism doesn’t give you anything. The sermon and absolution really weren’t for you. Bread and wine can’t give you the Good Friday body and blood of Jesus let alone forgiveness. Good grief. Get a grip! Jesus really doesn’t forgive sinners like you. You’d better see to it yourself.” Are you getting it? Are your ears hearing? Are you listening? God’s Word and sacraments are given and Satan is right there. He whispers his lies. He works his mischief. He entices you to doubt Jesus and His word and to trust yourself as if you are your own savior with your own salvific words.

 

Satan is Jesus’ enemy. He will do anything to oppose Jesus and His work FOR YOU. Therefore, he sows his weeds. Densely. Thickly. Profusely. Copiously. So many weeds that the servants question the owner of the field: “You did plant good seed, right?” It’s as if the owner of the field doesn’t have a clue. That He’s a doofus! Look at the field! It’s full of weeds!

 

Stop that! Don’t focus on the weeds. That’s a mistake. Pay attention to the weeds and you lose sight of … THE WHEAT and you begin to doubt the Sower of the good seed. If you focus your attention on what is wrong with the field, then you’ll lose sight of the ONE THING that is right with the field. What’s that? That God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life! The one thing right in this world is Jesus. He is the Good Friday-ed and Easter-ed Sower of the good news of salvation. So, if your focus is on the bad things that happen in the world, you will conclude that there is something wrong with God – like – He’s not as merciful as He claims to be otherwise He would do something about things. Or He’s not as all-powerful as He claims to be because there is so much evil in this world. But God has done something. He has given His Son into death FOR YOU! FOR YOUR SALVATON!

 

The parable gives another perspective. Another alternative. “An enemy did this.” Again, Jesus has His enemies. So do you as His died for believers. When you see or experience sin, disease or death don’t blame God or His Word. “An enemy did this,” Jesus says. Neither the Sower nor the seed is responsible for the weeds. That is the devil’s planting, not the Lord’s.

 

Until Judgment Day, that is, as we live in the present, what is to be done about the weeds among the wheat? Well, if you’re an activist, a doer, one that won’t live by faith but instead by sight, you insist on doing something. Immediately! Yank the weeds now and cut the losses. Crank up the weed eaters and start whacking down those noxious weeds!

 

Farmer, Sower Jesus won’t do that. He has another plan of action. Inaction! “Do nothing! Nada! Not a thing! Let both grow together … until the harvest comes.”

 

So, until Judgment Day, both the wheat and the weeds get the same treatment. They get the same water. The same sunshine. The same compost. The same cultivating. No playing favorites. Just like Scripture says: “God causes his rain to fall on the good and wicked alike,” (Mt 5:45).

 

Wow! Incredible! Not a single weed is to be pulled out by the roots or cut down prematurely. Put down the Round Up. Shut off the weed whackers. Put all that out of your minds. Don’t even go there! The angels at the Lord’s command will take care of the weeds at harvest time. But for now, the wheat and the weeds, good and evil, faith and unbelief will live together in the same field.

 

While the servants are preoccupied with the weeds, Jesus is preoccupied with His wheat! Did you notice that His disciples asked, “Explain to us the parable of the WEEDS in the field,”? What were they concerned about? Yes, weeds! But I’m here to tell you that the parable is about the wheat!

 

The passion of the Sower for His wheat is God’s passion in Jesus to SAVE YOU! Why does God tolerate all the evil in the world? All the mischief of His enemy, the devil? Why doesn’t He just erase all of it right now? Well, the shocking but simple answer is this. It is so that you come to fruitful faith in Jesus and be raised from the dead by clinging to Jesus for your salvation.

 

This calls for patience. For endurance. For the daily dying to your sin and the devil’s lies. For the daily renewal of faith in Jesus who took all your sin in His Body on the cross and answered for it. He has forgiven you of everything. All your doubt of His Word and promises. All your anger at Him. All your mistrust. Name the sin. It’s forgiven. Covered with His divine, Good Friday blood.

 

For now, thanks be to God, Jesus is carefully cultivating you to trust only in Him. He will see to it that you, you grains of wheat are not lost.

 

In the end, on the Last Day, it is the Lord’s harvest. No matter what the devil sows in this life, it all winds up supporting the Lord’s harvest in the resurrection of the body. On Judgment Day the entire field will be uprooted – wheat and weeds, faith and unbelief, good and evil. You, the wheat, will be gathered into the barns of heaven. The weeds will be burned. Jesus, who directs His harvesting angels is the same Jesus who died on the cross FOR YOU. He baptized you. Gave you His saving Name. He absolves you. He gives you His body and blood.

 

YOU ARE A PRECIOUS PLANTING AND HARVEST to Jesus. So precious that He’s willing to put up with a few weeds. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

 

In the Name of Jesus.

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