Wednesday after the Twentieth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: St. Matthew 13:31-58 (NKJV)
31 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, 32 which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”
33 Another parable He spoke to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”
34 All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them, 35 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.”
36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.” 37 He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. 39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 40 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!
44 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, 48 which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, 50 and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
51 Jesus said to them, “Have you understood all these things?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” 52 Then He said to them, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”
53 Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these parables, that He departed from there. 54 And when He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? 55 Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? 56 And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” 57 So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” 58 Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
The Jews were furious with Jesus in the synagogue because He said that they had no faith, and that God’s favor would go where it would be accepted. This was the meaning of the stories about Elijah and the widow of Sidon, and Elisha and Naaman of Syria. Jesus is telling these Jews that because they no longer believe, the grace of God will go and find those who will believe. The Jews thought, “How dare this Jesus say that God would choose a pagan dog over one of the chosen people!” Jesus was accusing them of faithlessness, and they wanted to kill Him because of it. Their egos were being severely assaulted. They were called faithless and no longer important as God’s favorite people. But it was true. And ever since the history of the Jews has been a testimony to what happens to a people who once knew God and then reject Him.
The rejection of Jesus at Nazareth is not just the foreshadowing of Israel’s rejection of Him, it also, in a way, represents everyone’s rejection of Him. What happened to the Jews is not necessarily a onetime event. Any who reject Christ will not be God’s children. We Americans often think that we are God’s people, that if the Gospel is strong anywhere, it is strong among us. But this is not necessarily so. Europeans and Americans who once named the name of Christ no longer wish to. We, as a society, are offended by Him. We once as a nation seemed to know Him, but we have rejected Him. How do we suppose that we will escape the same fate as the Jews and others who have rejected Him?