Deuteronomy 33:1-29 Luke 13:1-21 Psalm 78:65-72 Proverbs 12:25
Verse of the day:
“Then Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like? How can I illustrate it? It is like a tiny mustard seed that a man planted in a garden; it grows and becomes a tree, and the birds make nests in its branches.” (Luke 13:18-19)
There are some people that read these two verses and think that Jesus is teaching about faith. They remember that Jesus states that we should have faith like the tiny mustard seed, but that comes later in Luke 17. This passages is not about faith. It is about the Kingdom of God.
The Jewish people saw the coming of the Messiah as the breaking forth of God’s kingdom upon the earth. They believed in the rapid overthrow of all of Israel’s enemies and the establishment of an eternal kingdom, where the Messiah reigned supreme. Their idea of God’s Kingdom was rapid and violent. Now, the Jewish people were correct in thinking that the kingdom of God was to break forth upon the world with the coming of the messiah, but how it would happen was very different then what they thought.
Jesus tells us that like a very small seed, the kingdom of God was now present in the world but would have to be transformed from seed to full grown kingdom. The seed would even have to be planted into the earth, where it may grow out of sight and without any hope of life. That seed would slowly over time begin to sprout, take root, produce a small stem and then grow into a tree. After many years that tree would be the biggest in a garden and large enough for birds to nest in. The kingdom of God would not come violently, but gradually into the world.
When we look back over the growth of the church we can see what Jesus was talking about. He broke into history as a single seed and began to spread the message of the kingdom of God. He taught his disciples what it looked like to be a part of God’s kingdom. He spoke of how justice and mercy, forgiveness and repentance, grace and peace would be a part of the kingdom of God. Those 12 began to teach and spread the good news of the kingdom of God to others. What was one grew to 12, then 70, then 500. After Jesus death and resurrection the church grew to thousands and thousands more; still such a small part of the total world population. Over time God’s kingdom had been growing one heart and life at a time. Now that kingdom is large enough to support many different denominations, creeds and points of view in its branches. Bird brains of all kinds have found shelter in the strength of the kingdom’s branches.
The kingdom of God will continue to grow. Even though it began with Jesus coming the first time, it will not fully be all it will be until he comes again. The next time he comes the kingdom will be in full growth and ready to burst forth in bloom with all the authority and fullness it deserves. The kingdom is hear, both now and not yet. Many of us are pretty excited about the not yet!