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Scripture: Matthew 13:31-35 (Mark 4:30-32; Luke 13:18ff)
31 Another parable he put before them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field; 32 it is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches." 33 He told them another parable. "The kingdom of heaven is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened." 34 All this Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed he said nothing to them without a parable. 35 This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet: "I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world."

Meditation: What can mustard seeds and leaven teach us about the kingdom of God? The tiny mustard seed literally grew to be a tree which attracted numerous birds because they loved the little black mustard seed it produced. God's kingdom works in a similar fashion. It starts from the smallest beginnings in the hearts of men and women who are receptive to God's word. And it works unseen and causes a transformation from within. Leaven is another powerful agent of change. A lump of dough left to itself remains just what it is, a lump of dough. But when the leaven is added to it a transformation takes place which produces rich and wholesome bread when heated -- the staple of life for humans.The kingdom of God produces a transformation in those who receive the new life which Jesus Christ offers. When we yield to Jesus Christ, our lives are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. Paul the Apostle says, "we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us" (2 Corinthians 4:7). Do you believe in the transforming power of the Holy Spirit?

In Matthew 13 the pattern is:
Seed and sower – acceptance and rejection

Weeds – God is sorting out the weeds and wheat in the endtime

Faith – Seed and leaven – Kudzu and Virus

  1. What if the “mustard plant” isn’t desirable to everyone? Birds may like to nest in it, but gardeners might not like it.
  2. Theme of separation and judgment.
  3. Birds = gentiles, sinners, tax collectors; established garden
  4. The kingdom of God takes over every other dominion and power structure – invisibly and within. All other power structures fail before it.

Explanation of Weeds and Wheat – Judgement

Hidden Treasure and Pearl – recognizing the value of the kingdom, though hidden

The Net – Separation

Have you understood? Scribes for the kingdom and prophets without honor.

Chris Benjamin

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 22 August 2010

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