The Wheat and the Weeds

1-16-17
Monday
 
Matthew 13:24–30
24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. 27 The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ 28 ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ 29 ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ ”
 
 
The parable this week is remarkable. Jesus brings us insight into what the kingdom of heaven is like. A concrete depiction of a cosmic truth. And it has some surprises, some discoveries that shake our own reality.
 
 
Jesus is allowing us to have a glimpse into the Kingdom, an introductory look at the bare bones of what it means to be a child of God. The simplest description and the essence of relationship with God. And who would have thought? It’s like farming!
 
 
The kingdom of God is like a farmer who planted good seed in a field. It is the most basic and simple first line you will ever read. God is like a farmer. Who’d of thought?
 
 
He created dirt. He designed seeds and life after death. (That is what happens to a seed when it germinates). He put photosynthesis into play. He made the process of reproduction of seed inherent in the lifecycle of plants. And all this is like the kingdom of heaven. But how?
 
A plant does not bring itself into being.
A baby does not bring itself into the world.
A child of God is not born again of the will of man.
 
There is a God who is responsible for all these actions.
 
As a farmer plants seeds, God is at work planting sons of God into the kingdom… the field of God.
 
 
Prayer: Open my eyes to see the truth contained in this parable and allow me to simplify my understanding of the kingdom so that even I can understand.


Our Good Samaritan

1-13-17
Friday
 
36 Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
 
Jesus says to the lawyer, “You want to know what kind of love the Father requires? Here it is. Anybody can love people who are right next to them. Anybody can love people if it doesn’t cost a lot. Anybody can love people who are just like them.”
 
“Unless your heart has been radically changed, unless real love is growing in your heart because you’ve seen what I have done for you, unless you’ve been humbled by the knowledge that there is no love in your life that’s worthy of God, and unless you’ve been built up by the knowledge that I have paid everything and I have given you all my salvation, you will never love like this.”
 
The lawyer thought this kind of love was required to inherit eternal life. He was willing to love others if that is what it takes to earn salvation, but nobody can love everybody. Most people are willing to do something heroic to earn something of great value. The problem is, when we really look at the story we find ourselves incapable of that kind of love.
 
But Jesus loves like that. Jesus is the Good Samaritan.
 
Do you see it? We are the ones who are lying in the road in our own blood. Jesus comes along and gives us everything necessary. Until you see Jesus as your Good Samaritan, you’ll never be a Good Samaritan.
 
Jesus doesn’t show us what we need to do, he shows us what we can become. We don’t love like that so we can receive something, we love like that because we have received.
 
Prayer: Thanks be to God for the glorious gift of Jesus Christ who rescued us, redeemed us and gifted us. May we forever pattern our lives after the Good Samaritan.


The Story

1-12-17
Thursday
 
Luke 10:30-37
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
 
33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
 
36 Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
 
The genius of Jesus’ teaching is that he brings people of different beliefs and backgrounds, different ethnicities, with different social status and different priorities and he gives them a parable they can all relate to. Even today we can relate to this story.
 
There are still today, people traveling in dangerous areas. There are still thieves who will steal everything you have and leave you in a ditch. There are still witnesses who don’t want to get involved and well-meaning people who see people in need and pretend they don’t see them. There are still racial prejudices and ethnic stereotypes that keep people separated. There are still methods of first aid that are utilized in emergency situations. There are now even better facilities to care for sick and hurting people. And yes, as we know very well, these facilities are expensive and require payment to care for the needy. And there are still people who will help a stranger in need.
 
So why does Jesus tell this story to the lawyer? What does he want him to see in the story? Who does Jesus want you to see in the story? Do you see yourself in the story?
 
Prayer: Father give me fresh eyes to see me myself in the story



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