26 October 2021
18Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? To what can I compare it? 19It is like a mustard seed that a man tossed into his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches.”
These two pity sayings are rather interesting and irregular.
The mustard seed referred to here could pretty much be compared to a weed. Notice how Luke refers to it as a seed tossed out. Matthew and Mark speak of it as the smallest seed in the garden. In all accounts the seed is undervalued by the farmer and not seen as important, however it takes its place in the garden and becomes a shelter and a symbol of homeliness.
Likewise, yeast (leaven) was something used by Jesus as a symbol of the corruption of the Pharisees. He used it on other occasions to symbolise a wrong spirit.
So here Jesus uses two supposedly negative images to describe the kingdom of God. Why would he do that? In this whole section of the Gospel Jesus is continually and in ever more graphic and heightened imagery describing how different God’s ways are to our ways.
What we value, God puts little stead in; and what we despise God exalts. Why would that be?
Throughout the Old Testament the younger brother prevails over the older the lesser over the greater. Israel itself was a weak nation amongst powerful nations. God has chosen the weak and the humble to be his royal priesthood. Israel was blessed above all other nations of the time.
We are not made superior or greater than others in the worldly sense. The Kingdom should not lead us to think like imperialists, we are to be ambassadors of God, not conquerors and oppressors. When we rely on God, as St Paul says when we are weak then he is strong, when we get our strength from God and not from ourselves and our own efforts, when we are meek then we can be effective for God. God can build his kingdom out of an insignificant seed, he can turn anything for good, he can make a donkey speak the truth and a slave bring salvation to a home and save a nation.
God can make good in your life and mine. God can use the things that we don’t think much of to speak truth and hope and joy into the life of another. All we must do is be at his disposal. God uses the small things in our lives to bring about big changes in the world.
I always say that more people join a church because of the smile they received at the door than because of the sermons that are preached from the pulpit.
Jesus has a bias for the poor and lowly, for the broken and downtrodden. Jesus wants to love you where you feel least loved, and in loving you, bring you home.
Are you willing to be a mustard seed for Jesus?
let us pray
The Lord has said – “I am the Lord, and I have called you in righteousness,
I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people,
a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the captives from the dungeon,
from the prison, those who sit in darkness.
Lord God bring us out and make us whole and though we are small and weak, use us to build your kingdom.