The baby was raised in the most meager of means for 30 years in a town considered the wrong side of the tracks. Then there were the disciples so unqualified and inadequate, so fearful and faithless. It was the tiny mustard seed God planted. Within the baby born in a manger was eternal life who would grow into an eternal kingdom that will never end and will cover the entire earth. The kingdom began very small. The kingdom ends very large.
PARABLES OF THE KINGDOM
By Pastor Delbert Young
Scriptures: Matthew 13:31-33, Matthew 16:6, 12, 1 Corinthians 5:6, 1 Kings 18:17, Acts 17:6, Acts 16:20, Matthew 16:18, Revelation 11:15
Matthew 13:31-33 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven IS LIKE a MUSTARD SEED, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.” He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven IS LIKE YEAST that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
Small things can ultimately have massive effects. All music comes from basically 8 notes. All the profound statements ever translated to the English language come from only 26 letters. It’s the thought behind these parables. Small things can have massive results.
It’s probably helpful to have some understanding about the mentality of all the people, including the disciples, concerning the coming King/Christ/Messiah. The Pharisees, Sadducees, etc. believed and taught the king would come with a blazing display. He would come in power, glory, majesty, and might. The disciples struggled with this also, never exactly getting it. Even after the resurrection at the ascension they asked,
Acts 1:6 “…Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
They thought when the Messiah came all the rejecters and rebels and sinners would be blasted to oblivion by God’s judgment and the kingdom would be restored as it was in the days of David and Solomon as the world power. Even more confusing to the disciples was as they watched the House of Israel reject Jesus more and more and the confrontations become worse and worse, instead of Jesus talking about what he would do to them, Jesus talked about what they would do to him. Instead of him saying he was going to kill them, Jesus said they are going to kill me. It’s why Peter responded violently, rebuking Jesus when Jesus told them this very thing.
Matthew 16:21-23 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “NEVER, LORD!” he said. “THIS SHALL NEVER HAPPEN TO YOU!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; YOU DO NOT HAVE IN MIND THE THINGS OF GOD, BUT THE THINGS OF MEN.”
Peter was saying Jesus had it all wrong. This is not the way it would happen. Jesus told Peter the things he said were satanic and would cause even Jesus to stumble concerning the kingdom, so get behind me so I won’t stumble. Peter was a great man, but the teaching he received confused him. They were looking for a kingdom of splendor and worldwide wonder. They were confused because of the teaching about the kingdom. The parables gave some insight to the confusion, but obviously, not enough. I often wonder if we get it. What they were wrongly taught is similar to what we’ve been taught coming from the things of men.
He told them in the parable about the four soils there will be rejection. In fact, rejection would be more than acceptance – 3 to 1. In the parable about the tares/weeds and wheat he explained rejection was accepted and will be dealt with at harvest. Good and evil will grow together. A day comes when they will be separated. The evil will be thrown into burning hell. The good/wheat will be taken into his barn – heaven. We are not to judge because we do more damage than good. God has special angels to do the judging.
So, if more reject than receive and the weeds are thick, how can the kingdom advance? Isn’t advancing the kingdom what we are supposed to do? The disciples had to be counting heads. There were only twelve of them and one of them won’t make the trip. How in the world can this possibly work? The answer: It’s like a tiny mustard seed. It’s like leaven/yeast in a loaf. Small things can have massive effects. In spite of its smallness, unlike the previous kingdom age of Moses and the prophets, this kingdom age will sweep the world.
Matthew 13:31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven IS LIKE A MUSTARD SEED, which a man took and planted in his field.
Again, we have a field and someone planting. The people were very agriculturally oriented. This person planted a mustard seed. Mustard was/is used for many things – oil, medicinal purposes, food, flavoring, etc. It’s in the herb family.
Matthew 13:32 Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.”
Normally, this plant would grow to be about six or seven feet high. However, it frequently will grow to twelve or even fifteen feet in height. The tiny seed is not limited by its size. Plant a wheat seed and you get maybe a 3 feet plant, but plant this tiny seed and you can get a fifteen feet bush birds nest in.
