So far we covered 3 topics under the gospel of the kingdom that was announced and preached by John the Baptist, Jesus, His disciples and which is to be preached by His followers for a witness into the entire world (Matthew 24:14).
It is an invitation to everyone through the gospel to transfer from the emptiness and oppressing reality of the kingdom of the prince of darkness – “the whole world lays under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19) – to become a part of the kingdom of Christ (Colossians 1:12–14 – read).
In the parable of the soils Jesus explained how His kingdom is extended to all.
In the parable of the wheat and tares how the enemy attempts to discredit and destroy church’s witness, smear and discredit God’s reputation.
In our next 2 parables Jesus explains the work of grace through His word as it enters human heart and works in the life.
Parable of the “mustard seed” – Matthew 13:31.32: “Another parable He put forth to them, saying: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and rest in its branches.”
What does this story teach us?
God’s work in the hearts of men starts as a very small often unnoticeable event.
- reading spiritual articles in Reader’s Digest
- hearing a song that kept repeating the word gospel (What did it mean? I didn’t know then, but my interest was awakened)
- listening to radio program on 3 kinds of love (the word agape intrigued me and I wanted to know more about it and how to experience it)
- being pulled out of ditch after the blizzard when drunk
Do you have similar stories when you first realized that God touched your life?
Lessons from the nature: From a small seed a large plant that serves a usable purpose.
Reality in life: It is usually a small event we notice, start thinking about and respond to that starts the chain of events and change toward becoming a completely different and new person.
From a self-serving person becomes a person that starts being a blessing to many others.
Principle: “Despise not the day of small beginnings.”
Parable of “the leaven” – Matthew 13:33: “Another parable He spoke to them: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.’”
Once the word of God finds place in our life, it will do its quiet work that will become observable.
In the OT Bible the word “leaven” is used as the symbol of sin that needs to be put away.
Example: Passover, when for the duration of whole week all leaven had to be put away from the house and not taken internally – eaten.
Why? Sin not dealt with and repented of – not turned away from and removed from the heart and life will grow and pollute the entire life.
In the parable of leaven Jesus uses the same symbol as the quiet work of His word, of the gospel received into heart as an effective agent of transformation of the entire person.
Principle: What we hide in the mind, what we allow our minds to be filled with or open to will work its change.
Conclusion: In both the parables of “the mustard seed” and “the leaven” Jesus teaches us that His work for us has another dimension – His work in us.
Theoretical understanding of the gospel has to lead to the wholehearted acceptance of what Jesus has done for us, so He as our Lord can start His an ongoing transformation of us from inside out. Changing and transforming our very beings starts with the new birth and continues throughout our life – every part of our life receives God’s attention.
Through God’s word Jesus by the person of the Holy Spirit oversees and maintains our growth into His own likeness; at the same time making us a blessing to others and useful in His service (“so that the birds of the air come and rest in its branches.”)
Through His work in us we too can become agents of rest, support and peace for others.