It seems as though the Bible is filled with images and information far past what our meagre human brains can grasp. The best approach is to regard these as mysteries; we know and understand them to a point but will not fully comprehend their meaning until we meet our Lord in the kingdom of Heaven. However, we still continue to try to figure these mysteries out before our death.

By the grace of Jesus Christ, there are metaphors He provided by which we can draw a kind of comparison to what we seek to understand better. In this gospel, Jesus compares the kingdom of God to a mustard seed “a man took and planted in the garden. When it was fully grown, it became a large bush and the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches.” Luke 13:19 While this comparison may not give us a vivid picture of the kingdom of God, we do gain a different way to conceptualize this kingdom. I used to read this gospel assuming that Jesus was talking about His kingdom in Heaven, but now I realize He is speaking of the kingdom of God. This kingdom refers not only to the paradise awaiting us after death, but this kingdom is here on earth as well. We are part of the kingdom of God right now.

Jesus asks us to tend the mustard seed or mix the yeast in with the wheat, as He describes in a later comparison to the kingdom of God. When the mustard seed grew or when the yeast was fully combined with the wheat, they both provided sustenance or shelter for many. Jesus longs for His kingdom to grow and flourish; He loves this world and wants nothing less than for all the people in it to gain entrance to the kingdom of Heaven. We have the responsibility of growing the kingdom of God, we have the power to share the word of God, and only by sharing the gifts we have received can the kingdom of God grow.

We are experiencing a difficult time in our history and people crave hopeful signs of better times to come. The word of God is the only truth we can count on in this life, and we can rest knowing we are in a safe haven like the birds who dwell in the branches of the plant that came from the mustard seed. There is still room in the kingdom of God for many others and we need to bring more people into its shelter so they too can find peace.

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  1. I too appreciate the way Jesus uses the most ordinary (and often very small) objects in his parables. The tiny mustard seed that becomes a huge bush and the little bit of yeast that makes 3 loaves of bread truly illustrate the saying about how even imperfect and flawed faith can help foster the kingdom of God here on earth. As we share our faith with others, surely our own will grow stronger, and our understanding of what the kingdom of God means will deepen.


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