Jesus said the smallest of your seeds. He didn’t say the smallest of seeds for there are smaller seed. It was the smallest seed those people used and it is the smallest agriculture seed. It was the smallest seed a Jew in that day dealt with, but within the tiny seed was massive potential.
The kingdom will begin tiny – one man. Then, 11 men destined and predestined to affect the whole world. This was God’s plan, but not the way it was taught or is taught today.
Luke 17:20-21 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God IS within you.
The Pharisees demanded an answer about when the kingdom of God should come. They were saying to Jesus, “You go parading around saying you are the king. If you’re the king as you say then where is the kingdom?” Jesus said the kingdom doesn’t come with observation. This is different! I thought rapture, great tribulation, and then a new planet comes down…??? However, Jesus said you’re not going to say there it is, or here it is. Why? Because, it’s already here! It’s within you like a tiny mustard seed.
How many “theologians” and Bible teachers demand what those Pharisees demanded? We need to see a great tribulation. We need to see a rapture and Jesus says, “He who has ears, let him hear.”
In the tiny seed within each of those eleven men was a massive potential to extend the kingdom to the ends of the earth. We see this so well with the birth of Jesus, a tiny baby, born in obscurity, to impoverished, uneducated parents in a stable full of filth, manure, insects, etc. in a country dominated by Imperial Rome. The baby was raised in the most meager of means in a town considered the wrong side of the tracks for 30 years. Then there were the disciples so unqualified and inadequate, so fearful and faithless. It was the tiny mustard seed God planted. However, within the baby born in a manger was eternal life who would grow into an eternal kingdom that will never end and will cover the entire earth. The kingdom began very small. The kingdom ends very large.
Psalm 72:8-11 He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust. The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him.
It’s how big the bush becomes. In the case of the kingdom, you get the largest result from the smallest of beginnings.
Revelation 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
There is no end to this kingdom which began from a tiny mustard seed. This encourages me. Sometimes I get discouraged with church growth and people, but you know what? If people stayed here very long, they heard about the kingdom. There is a mustard seed planted in them. Even Jesus at his ascension only had 120 people to stick with it (Act 1:15). So, I know way more good things have happened than I can see. The kingdom is not with observation.
Matthew 13:32 Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, SO THAT THE BIRDS OF THE AIR COME AND PERCH IN ITS BRANCHES.”
The word perch is kataskenoo in Greek meaning to camp down, to remain. King James interprets it lodge, NLT says find shelter, NRS says make nests. The thought is the kingdom provides a place of security to raise our families, rest, find shelter, etc. Every place on this planet the kingdom has extended, people have found shelter. We can see this with the United States. Everything about America that is good began with kingdom principles. The freedom, dignity of life in America, the judicial justice system, the sense of right and wrong, education, free enterprise, dignity of a woman, care of children, and on and on are all because of kingdom truth. Even as other nations come into America’s branches, they too find shelter, protection, rest, prosperity, etc. Contrast this with life where the kingdom of God is rejected. You find oppression, no dignity of life, no judicial justice, no education, no dignity of women, and poverty.
In spite of the opposition to the kingdom, in spite of the rejection of the three bad soils, in spite of the growth of the weeds/zizanion, in spite of the smallness of the seed’s beginning, the kingdom of God has dominion and grows to the largest of kingdoms. It will grow and grow and grow and grow and grow. It’s the promise of the Lord.
Listen, you and I, Christianity, we believers are not a poor little group of people tying a knot on the end of the rope dangling and holding on until Jesus comes to take us all away from some fictitious, fabricated tribulation. We are here to grow, expand, and advance the kingdom of God. While you do this, rest in its branches, make your homes in it, raise your children in it, and find shelter in its branches. The kingdom is growing.
So, I ask you, is the kingdom growing in you? How big is the kingdom in you? Not talking about only knowledge. Are you doing what the king said to do? Are you giving – time, talents, and resources? Are you witnessing? What are you doing to help it grow? It’s fine if you are in the branches and enjoying its shelter, but what are you doing to help cause the kingdom to grow and advance? What would happen if we each gave as we should and witnessed as we should?
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