St Petri @ Redeemer Lutheran School
Sunday May 26, 2013.
31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds[b] of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
Jesus tells a couple of parables in a row about the growth of his Kingdom in Matthew chapter 13. One is about a very small seed (a mustard seed) becoming a pretty sizable bush in the garden that is large enough for birds to sit in. the other is one in which Jesus liens his presence, his kingdom, his promises and his influence to that of yeast in a loaf of bread.
The message? Jesus’ kingdom is potent! His presence is like plutonium in a nuclear bomb – you only need a tiny amount to have huge effect! And, Jesus’ Word grows way beyond its beginnings. Jesus’ kingdom starts small or seems small but grows to be large and useful for God’s creatures.
So, is that it? Is that the message of this little parable? Well at one level, yes. But, as is usually the case with his little parables, there is a twist.
The mustard seed grows into a bush. A bush? It is not that flash. We don’t sing “A mighty mustard bush is our God!”
A mustard bush is not magnificent and strong and majestic as a huge cedar or Karri tree in the SW of Australia. Jesus’ use of of all things a mustard bush to describe the “greatness” f his kingdom seems odd.
Wouldn’t we expect Jesus to say that his kingdom grows fast into a huge spreading oak tree or a magnificent river gum along the Murray. Instead, he uses the humble mustard bush to speak of his kingdom….Why?
Maybe he is saying that his kingdom grows in places and among people and in ways we don’t expect or even recognise as great…?
We might want Jesus’ kingdom to look and feel powerful and glorious and undeniable. We do like flashy things and seem to be drawn to symbols of power and prestige. If things are powerful looking, large, bright and shiny, we tend to believe that God is in them more than if things are a bit dull or weak looking or ordinary.
It seems that Jesus is saying that his way, his community, his presence, his resurrection power to change our lives and our very inner selves is potent and grows for sure – but in unexpected places less spectacular or identifiable than we might believe.
Jesus’ kingdom grows like a mustard seed grows in places like;
• a teacher educating young children at a school like this?
• young children singing, speaking and praying their faith with and for us?
• a pretty normal looking church service in a pretty normal church building with pretty normal people inside of it singing, praying, listening, sharing here in the valley every weekend.
• a Dad reading a bible story to the little guy at bed time or mum just doing what mums do for their families every day…
Friends, Jesus’ kingdom is growing here, just like the vines and the wheat and the fruit and the trees and us – everyday people hearing Jesus’ word and doing it out of love and loyalty to him.
Jesus kingdom started small and it is still growing even right here in this place – in the St Petri Community and its school – the Redeemer Community.
It is growing all around you through every day events and every day people in which Jesus speaks and acts to you and for you.
Will you see him there? Will you hear him there?
Jesus, you are here and your Word is living and growing well here in this school and this church community and we thank you for that.
Help us recognise your voice, your presence, your power and strength in the everyday things of our lives this week.
Bless these educators and all staff who help each other and their students grow in the Way of Jesus in all they do from day-to-day.
Bless us all today with a mustard seed faith that is content to trust that you are on the move through ordinary people like us in the ordinary places we live and work.
Inspire us to trust your presence and power in your Word to transform us and enable us to live life to the full in your gifts of faith, hope and love.
- There are two places in which he uses the image of a mustard seed. One is here in a parable Matthew chapter 13, and the same one in Luke 13. Bit there is also another one. Have a look at Matthew chapter 17:14-23. here faith is likened to a mustard seed. Compare and contrast the two uses of the mustard seed as an image of Jesus’ presence and promises in your life.
- How is the mustard seed the same in both places?
- How is it different?What are the basic messages of each use of the mustard seed by Jesus?
- What do you think about the notion that Jesus’ use of the Mustard bush as a little surprising when he could have chosen to use a acorn and a huge spreading oak tree and etc…..? Do you think he is telling us that is presence and power to change people and save people grows in unexpected places or places we may not want to recognise?
- Where do you see and hear Jesus kingdom being present and changing people and growing our our church community?