So much of what Jesus taught was about the practical parts of living – learning to love, forgive and encourage one another - and these are the parts of his teachings that seem to garner the most attention. Jesus did, however, spend significant time imparting prophetic teaching as well. He came to earth as a man to ransom the human race, and in so doing, to call out "a people for his name." Much of his prophetic teaching was focused on how that calling would work and what that calling would face by way of challenges and pitfalls. Jesus was specific about what to expect regarding that calling regarding Christianity in terms of corruption and deceit. It sounds odd to think about Jesus calling out some future failures of what would come to be thought of as the Christian world, but he did. How did he do it? What did he say? What did he mean? What should we be paying attention to?
Jesus taught some of his most powerful lessons by way of parables – stories to illustrate a point, an event or a prophecy. Most of the time Jesus’ parables were delivered without interpretation, but occasionally he paused and explained their meaning to his closest followers. The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares fits into this unusual category...and it is a prophetic gold mine!
This parable is a pointed story Jesus told to illustrate coming circumstances that would surround the development of his true followers – the true Christian church - through the coming generations. His message was clear and began simply: the “sons of the kingdom” as a group, were pictured by the seeds a farmer (Jesus) sowed in his field (the world). The farmer’s intention was to develop and care for this precious and developing crop (true Christianity) throughout the growing season, which he interpreted as the age of time when the Gospel would be preached in the world. The story turns when an enemy (Satan) sows false seed into the field for the sole purpose of creating a lookalike of true Christianity that had the potential of corrupting the good seed and ruining the farmer’s (Jesus) potential harvest.
The bottom line of Jesus’ story is that his true Christian followers would be exposed to, and even victims of, false churches and organizations and their massive corruption. As we look back upon the trajectory of what is now known as "Christianity," we can easily and often trace such corrupting events. Looking at these things with honesty and clarity can be difficult, if not downright disturbing.
Knowing that all of this not only has happened but continues to happen, what should we do about it?
Check out our January 29, 2018 podcast, “Has the Gospel Been Corrupted? Part 1” and find out. We begin by filling in the gaps of the story and continue with a constant eye on our own personal thoughts and what our personal responses should be to defend against these prophesied and problematic circumstances. Click here for Part II of "Has the Gospel Been Corrupted"?
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