The Parable of the Weeds

Key Text: Matthew 13:24-43

The mixed presence of sin and righteousness in the church is a reality Jesus wants us to work with. This has always been and always will be true, till Jesus returns. Unclean animals in the same Ark as the clean animals, as well as obedient and disobedient people, such as Noah and his dishonorable son Ham, Gen. 7:2, 9:22, IPt. 3:20. The goats are in the same field as the sheep, Mt. 25:32. The good & bad fish are in the same net, Mt. 13:47. The wheat & chaff are on the same barn floor, Mt. 3:12. Vessels of honor & dishonor in the same great house, IITm 2:20. In the mind of God, Judas Iscariot is within the same apostleship as the beloved John, but there comes a day, when judgment separates good and bad forever. Until judgment, we must work together. The scriptural work of withdrawal or church discipline is in the hands of Elders, not us. Judgment is for God in Jesus as the Good Shepherd and his Church Shepherds, not the sheep, (you & me). Judging with righteous judgment is for Apostles & Elders, not us. Jn. 7:24.

There are two sides of every coin, and there are two spheres of the Kingdom, Spiritual & human. God’s family is truly both Heavenly and earthly, compare Col. 1:13-18 & Eph. 3:14.

The enemy of Christ is against Him, sowing similar looking plants which grow alongside the real wheat. The enemy is inverted, the weeds are perverted. The good news is that perversions can be straightened, but whatever is inverted is totally opposed, and unwilling to turn. James says the devil believes in God and trembles, not turns, James 2:19. Since weeds represent false Christians, then it is possible, if they want to turn, that they may be straightened in real life, but in the picture of a parable, the message is that God reserves the unique position of judgment to Himself, not us. The act of justification by faith is for people, not plants, Romans 5:1 & 8:1. This is the nature of Christ’s Kingdom seen in the parable of the weeds.Notice the difference between “servants” in v27-29, and the word “reapers” in v30, 39. Angels are the reapers, but the “servants” are not defined, which allows us to conclude with God’s definition of good wheat being Christians, not the servants wanting to prematurely start preparing for an easy harvest. Let’s conclude that when we want to act with impatience in judgment, we are the misguided servants, but when we let patience have her perfect work, we are genuine Christians, that is, good wheat! James 1:3-4 & 5:7-9. When both James and John the sons of Zebedee judged the rejecters of Christ, God had other plans! Luke 9:54-56. What spirit may we be of? 

Why does Jesus tell the parable of the mustard seed & yeast in succession with the parable of the weeds? To give us both the positive and negative truths of how we influence the Kingdom of God on earth.  Genuine Christians are used to help the Kingdom grow from small seeds to great plants, whereas, false Christians can be compared to yeast, growing from within flour, and changing it’s nature. Yeast has a reference to sin in a number of passages. See Leviticus 2:4-13. Offering bread with yeast is equated with rebelling against God in Amos 4:2-5. Paul the apostle used a similar analogy of yeast & sinfulness in 1Cor. 5:6-7. Yeast represents evil doctrine (Mt 16:12) from Pharisees, Mt 23:14,16,28,  Sadducees, Mt. 22:23,29 and Herodians, Mt. 22:16-21. The holiness & goodness of God makes real Christians make up a BIG Kingdom/Church.

Jesus & The Sabbath

Key Text: Jn. 5:1-30
The colonnaded pool of Bethesda is today hard to reach and identify, but one of the three pools near or under the Convent near St. Annes Church in Jerusalem certainly is the pool where Jesus healed the lame man who suffered there for 38 years. The five colonnades are not all intact, but various artefacts attest to them being around the three different pools. The Jews of his day had very strong opinions and faith in angels, and it lingers to this day. This story is to help us restore our faith in God’s powerful mercy, being greater than the demands of any law. We need His word here, to help us enact His mercy in our lives, rather than exacting the demands of God’s law upon our self or others. Once the mercy of God touches our hearts, then the motivation is there, to help us obey the law of Christ. Hosea 6:6, Matthew 9:13 & Galatians 6:2.

