God’s kingdom comes, it does not go, and the illustration of the mustard seed growing into a tree and yeast working through all the dough has literally been fulfilled as 2.3 billion people on the planet claim to be citizens of this kingdom.
18 Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? 19 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.”
20 Again he asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? 21 It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds[a] of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
The call to join God’s forever family is personal.The invitation to become a follower of Christ ultimately comes from God himself. When we stand on the outside looking at members of this new country or kingdom , we wonder to ourselves, how do you know you’re a citizen, what makes you so sure?
For me it was seeing the warm friendly face of Clive, welcoming me as I reluctantly darkened the doors of the local church my mother had urged me to visit. He had the most piercing blue eyes, that looked right through me. There was an unimpeded love there that immediately caught my attention, and I eagerly entered, not realising this would be the beginning of a journey into healing, hope and ultimately joining this community within the so-called kingdom of God.
Oswald Chambers explains that “making a decision for Jesus Christ places the emphasis on something our Lord never trusted. He never asks us to decide for
Him, but to yield to Him. At the foundation of Jesus Christ’s kingdom is the genuine loveliness of those who are commonplace.” As I repent (change my mind) from following my path to personal fulfilment, I put my confidence (faith) in God and simply yield myself to him, following his way. This does result in a kind of death to self in the sense that I no longer live for myself but for God. But even though I don’t understand much of the how, I know that he loves me so much he gave me Jesus, his only son, who lived the perfect life I could never live. Jesus took my sin and brokenness upon himself on the cross, purchasing me a place in his kingdom, if I will only receive him as my Lord and Saviour.
The two metaphors for the kingdom of God, one of a tiny mustard seed growing into a tree where birds can nest, and the other of the effect of yeast causing the dough to expand into a large loaf, illustrates that God’s kingdom comes, it does not go. This growth prediction has proven true as the world’s current Christian population of 2.3 billion approaches almost a third of the world’s 7.7 billion population, making it the largest kingdom on the planet by this measure. The birds perching on the branches in the mustard tree is a metaphor that non-Jews will also be citizens of God’s global kingdom. How true this has proven with the rise of Christianity, and we should be grateful to God for including us and acknowledge the part the Jews paid played in being entrusted with the oracles of God.
Head: Contemplate the phrase, we are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of his household (Ephesians 2:19).
Heart: Although Jesus was addressing the Jews in his description of the kingdom of God, how do you feel about being included in his kingdom as a non-Jew? What does this say about the inclusivity of God?
Hands: Although 30% of the planet claim to be Christians, that makes 70% who are not – pray for some of your unsaved friends, that they might receive Christ and join the kingdom one day.
Prayer: Lord, you have taught us to pray, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. May your kingdom truly come in our lives as we follow you and in the lives of our unsaved friends and family. Give us the grace to share the good news of Jesus with them. We pray this in Jesus name. Amen
A song to listen to: Redeemed
Sean Kluyts – Living Church Creek Road