July 19, 2020

Matthew 13:36-43

“The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” vss. 41-42

The disciples asked Jesus to explain the parable of the weeds in the field–it was tough for them to understand. And now we’d like someone to explain his explanation! For those who have been trying hard to eliminate dualistic thinking his words are a challenge. It appears that Jesus in his teaching embraced a view of the end times that leaves no room for grace or forgiveness. Sinners will burn in hell and the righteous will shine like the sun. Of course those who identify with the righteous find this view appealing, but there’s little hope here for those who see themselves as sinners. So what’s going on here? Is this what Jesus really believed and taught? Or is this Matthew’s interpretation? Certainly it is a perspective that has been extremely popular among Christians through the years and it’s dualistic to the core. The problem is that this passage doesn’t fit the picture of Jesus that we have from the rest of the gospels. This is how religious people believed before Jesus showed up! In his actions, and particularly in his death, we find that his ministry was rooted in love, a love that overflowed for sinners. And if that’s true,  it’s perfectly okay to turn a deaf ear to this picture of fire and brimstone!

Thought for the Day: Why do some people like passages like this?

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