31* He presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field;
32* and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that THE BIRDS OF THE AIR come and NEST IN ITS BRANCHES.”
The parable of the mustard seed illustrates that there will be tremendous growth in the Kingdom which would belie its humble beginnings.
1. Just as the “small stone” of Dan 2:35 “became a great mountain and filled the whole earth”
2. The growth of the church in the first century A.D. certainly confirmed the truth of Jesus’ parable
a. The 120 disciples grew to over 3000 just in one day – Ac 2:41-42
b. It was soon about 5000 – Ac 4:4
c. The number of the disciples continued to “multiply”
1) In Jerusalem – Ac 6:7
2) Throughout Judea, Galilee,& SamariaAc 9:31
d. Years later, there were “myriads” of believers just in Jerusalem alone – Ac 21:20
3. Even today, we see the growth and influence of the kingdom of heaven in lives of believers around the world!
This parable teaches us that IT’S GROWTH WOULD BE BENEFICIAL TO THE WORLD…
1. In the parable, Jesus spoke of how “the birds of the air come and nest in its branches”
2. What is meant by Jesus?He does not say, but the kingdom of God is certainly a blessing to all who take refuge in its “branches”
a. E.g., “for the kingdom of God is not food and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” – Ro 14:17
b. To those seeking rest for their weary souls, the King offers His tender invitation to come to Him and enter His kingdom of rest – cf. Mt11:28-30
We have this parable in prophecy:
“On the high mountain of Israel I will plant it, that it may bring forth boughs and bear fruit and become a stately cedar. And birds of every kind will nest under it; they will nest in the shade of its branches.
This parable was given by Jesus to offer encouragement to that small band of disciples following Him over the hills of Palestine.They would be a part of something that would grow and bless the world immensely!
What about today?The kingdom of heaven continues to grow and spread out is branches to those who will accept it, certainly.But can we ever expect similar growth to that witnessed in the first century?Consider a few thoughts about..
I think we need to see that THERE IS THE “MATHEMATICAL POSSIBILITY”
1. Beginning with just twenty disciples, each converting just one person a year, and their converts doing the same…
2. …the growth would be like a mustard seed!
a. End of year1 – 40
b. End of year5 – 640
c. End of year 10 – 20,480
d. End of year 15 – 655,360
e. End of year 20 – 20,971,520
f. End of year 25 – 1,342,177,280
— All it takes is for each person to bring one soul to Christ each and every year!
And we need to see that THERE IS CERTAINLY THE “SPIRITUAL POSSIBILITY”
We have the same “seed” of the kingdom, the Word of God!
A “seed” which is incorruptible, that lives and abides forever – 1 Pe 1:23-25
A “seed” capable of producing what God intends – cf. Isa 55:10-11
While the first two parables remind us that not all will accept the Word of God, this parable declares that the kingdom will grow!
WHAT IS NEEDED IS PEOPLE… People with vision
Who have the vision of Christ, as expressed in His parables
Who look not at an apple and count the seeds, but looks at a seed and counts the apples (with their many seeds)!
Who look at converting and developing disciples in the same way
People willing to put the kingdom of God first in their lives.The seed of the gospel will produce fruit, but only if it falls on good soil
b. If we allow…
1) The cares of this world
2) The deceitfulness of riches
3) The pleasures of life…to “choke” us, we cannot bear good fruit
Therefore we need to put the kingdom of God first – cf. Mt 6:33
(thanks to Mark A. Copeland foradapted notes above)