Day 17 - The Mustard Seed
“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.” --Matthew 13:31-32
I hate surprises. Don’t get me wrong, I like being surprised, but I hate having a surprise for someone else that’s such a good surprise that I want nothing more than to spoil it by giving away the secret early. I’ve been torturing my wife for days now wanting to tell her what I got her for Christmas because it’s such a good gift.
Can you imagine being Jesus, knowing how this whole thing we call existence is going to culminate in divine rapture, but not being able to tell anyone, mostly because they wouldn’t understand? So here He gives a poetic picture of what’s to come, perhaps to let out just enough of the mystery so that He can get it off of His chest.
Notice how the kingdom isn’t the result of the seed planted, it’s compared to the seed itself. It’s the smallest of the other seeds in the garden, but the future is to be bigger than seems possible from such tiny beginnings. There are other seeds out there too, which may be bigger and grow faster, but that are dwarfed by what the mustard seed becomes.
God’s kingdom is mysteriously humble and glorious at the same time. It’s hidden yet shines the brightest light. It’s underground but blossoms in beauty. It has competition in this world; there are other ideas out there that may even look similar to the kingdom, but are mere forgeries that will one day be found out. Jesus gives His disciples a glimpse at the ending in as much as He paints a simple picture of beauty and supremacy; “It will be alright.” he seems to say, and leaves it at that.
Some parables about the kingdom don’t need to be high theology that require great reason in order to be understood. This is, after all, a grand story in which good triumphs over evil, the hero overcomes great odds and is victorious, and we who believe will live happily ever after.
We’ve studied three parables about the kingdom of heaven over the past three days. Put all three together to make one picture of what Jesus says the kingdom is like. What do they all have in common that gives you better understanding of who God is and who we are?