Friday, October 19, 2018

Mustard Seeds and Yeast

"Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to?” (Luke 13:18).

Today we come to two parables of God’s kingdom. When Jesus speaks of the kingdom, He tells of a place where God reigns absolutely, a reign characterized by justice, righteousness, and mercy. The King Himself is describing the kingdom, using two unusual visual aids: a mustard seed and leaven.
The parable of the mustard seed says the kingdom “is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches” (Luke 13:19). The tiny mustard seed grows into a very large tree. In the same way, the kingdom starts small, but experiences tremendous growth.

Jesus is talking to only a handful of people. He would later command them to change the world. How easy it would be for the disciples to surrender to the overwhelming numbers of the multitudes. “We are so few, and the world is so large,” they might have thought. Instead, they turned the world upside down. This is true not only of that first generation, but of every generation. Every time we begin a new work for the kingdom, we begin as a minority. The promise of Jesus, however, is that the kingdom will grow in size and strength.

Using leaven as an example, Jesus says in his next parable that the kingdom “is like yeast [leaven] that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough” (v. 21). Often leaven represents the growth-principle of evil, as when Jesus warned His disciples to beware the leaven of the Pharisees. Here, however, the leaven represents the growth-principle of the kingdom. It only takes a tiny bit of yeast to cause a loaf to rise. Jesus is again saying that the kingdom has an uncanny power for growth, production, and change. It starts small and may work invisibly, but its production is enormous.

The church of Jesus Christ is one mustard seed that has experienced enormous growth. God’s kingdom will never perish, though it will need continual care until Jesus’ return. If you are considering starting a personal ministry, as small as it may be today, ask God to bless and protect your efforts for the furtherance of His kingdom.