Matthew 13:24-29 contains the parable of the weeds, and it’s explanation is found in v. 36-43. A classic interpretation since St. Augustine (late 4th C) is that the church will always contain unbelievers – and that it is a fools errand to try to rid the church of unbelievers as it will do more harm than good.
Is that a reasonable read?
An observation can lead to a question and a fruitful search. Upon reading Genesis 33:4, where “Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around him and kissed him. And they wept.” My mind went to the coming home scene in the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” (v.20)
Jacob prepared gifts and a speech for Esau to ensure his acceptance, just as the Prodigal planned a speech he would give to win his father. But neither Esau nor the Father needed the persuasion.
There is even the echo of the brothers not being close after the return.
There are many differences, so we are not dealing with the same story, but it does seem less than accidental that the Lord used the idea of a return from a far off land, an embrace and a welcome.
What caused Esau to welcome his brother so openly – when he had been breathing threats of murder years before. Why had the Father forgotten the wasted inheritance and the insulting behavior of his son? Why is Esau more like the Father than the Prodigal’s bitter brother? What does all of this say about forgivness?
How is the Reading going?
How about Abraham saying that his wife was his sister? How about Lot and his daughters? What about Esau selling out for soup and Jacob taking advantage?
The Bible can be grim at times. It does not air brush out the imperfections of the “heroes” of the faith.
We need to ask why this is.
Here they are:
Please note that the dashes ( – ) mean, “read between”. so on the 13th read between Genessi 28:1 and 29:35. This has confused a few readers.
Also the dates are indicated and alternate between left and right columns. i.e. 04 means January 4.
If you follow the reading schedule, isn’t it interesting how things are placed together. For example we read Psalm 2, “Why do the nations conspire…against…the anointed one” and then we read Matthew 2 where Herod tried to destroy the baby Jesus.
Don’t make too much of these, but they are fun to notice. Lot’s of times, we gain insight from approaching a text from a different context (i.e. the context of the reader.)
In reading Genesis 1-15 this week, it is interestint to notice the context of Abram.
Genesis 10 is a listing of nations, descended from Noah’s sons. It is sad that some used the curs of Ham as an excuse for racism, when the broad interest here is in the development of nations, or tribes, as they fulfill the command to “fill the earth.”
Genesis 11 is an interesting warning on those who would unite the people into a single project, for the Tower of Babel was a kind of coup d’ etat against the Almighty. Instead of “filling the earth” they concentrated in one place. Instead of “calling upon the name of the Lord” they decided to “make a name for themselves.” The result, by God’s intervention, was a confusion and division of the people.
Genesis 12 shows the selection of one Family – the line of Abram (later to be renamed Abraham). Now then, is this choosing favorites. Why Abram and not one of the other 70 nations mentioned in Genesis 10? Does the Lord only care for a few?
Genesis 12:2-3 ESV
And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
No, the selection was, ironically, for the blessing of all the families of the earth. The focus narrows so it can be broadened.