In Matthew 12:36-43, we get a warning and an invitation. Do you hear it?
Jesus dismissed the crowds and went into the house.
His disciples approached him and said,
“Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
He said in reply, “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man,
the field is the world, the good seed the children of the Kingdom.
The weeds are the children of the Evil One,
and the enemy who sows them is the Devil.
The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
Just as weeds are collected and burned up with fire,
so will it be at the end of the age.
The Son of Man will send his angels,
and they will collect out of his Kingdom
all who cause others to sin and all evildoers.
They will throw them into the fiery furnace,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.
Then the righteous will shine like the sun
in the Kingdom of their Father.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”
The first seventeen lines are fairly self-explanatory as Jesus gives light to his parable. There will come an end of ages – a time when Jesus will return to earth and there will be an accounting for the lives of the good and the evil – and only the good, the righteous, will find a home in heaven with the Father.
That last line – “Whoever has ears ought to hear” – is a humdinger. It’s a warning and an invitation.
There are many who are preached the Gospels. Some even read the Gospels. But many do not “hear”. Many simply do not listen.
It is my witness that an emphasis for many “Christians” is on the Old Testament and the New Testament outside of the Gospels. If you can ask, “What Would Jesus Do?” (WWJD?), if you’re a “Christian”, why would you not read and give deference to the Gospels?
Showy “Christians” want to display monuments to the Ten Commandments in the public square, but do they make a monument to Jesus’ command to obey the two most important commandments, to love God and to love neighbor? Have they heard?
Self-important “Christians” admonish people who receive food stamps to “get a job” (most do have jobs) or want to take health care away from the vulnerable because they haven’t earned it (many are disabled and can’t work, or elderly and retired and have earned it, or working multiple low paying jobs and still can’t afford it). Did they hear Jesus say, “Feed them yourself”? Did they hear how Jesus cured the sick, without requirements?
Self-righteous “Christians” castigate the unmarried for living together and homosexuals for wanting to be married, get think little of leaders who have sexual affairs or multiple marriages. Did they hear Jesus say that marriage after divorce was adultery or that lust for another while married was adultery? While pointing out that homosexuality is an abomination to God, did they not also hear God say that eating pork and shellfish and piercing the body are an abomination (check Leviticus 18:26-29, where it says all these practices are an abomination)? They complain about menu Christians, and yet, here they are selecting which sins they themselves can overlook.
Most “Christians” get their Bible, their Gospels, listening to someone preach about it. They often hear a line or two, not a whole chapter, so they don’t get the whole context of a story. What they get is the preacher’s version of God’s word, which often comes at the expense of an agenda. The only way to know what God is saying, to hear God, is to read it in full. And if you’re really a Christian, the only way to know what Jesus is saying is to read the Gospels, in full.
That’s the warning. And now for the invitation. Jesus wants you to hear Him out. He wants you to get what He is saying. And He wants you to live the Gospels. He wants you to stop judging, He wants you to love God and your neighbor, and He wants you to start caring. He wants you to hear … that you might shine like the sun in the Kingdom of the Father. Go for it.
Glory to God!