Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Kingdom that Starts Small and Finishes Big

Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”

Another parable He spoke to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.” (Matthew 13:31-33)
In these two parables, Jesus teaches us about the dynamics of the kingdom of Heaven on Earth. In the first one, we see how the mustard seed, though it is very small, becomes a plant large enough to be a tree. In the second, we see how a tiny bit of leaven works through a large batch of dough (about half a bushel or more, as much as a woman could knead by herself).

The kingdom of Heaven on Earth starts small and finishes big. That was a surprising twist on Jewish expectations. They knew the kingdom would be large and glorious, and they expected that it would burst onto the scene in a great display of political power. What they were not expecting was a seed. But in Zechariah, the LORD tells us that the things of God do not come about by human power or might, but by His Spirit (4:6). Then He teaches us to not despise the day of “small things” (4:10).

The kingdom of Heaven on Earth operates by the power of the Spirit, which is not bound by physical limitations, so size is inconsequential. Even a tiny seed, when it is in the hand of the Lord, becomes a very powerful thing. In Luke 17:21, Jesus tells us that the kingdom is within, inside of us. How big can that be? Well, consider how much power is packed inside the atom. Though it is microscopically small on the outside, there is an amazing release of energy when it is split. You might say it is bigger on the inside than on the outside, if you were going just by appearances.

It is the same way with us. We are bigger on the inside that we are on the outside, because the kingdom of God is within — and that is enough to change the world. Paul says that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or think, but he adds that it is according to the power that works in us (Ephesians 3:20). What power is that? His power, the power of His Spirit, the power of the kingdom within.

The kingdom of Heaven on Earth has already begun, and has been growing and expanding ever since. As it permeates, its influence is being felt all over the world. It has not yet risen in all its fullness, but it is always forcefully advancing, and will continue to do so until King Jesus returns. Then it will shine in all His glory.

The kingdom of Heaven on Earth starts as a small seed but becomes big enough to change your life and transform the world.



The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth

The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth
Keys to the Kingdom of God
in the Gospel of Matthew

by Jeff Doles

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Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.