Jesus said that God’s Kingdom, which he came to inaugurate, is like a mustard seed – it starts small and ends big.
“What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.”
If you were a Jewish person living in the first century you may have had a herb garden with a mustard bush. You would have known that a mustard seed is very small, and you would know that the shrub hardly has branches big enough for birds to sit on. You would have found Jesus parable very interesting.
In the Old Testament books of Daniel and Ezekiel the superpowers of the day were symbolically referred to as huge trees with braches that even the birds of the air could sit on. Babylon and Assyria were the great kingdoms and indeed superpowers, wielding great strength and influence.
According to Jesus, the kingdom of God may appear weak, insignificant and negligible, but we need only wait. The Kingdom of God is growing as people hear and accept the word about Jesus (Mark 4:1-20) and after the growing is done the Kingdom will be established in all its fullness at the “harvest” at the end of this age (Mark 4:26-29).
Daniel referred to the kingdom of God in a similar way in Daniel 2. He said the kingdom it like a small rock that ultimately destroys all the kingdoms of this world. The small rock grows to become a mountain that fills the whole earth!
Of course, mustard bushes don’t have big branches. I think Jesus is saying that the growth of this kingdom is not due to our planning or strategies or programmes, the growth of this kingdom is supernatural, God does it! We are to be faithful and sow seeds, but its up to God to make the seed grow and to that end we must be depending on God in prayer.
The kingdom of God is coming. We will need to be patient. Don’t be discouraged. Don’t be fooled into thinking Christianity is worthless. The kingdom may appear weak and inconsequential at the moment, but have no fear! When God’s kingdom finally comes in all its fullness we will be amazed and astounded at it bigness, powerfulness and all-encompassing influence.