Summary: Jesus uses four analogies to explain some facets of the kingdom of heaven
The Kingdom of Heaven Mt. 13:31-33 and 44-52
Story: A young Colombian girl who received a new testament in her school.
She read the New Testament until one day her father caught her reading it…and told her not to read it any more because it was full of lies and fantasy..
But the girl kept on reading until one day her father came home unexpectedly found her with the NT grabbed it from her hands and put it in his pocket.
The father went off to work where he was a mining engineer.
Several hours later sirens went off in the community because there had been a cave-in at the mine.
The father was trapped in the mine.
The rescue workers took 5 days to finally reach the men, but it was too late.
All 31 men died including the father of this little girl.
When the rescue worke
rs came to the body of the girl’s father they found the man clutching the NT between his praying hands.
When they opened the front cover they read a note
“To my daughter keep reading this New Testament, it is true and right, and I will see you one day in heaven.”
Then they turned to the back page where the father had signed the commitment card to become a disciple of Jesus after having said the sinner’s prayer.
But that was not the end of the story,
Turning the page there were signed the names of the other 30 workers.
(This illustration came from the Gideons International)
And if someone asked you what heaven was like, I wonder what you might say.
In our Gospel reading today Jesus used four analogies concerning the kingdom of heaven
The first analogy is his comparison of the Kingdom of heaven with a mustard seed
The second analogy is his comparison of the Kingdom of heaven with yeast in flour
The third analogy is his comparison of the Kingdom of heaven with Hidden Treasure and a pearl of great worth and
Jesus’ final analogy is the comparison of the Kingdom of heaven with fishing net
So I’d like to take a look at each analogy because each analogy gives us a different facet of what the kingdom of God is like.
1. The first analogy is Jesus’ comparison of the Kingdom of heaven with the Mustard seed
In Jesus’ day, the mustard seed, Sinapis nigra was considered proverbially to be the tiniest of seeds known in 1st Century Palestine.
It would be a bit like our saying: “As small as a pea.”
Yet the marvel of such a small seed is that the resulting plant can grow to as high as 12 ft tall – that is twice my size!
Jesus uses this very apt picture to prophesy the spread of Christianity- from a very small beginning.
You see the kingdom of heaven is in the very hearts of Christians here on earth already
Yet it has been estimated that as much as a quarter to half the world’s population would call themselves Christian today.
What did Jesus mean about the birds of the air nesting in the mustard tree?
In the Old Testament, the birds of the air was an expression used to depict the Gentiles – often in a negative way.
And so the reference to the birds of the air nesting in the branches of the Mustard plant would have indicated that the Gentiles would be included in the Kingdom of God – something that would have been very unpalatable to a first Century Jew.
The beauty of the Christian Gospel is that the Grace of God is open to anyone whatever race or colour.
2. The second analogy is Jesus’ comparison of the Kingdom of heaven to yeast in flour
It only takes a little yeast to raise the flour completely and make it ready for making bread.
Jesus is saying that the Christian message is not just for Sundays, it will permeate to the core of our being.
It will permeate the whole of our society
We tend to forget how much society today owes to Christianity.
Schools, hospitals, prison reform and the social services network all arose from the Christian faith of the early pioneers of these institutions.
Much of our legal system has a Christian foundation
Many of the significant breakthroughs in science were made by men with a Christian faith – like Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Faraday, Lord Kelvin, Clerk Maxwell to name a few.
Jesus is saying in this parable that - like yeast in flour - so the Kingdom of God will permeate the very fabric of society – when we as Christians - put our faith into action.
3. The third analogy is Jesus comparison of the Kingdom of heaven to hidden treasure or a pearl of great worth