“He put another parable before them, saying, ‘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)
The ‘kingdom of God’ or ‘kingdom of heaven’ is not an easy concept to understand. After all, we can’t (yet) see it with our physical eyes or compare it to human kingdoms we know. It is something spiritual, and its fullness has not yet come.
In order to explain what this kingdom is like, Jesus told his hearers a couple parables. One of them compares the kingdom of heaven to a grain of mustard seed. It is very small; nobody would pay much attention to it. That’s a striking parallel with Jesus’ mission and the coming of his kingdom. Many people would expect this kingdom to appear with great apocalyptic signs and God’s judgment over evil. But no, Jesus’ kingdom grows quietly, almost unnoticed. Many people don’t even recognize Him as the promised Messiah, let alone as the Son of God.
And yet, God’s kingdom will become like a big tree. Part of that promise has already come true: millions of people have accepted Jesus as their King! And we can be sure that the fullness of God’s kingdom, when Jesus returns as King of the universe, will be glorious and majestic indeed.
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