Sunday July 5, 2020 | Greg Boyd
He put before them another parable: “The Kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. And the servants of the household came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”
We live in a world where Satan has laid claim to creation, while at the same time God is fighting to redeem all things through the work of the cross. These two fundamental forces are simultaneous, and we see them everywhere. Our calling is to participate in the good work that God is doing in order to advance the Kingdom.
This sermon seeks to set racial reconciliation within a broader, theological context of God’s reconciling work. It is based on the parable of the wheat and the tares (or weeds) found in Matthew 13. In this parable, the wheat is the good crop of the farmer, or anything that reflects God’s loving character. The weeds are the plants sown by “an enemy,” which do not reflect God’s loving character. This is a descriptive parable about reality. The first point is that just because the farmer is good it does not mean that all the results of his work is good.
The second point is about the phrase “an enemy has done this.” This points to a transcendent reality of Satan and the principalities and powers. Where the reign of God is present, there will also be forces that fight against it. This reality describes the state of the entire creation, which has been “subject to futility” and is moving toward decay. As we read in Romans 8, creation is groaning for God’s complete redemption. The creation was originally pronounced “good” and we can see the glory of God through creation. But something has gone wrong. In its present condition, it is subject to futility, death, and decay. The world is full of things that do not reflect the glory of God. We live in a wheat and weeds world.
This was a common belief in the early church. The early church theologian Athenagorus wrote that Satan is “the spirit” who was originally entrusted with “the control of matter and the forms of matter.” Unfortunately, “the prince of matter [now] exercises a control and management contrary to the good that is in God.” All suffering and violence in creation is the result of the corrupting influence of this evil “ruling prince” and “the demons his followers.”
There are two fundamental forces at work in the cosmos. God is pulling all things toward love through the cross. Satan is fighting against it. C. S. Lewis wrote, “At every moment, every square inch of the cosmos is claimed by Satan and counterclaimed by God.”
There are three basic applications to this teaching: