20–26 January 2019.

Matthew 13:36–58 (click to read).

At the very end of John’s gospel, the disciples sit by the sea with the resurrected Jesus and eat breakfast together. During that meal, Peter quietly approaches Jesus and tries to ask questions about one of the other disciples (21:20–23). But Jesus immediately stops Peter and, in v. 22, gives a wonderful response: ‘Peter, that guy’s situation is none of your business. You just make sure you are following me!’

It’s a great temptation for all of us to want to think about other people’s relationship with God and even gossip about it. But in Matthew 13, Jesus tells us a number of parables that again drive home this same message: Other people’s relationship with God is none of our business! God is the one who saves us, God is the one who loves us, and God is the one who leads us to a greater relationship with him. God has never come to ask my opinion on whether he should save someone or not. And there is good reason for that. 1 Samuel 16:7 reminds us that “The Lord doesn’t see things the way people see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lords looks at the heart.” Judging someone else’s heart is God’s business, not ours.

In Matthew 13, that’s the message at the heart of Jesus’s parable of the wheat and the weeds, as well as the parable of the fishing net. The workers in the field think they are good enough to judge what is wheat and what’s a weed, to judge who is a good believer and who isn’t, who should be accepted and who should be rejected. But in v. 29, Christ the Master knows that that’s a horrible idea. Separating the righteous from the unrighteous is his job, not ours. He is the one who can judge properly, not us. And if we were to try doing this, we would just make a mess of everything, even throwing away those whom Christ has accepted.

Instead, the advice Jesus gives to Peter is equally good advice for us too: We should stop trying to judge others, we should stop gossiping or talking about them and especially their relationship with Jesus. Instead we should look first at ourselves and at our own lives, and make sure that we ourselves are truly walking with Jesus.

Pastor Stephen Lakkis