Pew Sermon (Matthew 13:24-30,36-43)

There has been much discussion about this parable and to whom it applies.

It would be easiest to believe that it the world in general. It could refer to those people in Israel who would not accept Jesus as the Messiah.

But others suggest that it actually refers to us, the members of Christ’s own Church.

In His explanation of the parable, Jesus says that it is the Son of Man “who sows the good seed” and “the field is the world”. But those whom Jesus draws into membership of His Church gather in His name and it is amongst these, His chosen, that the weeds are sown by the evil one.

There has always been evil in the world and it was partly to overcome this that Jesus came in the first place. But as this Gospel was written when the Church was in its early stages of development it may be a warning.

Just because the teaching of Jesus is the perfect model to be followed, we often let Him down in following His example because we are not perfect.

It would be wonderful to think that the influence of Jesus would instantly transform His followers to mirror Him in every way, but life is not like that and neither are people.

Spiritual opportunity can transform its participants, but it can also be abused; a good influence can turn rotten and can poison the whole.

Even in the best surroundings, some good people change, becoming like weeds in a field of good grain. Jesus warns us against assuming that all people in His filed of activity are wholesome.

It is His word, His influence, His life which must guide us, or we may end up collected together with the weeds and dealt with accordingly. 

However, our next question might be “Can a bad seed change its nature?”

We need to watch out for and guard against the bad influences even where trustworthiness might be assumed. We need to guard against the temptations of doing everything by our ‘own’ power. It’s important that we don’t become complacent about our own failings.

Not one of us is perfect, we might be lovely people and nice to a few of our acceptable friends, but what about the rest of the world?

It’s important to heed Jesus’ warning because our eternal life depends upon it.

But at the same time, it is crucial that we don’t become paralysed by fear. Jesus never gave up on anyone; indeed, just before His own death He forgave a criminal and promised him a place in heaven; not sometime in the future or at “the end of the age”, but that very day.

Leaving behind our evil ways is an opportunity we can take up every single day.

Forgiveness by God is complete for those who repent.

So perhaps then the answer is “No”: a seed cannot change its own character; but God can, by His gifts and promises and the promises which He makes clear through Jesus; promises which He always keeps.