Summary: The Kingdom of God is a seed of matchless worth which has been watered by the blood of Christ and the martyrs.
A Seed of Matchless Worth, Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52
The hymn writer Fanny Crosby gave us more than 6,000 gospel songs. Although blinded by an illness at the age of six weeks, she never became bitter. One time a preacher sympathetically remarked, “I think it is great pity that the Master did not give you sight when He showered so many other gifts upon you.” She replied quickly, “Do you know that if at birth I had been able to make one petition, it would have been that I should be born blind?” “Why?” asked the surprised clergyman. “Because when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior!”
One of Miss Crosby’s hymns was so personal that for years she kept it to herself. Kenneth Osbeck, author of several books on hymnology, says its revelation to the public came about this way: “One day at a Bible conference in Northfield, Massachusetts, Miss Crosby was asked by D. L. Moody to give a personal testimony. At first she hesitated, then quietly rose and said, ’There is one hymn I have written which has never been published. I call it my soul’s poem. Sometimes when I am troubled, I repeat it to myself, for it brings comfort to my heart.’ She then recited while many wept, ‘Someday the silver cord will break, and I no more as now shall sing; but oh, the joy when I shall wake within the palace of the King! And I shall see Him face to face, and tell the story – saved by grace!’” At the age of 95, Fanny Crosby passed into glory and saw the face of Jesus.
Though blind, nearly from birth, Fanny Crosby’s insight was enough to clearly see the truth of the matchless worth of her savior. This morning, I want to talk to you about a certain seed which is more valuable, more precious, and of more worth than any other seed, or any other thing in this world.
You may have noticed, in fact, that all of the hymn selections for today are hymns which were written by her. Just as she saw the majesty of grace with great and inspiring clarity, in spite of her physical blindness, today we will seek to shed light on the matchless worth of the Kingdom of God.
The Mustard Seed
In today’s Scripture reading we hear Jesus speaking of this seed of matchless worth, as He compares the Kingdom of God to a mustard seed. In order to understand this parable, we must understand a little bit about a mustard seed. The mustard seed was the smallest seed known to that part of the world. From what I can gather, only the orchid seed is smaller.
The mustard seed is tiny yet it can grow 12-15 feet in one season and become a nesting place for the birds of the air. It was a common saying of the day to refer to something unusually small in reference to the mustard seed.
In making the comparison between the Kingdom of God and the mustard seed, Jesus is saying that the Kingdom of God, though having small beginnings, would rise to greatness. The Kingdom of God began in relative obscurity with one rabbinical teacher, Jesus, and twelve unknown men.
The Jewish people were waiting for a messiah, a promised delivering King, but they were waiting for a King of great power; not a Nazarene carpenter who preached a message of radical compassion and mercy. The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed which is sown, not a mighty fortress which already established.
Jesus did not build a great fortress for His kingdom. Jesus did not build mighty walls around a city, nor did He besiege any enemy encampments. The Kingdom of God sprouted forth from the teachings of this humble, loving, gentle, and yet incredibly powerful man; who was in fact the Son of God!
The Kingdom of God is an “upside down” kingdom where the King serves rather than is served, where the suffering is somehow redemptive, where love is of greater virtue than power, and where power is seen not in physical prowess or earthly strength, but in one’s ability to lay aside revenge in favor of forgiveness; lay aside conquest in favor of pilgrimage; to lay aside self in favor of Christ.
The Jews longed for a King who would restore the Kingdom of David, drive out the Romans, and bring them back into earthly prominence and power as a nation. They were not looking for what God had actually promised them; a King who would suffer and die for the sins of the world, a King who would initiate a Kingdom where service is of greater significance than authority.