There is a story recorded in Matthew's Gospel chapter thirteen verses 24 - 30 that speaks of a particular farmer that sowed wheat seeds in his field. As the story goes there was an enemy that came along during the night while the hired men were asleep and sowed thistles among the wheat. Once the wheat began to sprout so did the thistle. When it was discovered by the hired men that thistle was present among the wheat they immediately asked the farmer as to how this happened. The farmer knew that the wheat seed that was planted was pure. His explanation? Some enemy did this. The farmhands suggested that they weed out the thistle to which the farmer replied, "No, if you weed out the thistles you'll pull up the wheat, too. Let them grow together until harvest time. Then I will instruct the harvesters to pull up the thistles and tie them in bundles for the fire, then gather the wheat and put it in the barn."
This story has intrigued me for quite some time. I have heard various sermons preached using this text. I recall one particular sermon where the preacher used the text to indicate that the wheat represented the believers in Jesus and the thistles represented those who did not believe in Jesus. The fate of those who numbered with the thistles were bundled up and thrown in the fire. I must admit that by the time the sermon was finished and the alter call was extended to the congregation there were all kinds of people coming forward to seek assurance that they numbered among the wheat. When your theology is built on fear much like the house built on the sand, there is no solid foundation. As I have given thought to what I witnessed that evening I offer this reflection.
This reflection centers around some of my personal insights that I continue to work on. This is a story told by Jesus. He seeks to bring understanding to those who are blind to what he is trying to get them to see. He doesn't automatically open their understanding and I think that is by design. I have become aware that when "night" or "darkness" is included in one of Jesus' stories I usually consider that there is a lack of awareness on the part of those being told the story or those characters within the story, thus the darkness. Jesus is telling people what the kingdom of God is like not what it is.
I used to think the wheat in this story represented all of humanity. I continue to seek truth and recently an awareness came to me that I wish to share with you now. What if the field represents the physical human body and the thistles in the story represented “sin?” That leaves the wheat. The insight that came to me during a recent meditation leads me to consider that the wheat represents “the Love of God.” I hold up for you to ponder that each one of us exists because we are made by and from LOVE. In essence, we are not only a thought of God we are the LOVE of God.
God placed Love in a human body. We are spirit beings originating from LOVE and our spirit presence is what enters our human body at conception. At some point in our human history we began to believe a lie that we were less than the Love from whence we came. The lie, once internalized, veiled over the truth about ourselves and as a result all kinds of base behaviors including fear, mistrust, envy, strife and murder escalated out of control. But God loved us so much that he sent his only begotten son in the form of a human body just like us to rescue us from sin’s destruction.
As I have pondered this parable allow me to share some additional thoughts. In Romans chapter seven the Apostle Paul gives his readers his own understanding regarding sin. In verses sixteen and seventeen he basically indicates that it is obvious that his conscience sides with the law which confirms then that it was not really himself that did these sinful things but "sin" that manifested its symptoms in him.
In Galatians chapter one and verse sixteen Paul indicates the following, "This is the heart of the gospel that I proclaim; it began with an unveiling of his Son in me ..." If the Apostle Paul discovered both "sin" and the "Son" in him then I hold up for your consideration that this may be the representation of the Wheat and the thistles growing together within each and everyone of us.
The Good News concerns what happens to us at the harvest. The harvest takes place at our physical death. At that point, God sends the harvesters to bundle up the sin that has been growing within us and casts them from us never to return. At the end of the parable the harvesters take the wheat placing it into the land owner’s barn. In other words, the wheat that came from “pure seed” has now matured. Once the harvest is complete you no longer hear about the field in the parable because after our physical death the human body or the field is no longer needed.The thought that you and I are the LOVE of God made in the image and likeness of our heavenly Father in Christ Jesus is quite liberating. If that is what the kingdom of God is like then the anticipation of that day will certainly bring hope for all.