Jesus told them another parable: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is like this. A man takes a mustard seed and plants it in the ground. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it grows up, it is the biggest of all plants. It becomes a tree, so that birds come and make their nests in its branches.’ (verses 31,32)
In today’s reading Jesus uses a string of similes to show how surprising God’s kingdom is. The story of the pearl says the kingdom is hidden but very precious. The comparison to yeast suggests that, although it is invisible, it is effective. Anyone who’s been fishing knows how unpredictable that activity can be, and the kingdom of heaven is like that. And although the mustard seed is so tiny, it can produce a plant over 3.5 metres high.
The kingdom of heaven, God’s rulership, is always surprising. Even though it often appears that evil triumphs and injustice goes uncorrected, Jesus assures us that God’s will is going to be done. And he assures those doubting him that he really is bringing the governing activity of God into the world—even if that does look highly improbable.
Do you sometimes think the world, or your own life, is out of control? No matter how bad things look, you can rest assured that God rules.
Dear Lord Jesus, thanks for the assurance of the tiny seed that becomes a tree. Thank you for your life and death, transforming the world. Amen.
by Peter Pfitzner, in ‘Assurance for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 2004)
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