March 11, 2015
Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.”
Again he asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem.Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”
He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’
“But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’
“Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’
“But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’
“There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”
LISTEN TO HIM
A few observations about these two parables that open our reading for today.
1. Seeds contain inestimable possibilities.
2. Jesus big point is that a tiny seed is capable of producing something far greater than itself; in this case a great tree.
3. Seeds also reproduce themselves exponentially. Conservatively speaking, one seed of wheat will produce on average 200 seeds of wheat. 200 seeds of wheat will produce on average 40,000 seeds of wheat. 40,000 seeds of wheat will produce on average 8,000,000 seeds of wheat. 8,000,000 seeds of wheat will produce on average 1,600,000,000 seeds of wheat.
4. Approximate number of Christians in the world today: 2,000,000,000. Number of seeds at the beginning: 1. See also John 12:24.
5. To further demonstrate the nature of the Kingdom of God, Jesus takes us into the domain of a woman in the first century, her kitchen. That’s way out of the box for the first century to even make such an absurd analogy.
6. Like the mustard seed, yeast has power far disproportionate to its size. In this case, the tiny bit of yeast works through sixty pounds of flour, making enough bread to feed hundreds of people.
The Gospel of the Kingdom is extraordinary, extravagant, and it excels beyond our wildest imagination. That’s why Paul would later say things like this,
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21
Later Jesus will tell us when our faith is anchored in a Gospel like this, it only takes faith the size of a mustard seed itself. We need mercy to have even a smidgen of the capacity it takes to fathom such possibilities as these.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
P.S. Today, I want to share something with my Daily Text friends that no one else has seen yet. Some weeks back this idea about the power of a seed inspired me to craft a creed of sorts. I’ve been declaring it aloud every morning since– as a kind of day starter. It will appear publicly for the first time in Seedbed’s Sowers Almanac and Seed Catalogue (which you will LOVE). I’m giving you the first look at what we are calling,
THE SOWERS CREED
Today I sow for a Great Awakening.
Today, I stake everything on the promise of the Word of God. I depend entirely on the power of the Holy Spirit. I have the same mind in me that was in Christ Jesus. Because Jesus is good news and Jesus is in me I am good news.
Today, I will sow the extravagance of the Gospel everywhere I go and into everyone I meet.
Today I will love others as Jesus has loved me.
Today I will remember that the tiniest seeds become the tallest trees; that the seeds sown today become the shade of tomorrow; that the faith of right now becomes the future of the everlasting Kingdom.
Today I sow for a Great Awakening.
J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get the Daily Text delivered to your inbox fresh every morning. Subscribe HERE.