Summary: Parable of Mustard Seed & Narrow Door (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: email@example.com)
Reading: Luke chapter 13 verses 18 to 30.
• The story is told of a little Jimmy who came home from school;
• And asked his parents ‘the’ question they all dread to hear;
• “Dad, where did I come from?”
• Dad in his wisdom replied; “Good question, go ask your mother!”
• So off he went to find his mother;
• When he found her he said: “Mum, where did I come from?”
• She replied; “Good question, go ask your father!”
• Jimmy replied; “I’ve asked him and he sent me to you!!
• Mum sits Jimmy down and starts to explain the story of the ‘birds and the bees’ etc;
• Very quickly she has explained the facts of life to l Little Jimmy.
• He sat there listening;
• His eyes getting wider and wider, his mouth falls further and further open.
• When she had finished she asked Jimmy; “Does that help?”
• He replied; “No really, my friend Mikey says he is from Portsmouth. Where did I come from?”
• Sometimes you have to know what is behind the question being asked;
• In order to understand the question in the first place.
• The same is true this morning for the questions asked our passage.
• But to each question, Jesus gives a straight answer.
Straight talk about the kingdom
• A subject every first century Jew was interested in was the ‘Kingdom of God’.
• Don’t forget that the Jewish people were a people under Roman oppression.
• And like any oppressed people they desperately wanted their freedom;
• They believed that the freedom they were eager to experience;
• Would ultimately come when the Messiah came.
• He would overthrow their enemies and set up his kingdom – i.e. ‘Kingdom of God’.
Now in this section this evening Jesus asks a couple of questions (verse 18):
• “What is the Kingdom of God like?”
• “What shall I compare it to?”
• The expression “Kingdom of God” is a broad concept that is difficult to define simply.
• In simply means where ‘God the King is ruling’.
• In the Old Testament the Kingdom of God was God ruling in the midst of his people.
• Ill: God was the nations king made them unique but they wanted an earthly king – Saul.
• In the New Testament the Kingdom of God is God ruling in the lives of believers.
• Ill: Jesus taught Luke chapter 17 verse 21: “The kingdom of God is within you (his followers)”.
• In a future day, the Kingdom of God will literally be set up on planet earth (1,000yrs).
• Ill: Lord’s prayer – “Your kingdom come”.
In talking about the ‘Kingdom of God’ to his hearers:
• Jesus uses two illustrations (vs 18 & 20);
• illustrations that have nothing to do with great empires (earthly domains) but with everyday objects.
(a). Like a mustard seed (vs 19).
18Then Jesus asked, "What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to?
19It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches."
• “Small as a mustard seed” was a common expression used by the Rabbis.
• It was used to describe something minute, something miniscule.
• Ill: the smallest drop of ink, so small you can hardly see it.
• Ill: if you pricked your finger – the smallest drop of blood.
• A mustard seed was so small it can easily get lost in your hand.
• It would take 20,000 mustard seeds to weigh just one ounce.
• The seeds came from the mustard plant which had very bright, brilliant yellow flowers;
• And this plant can grow to be over 9 feet tall.
• It can grow big and strong enough;
• That a tiny bird could choose to build its nest in its branches.
• Jesus does not give an interpretation to these parables;
• Maybe they were so obvious his hearers fully understood what he meant.
• Or maybe like a time bomb;
• They would have to wait for a later time when the truth would explode in their minds.
• Jesus was telling his hearers that God’s kingdom begins as something insignificant.
• But like that seed, the Kingdom is alive and although it starts small, it grows.
• That’s true the church of Jesus Christ.
• Jesus started with only 12 men, and one of them was a fake.
• He told them to change the world–that’s a pretty small seed.
• Yet today there are over 2 billion Christians in the world.