God’s Kingdom is Growing!

Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.”

With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything. (Mark 4:30-34)

In our verses for today Jesus is teaching us that the work of grace is very small and mysterious in its beginnings, yet it flourishes greatly and considerably.

“But He is the Living Word and His Word is a flashing, double-edged sword and He doesn’t write Himself into neat five-point outlines but He is like the wind–and He speaks in parables that subvert and poetry that ignites and metaphors that jolt and there is nothing safe or small or stiff about Him.” -Ann Voskamp
Here Jesus likens the kingdom of God to a common mustard seed–the smallest of all seeds planted in the Palestinian ground. This was an annual plant that could reach a height of twelve to fifteen feet in but a few weeks. Similarly, the work of grace in a man’s life is at first a very small thing, but it grows and grows and grows! The kingdom of God on earth also had humble beginnings which will end greatly. Consider for a moment the original disciples: Never was there such a great undertaking by such a few. These men were responsible for fulfilling Jesus’ great commission and spread the kingdom of God to the ends of the earth through the power of the Holy Spirit:

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

Think for a moment of the differences between Jesus first and second earthly comings. When he was born in the manger, it seemed insignificant, perhaps even enigmatic. The beginning of God’s earthly kingdom–embodied in the presence of our Lord and Savior was no bigger than a mustard seed. And yet the gospel has continued to spread throughout the world, stretching to the furthermost corners of the earth. And as a result, His second coming will most assuredly surpass all kingdoms in glory, greatness, and power. At that time God’s kingdom will be very great indeed.

“Whenever God rules over the human heart as King, there is the kingdom of God established.” -Paul W. Harrison

The Holy Spirit is given to every believer to empower and teach and He is training and equipping us to pass the baton to every subsequent generation until Christ’s second coming.

“‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will take a shoot from the very top of a cedar and plant it; I will break off a tender sprig from its topmost shoots and plant it on a high and lofty mountain. On the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar. Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches. All the trees of the field will know that I the LORD bring down the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall. I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish.  “‘I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.'” (Ezekiel 17:22-24)

He who has ears, let him hear. (Matthew 11:15)

Take It to Heart

“God is the God of promise. He keeps His word, even when that seems impossible.” (Colin Urquhart)