Why does Jesus wait so long to deal with evil? 

In my last post in this short series, I dealt with when God will deal with evil. In short, Jesus promises us that evil won’t continue forever. One day, He will deal with it. Those who are not in His kingdom will be judged and the world will be purged of evil. But that won’t happen now. It will only happen when Jesus returns.

Jesus will deal with evil, but not until He returns. That naturally raises the question:

Why not now?

  • If Jesus had already dealt with evil, 13 soldiers wouldn’t have been killed in Afghanistan a few months back. Their parents, spouses, and kids wouldn’t have to grow up in a world without them.
  • If Jesus had already dealt with evil, the war in Afghanistan wouldn’t have been fought in the first place, saving countless lives.
  • If Jesus had already dealt with evil, over 600,000 abortions wouldn’t take place each year.
  • If Jesus had already dealt with evil, there wouldn’t be gangs fighting over turf to sell drugs that destroy families and community, and kill people.

If evil didn’t exit, the world would be a better place, a perfect place.

Why does Jesus wait so long to deal with evil?

The Parable of the Mustard seed reveals why Jesus waits.

“He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.””

(Mt 13:31–32)

The mustard seed is a small seed. But from that seed grows a big bush that is as big as a tree. It can grow to about 20 ft tall and about 20 ft wide. It is large enough for birds to come and nest in.

What does this parable teach us?

(1) While the kingdom starts small, it doesn’t stay small it grows large.

We can see that growth. The church today compared to Jesus’ day has grown a lot. The number of believers on the earth now verses the numbers of believers on the earth in Jesus’ day is significantly more. There are around 2 billion people who claim Christianity today. That is a significant jump from the 100‘s or 1000’s that believed in Jesus’ day.

We can see with our own eyes that this parable is true. What has started out as a small movement with 12 Disciples has grown to over 2 billion today. That is not counting all the Christians throughout the centuries. The kingdom starts small, from a small seed, and grows large.

(2) The kingdom is still growing as people from every nation comes into the kingdom.

The kingdom will continue to grow until its branches are full. The parable of the mustard seed teaches us that God allows evil to continue to allow the kingdom to grow and the nations to come into the kingdom.

I like what one commentator has to say about all this:

“Jesus’ principle here applies in every age to the question of why God allows evil and suffering in the world. His creation can be purged of all evil only through the judgment and re-creation of the universe at the end of the age because evil resides in every person. God’s delay in bringing the end of the world is thus entirely gracious, giving people more opportunity to repent (2 Pet 3:9).”

Craig Blomberg, Matthew, vol. 22, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 219.

Do you see what he is saying? God allows evil to continue and He holds off judgment for our sake. For the sake of those to whom He has called to be a part of His kingdom. If God did not hold off His judgment until the end, you or I may not be a part of the kingdom.

We might not think about it like this, but God not ridding the world of evil now is actually a gracious act. It is an opportunity for all people everywhere to continue to come and nest in the limbs of the Kingdom of God before judgment comes.

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