Then Jesus said, "What can I use to show you what the kingdom of God is like? What story can I use to explain it? The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed. The mustard seed is the smallest seed that you plant in the ground. But when you plant this seed, it grows and becomes the largest of all the plants in your garden. It has branches that are very big. The wild birds can come and make nests there and be protected from the sun."
— Mark 4:30-32
If mystery and movement were the heart of Jesus' Kingdom message yesterday, today his message is about power and grace. The Kingdom appears small in the face of the world's political and military powers. However, the Kingdom we see is only a seed, not the fully mature shelter. But the Kingdom is growing and will be large enough to furnish safety and security for those who live in its branches. Don't be afraid, dear Kingdom seeker; the God who propels the mustard seed to great growth is at work in his Kingdom to do far greater things than we can ask or imagine. So find your shelter in this Kingdom. All others will pass away, but this one will endure—forever.
O LORD my God, how awesome are your works in all the earth. The beauty and diversity of your creation astound me. Yet I realize that as beautiful as this physical world I can see may be, the unseen realm of your Kingdom, majesty, and might are far greater still! Even those bits and glimpses of your Kingdom I experience now are wonderful. I look forward to the day when they are visible to all. Until that day, shelter me in the embrace of your Kingdom and grace. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Today's Verses in Context
Then Jesus said, "The kingdom of God is like a man that plants seed in the ground. The seed begins to grow. It grows night and day. It is not important if the man is sleeping or awake; the seed still grows. The man does not know how the seed grows. Without any help, the ground grows grain. First the plant grows, then the head, and then all the grain in the head. When the grain is ready, the man cuts it. This is the harvest time." Then Jesus said, "What can I use to show you what the kingdom of God is like? What story can I use to explain it? The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed. The mustard seed is the smallest seed that you plant in the ground. But when you plant this seed, it grows and becomes the largest of all the plants in your garden. It has branches that are very big. The wild birds can come and make nests there and be protected from the sun." Jesus used many stories like these to teach them. He taught them all that they could understand. Jesus always used stories to teach the people. But when Jesus and his followers were alone together, Jesus explained everything to them.
Related Scripture Readings
And you will know that God's power is very great for us who believe. That power is the same as the great strength that God used to raise Christ from death. God put Christ at his right side in the heavenly places. God made Christ more important than all rulers, authorities, powers, and kings. Christ is more important than anything that has power in this world or in the next world. God put everything under Christ's power. And God gave him to be the head (ruler) over everything for the church. The church is Christ's body. The church is filled with Christ. He makes everything complete in every way.
So I bow in prayer before the Father. Every family in heaven and on earth gets its true name from him. I ask the Father with his great glory to give you the power to be strong in your spirits. He will give you that strength through his Spirit. I pray that Christ will live in your hearts because of your faith. I pray that your life will be strong in love and be built on love. And I pray that you and all God's holy people will have the power to understand the greatness of Christ's love. I pray that you can understand how wide and how long and how high and how deep that love is. Christ's love is greater than any person can ever know. But I pray that you will be able to know that love. Then you can be filled with the fullness of God. With God's power working in us, God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or think of. To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all time, forever and ever. Amen.
We pray that your kingdom will come, and that the things you want will be done here on earth, the same as in heaven.