There are many ways to read a parable. It’s worth remembering that no one was literally reporting on what Jesus said as he was saying it. The Gospel accounts are at least a generation, and likely two generations, removed from the actual events. The interpretation that we read of the parable in this Gospel is one that made sense in the particular circumstances of the community in that generation. Perhaps it’s what the Apostles remembered, or more likely, it’s how they presented it. But the way that Rabbis of the time used parables meant that there wasn’t a singular interpretation. They are more like a poem that way, with multiple meanings depending on the reader’s setting.
Last week and this week, I want to suggest that one way to make sense of this parable for us today is to see the various parts of our lives, of our personalities, in the weeds and the wheat. We did the same last week in talking about the stony ground or the good soil. So for us today, what is the weedy part of your life right now?
And given all that, here’s the thing about the weed. Darnel, most likely the weed in the parable, was used as a fuel when wood was scare in Israel. As a commentary points out, the fire language may be less about hell than it is about the end purpose of the weeds. We don’t always see what God has in mind with the weedy parts of our lives. God can ultimately find a use for them too, even as we’re being purified.
You can view the sermon video directly using this link.