The law of the Sabbath was strict and real. Jesus obeyed it, but not the contemporary interpretation of the Sabbath law. As Christians we need to always have a ready and open mind in applying our lifestyle to the law of Christ. However, we must be ever conscience of what the law of Christ is, and what an interpretation of it is. Understanding Galatians 6:2 is imperative, believing it and living it, is impossible without God’s strength and wisdom. This is exactly where Jesus and the religious leaders of his day came into conflict. Christians can expect the same conflict to arise, when we try to practice the law of Christ. Why does this conflict exist? Because as humans, we all try to please God by our own means, wit, strength and wisdom. It doesn’t come naturally to any of us, to cooperate with God’s word & Spirit. How do we let Him work in and through us, in obeying the law of Christ? Here are some facts about God’s work in Jesus.

1. God desires our cooperation with the words of Jesus. He told the man to get up, pick up his mat and walk. Jesus did NOT tell him to go to the water when the angel stirred it. God simply desires our cooperation with His word and Spirit.

2. God’s commands, when we first hear them, might sound impossible. After being lame for 38 years, which one of us, would actually try to do what Jesus said?

3. God’s work demands our hearts desire to be healed, fixed, helped and strengthened. Do we really want his help to do His work, not our own? This question, is the reason, God proclaims faith as God’s work, not our own. John 6:28-29, Romans 14:20 & 2nd Cor. 9:8.

4. God’s work always supersedes our own work. Notice the lame man, without anyone’s help, actually did try to get to the pool on his own steam, maybe crawling, (v7) but regardless of how hard we try to help our self, it is futile in God’s eyes. We must let him help us in our attempts to do what is right.

5. God’s work takes us into direct conflict with the worlds’ work. If Jesus had told the man to Rise and Walk, that would not have upset the Pharisees. It was the fact that he picked up his mat, that broke their interpretation of the Law on the Sabbath. The healed man would have not been an offence to them. But Jesus working to heal him, would indeed upset the Pharisees, but since the man picked up the mat, he too was in danger of prosecution. The Pharisees ‘let him off”, but ONLY after he confessed that it was Jesus who told him to pick up the mat.

6. God’s work is in searching and finding people who want to do His work and cooperate with His word and Spirit (v14). He will not forsake us, Hebrews 13:5 & John 4:23.

7. God’s work always results in any real damage from the world being done against Him, not necessarily or always our self. (v16-17). Colossians 1:24.

Are we willing to make progress in God’s work in our spiritual healing and helping others to get His work of spiritual healing too?

Slandering Jesus?

Key Text: Matthew 12:22-32, Mark 3:20-35, Luke 11:14-23

After immediately healing a man who is both blind and mute, the crowd may be amazed, but they don’t jump to conclusions very easily. The Jews are more sceptical than the Samaritans, the Jews ask, “Could this be the Son of David?”. When the Pharisees see their fellow Jews being attracted to this Triumphal conclusion, they quickly criticize Jesus. Why?
Three reasons:


Rebuked their leadership in the Temple, Jn. 2:13-22

Broke their traditional interpretation of the Sabbath laws & hand-washing, Mk. 2:23-28.

Called for repentance & baptism, Jn. 4:1-3, Lk. 7:28-35.

Could Jesus really be diabolical? Mk. 3:22. This is a false accusation and very illogical, Mt. 12:26-29. In the context of their own culture it backfired upon the accusers, Mt. 12:27. A Christian should think twice before taking legal action against someone who slanders us, because of how Jesus handled it and Solomon’s wisdom, Prv.10:18, usually fools are speedily judged by God. The Pharisees died off, but Christianity grew! Today many Jews hold Jesus in high regard, there is even a “Messianic Jews for Jesus Movement” in Israel. Back then and now, people of his own fleshly family still have their doubts about the sanity of Jesus, Mk.3:21,32.

