Parables of the Mustard Seed, Yeast and Net.
“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.” He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”” Matthew 13:47-50 ESV
You’ve made Jesus your treasure, but there seems to be few of you. This was especially true of the people reading or listening to the book of Matthew in the first century. Jesus had left them to propagate the Kingdom of God in a very large hostile world. The Mustard Seed parable and Yeast parable are two sides of the same coin, two stories meant to encourage the hearts of the disciples of Jesus perhaps feeling outnumbered and ‘outgunned’. Remember, a dual reference to something was the ancient equivalent of double exclamation marks! The Kingdom is like a tree. You ever watch a tree grow? Before you answer to hastily, if you’ve ever took time to look at a tree, you’ve watched it grow. Oh, you couldn’t see it, or perceive it, but it was growing right before your eyes. One day, two years into our latest move, I was sitting on the couch with a coffee looking out our large picture window at our front yard. We have a beautiful row of elm trees lining one side of our driveway, the other a lawn surrounded by evergreens with another elm roughly in the middle. It’s a great place to read my Bible, pray and drink coffee! That morning, I ‘all of the sudden’ realized the trees across the driveway from each other were much closer than I remembered. Did they grow over night? No but I perceived it that way. Jesus encourages us, “you might not see it, but the Kingdom IS growing”. And it will keep growing. Like yeast in dough, it will permeate the whole ‘lump’ of this world. Hallelujah!
The Kingdom of God is growing quietly, imperceptibly, behind the scenes. God doesn’t take the limelight. He uses ordinary people in ordinary places to spread the gospel. When God came to earth, He came as a carpenter, not a king. He chooses uneducated fisherman from an insignificant place, prostitutes, tax collectors and misfits. This is good news! Since Matthew wrote his gospel in the first century, the Kingdom has spread throughout the world. No matter what has happened the gospel has spread, no matter who has opposed it, they have disappeared into history and Christianity has remained. The Roman empire is long gone, but the Kingdom of God is still growing. The Kingdom will continue to grow.
The Net parable is very similar to the Wheat and Tares parable but a little different. It paints a picture of the ingathering from a slightly different perspective. There are all kinds of fish being gathered. The Kingdom is exclusive but the invitation is for everyone. Jesus invited all, healed all, loved all and died for all. If we want to be like Jesus, we need to invite all, love all and receive all. The Kingdom is exclusive by response, those that are the receptive good soil, receive the Kingdom. The invitation is for all. It’s interesting how Jesus healed people He knew wouldn’t ultimately respond to the Kingdom.(He knew men’s hearts) So be encouraged! Know that you are part of something bigger than yourself, be an inviter, be open, be a lover of people. The Kingdom you belong to is growing and permeating the Earth until His ‘glory fills the earth, as the water covers the seas’.