His actions proved the nearness of His Kingdom, and were overpowering Satan the strongman, Mt. 12:28-29.
  The Finger of God is a powerful phrase, Lk. 11:20. Remember the title, SON of DAVID is full of victorious hope. Even as early as Ezekiel, David became the ruler who was to govern the restored people of Israel (Eze 34:23-24; 37:24). If there were to be a ruling house, it must be the Davidic dynasty; it did not occur to the Jews to think of any other solution (Am 9:11; Hos 3:5; Jer 30:9; Zec 12:8). That Jesus was descended from David (Mt 9:27, etc.) is proved by the fact that his enemies did not deny that this was true (22:41 ff).  Jesus referred to David’s actions (unless otherwise stated) as worthy of imitation (Mt 12:3); but yet were not identical with the Messiah (Ac 2:29 ff; 13:36) who has power over the life to come (Rv 3:7) and who is “the Root of David” (5:5; 22:16).

Mk. 3:29, Slandering essentially is blaspheming, and Jesus wants us to know that God understands our confusion and ignorance in slandering Him in anger or pain, but to blaspheme the Holy Spirit is to denigrate the very nature of God, and assigning Him a place as low as Satan. God delivers our forgiveness, Satan delivers our deception. Basically, He means that He won’t forgive someone who doesn’t want to be forgiven. Thankfully, the good news is that the act of blaspheming or slander is something that can be stopped and corrected. Past tense sins can be halted. However, present tense, ongoing sins cannot be corrected, nor can we make restitution for them, such as murder. Once we have killed someone, they are forever gone and no amount of money or apologizing can make restitution, we are only left to pay our debt to society and rely on God’s gracious forgiveness based upon our confession and obedience. However, committing blasphemy can be stopped, corrected and we can try to make restitution for the damage done, but while we are slandering the Holy Spirit, forgiveness is impossible. Reference, Hebrews 6:3-8. The present ongoing tense of ‘crucifying once again” the Son of God to our own harm, is today, the same as blaspheming the Holy Spirit. How many people today are convinced they are unworthy of being forgiven and beyond hope? Jesus wants everyone to believe that when we slander, we really only set ourselves up for our own eventual demise.

David, The Kingdom & Jesus

To understand God’s view of His reign, we must focus on the words of the angel Gabriel. …and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.  And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”  Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”  And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you… that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Luke 1:31-36. Many of us  today are just like Mary, we get confused about the physical aspects of God’s Kingdom coming, being enforced and enlarged. Why confusion? Because many of us focus on the physical attributes of God’s reign with Israel and neglect to learn of the spiritual attributes of Kingship, which Jesus had in mind. Jesus talks of his Kingship several times with a spiritual aspect for all his disciples, this should affect you and me.

1. While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?” They said to Him, “The Son of David.” He said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying:  ‘The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”‘?  If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son? And no one was able to answer Him a word… Matthew 22:41-23:1 & Psalm 110:1-2.           

2.  Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.  Matthew 5:19-20

3. Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say,’See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”  Luke 17:20-21.

4. “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power.”  Mark 9:1

5. Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”  Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?”. Jesus answered and said, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”  John 18:36-37The points to prove in our daily lives are:

1. Jesus is God, therefore He is worthy to be King of kings and His Kingdom is synonymous with the Kingdom of God.

2. The King demands divine righteousness as inherently required before anyone becomes a citizen of the Kingdom.

3. The Kingdom of Christ is spiritual in nature not physical.

4. People in Christ’s generation saw His Kingdom arrive with physical power, but became martyrs and were brought into a victorious spiritual reign.

5. Christ’s Kingdom originates from Heaven, but is victorious on earth, proving our fight is not physical, but spiritual. See Eph. 6:12 & Col. 1:13-18. As Jesus fulfiled the Psalmist & King David’s prophecy, we rule with Him in the midst of his enemies, Psalm 110:2. Do we pray for the Kingdom’s advance into the hearts of other people and that His reign will increase in our life as we grow in doing His will on earth?  Matthew 6:10.