“The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
Matthew is writing to Jewish readers, so he chooses to use the phrase “kingdom of heaven” instead of the kingdom of God. Essentially they’re the same thing, but his readers probably would object to the use of “God.” Matthew wanted to avoid any kind of controversy–he really didn’t want to create issues, he honestly wanted them to understand. A good move.
Is the mustard seed the smallest? Not really, but for the sake of the story it is.
A small seed gets planted, and guess what? It gets bigger than everything else in the garden (“Miracle Grow?) The little seed becomes a big tree. The birds even build their nests in it. (Some have suggested that the birds are satanic, but I think that’s a stretch.)
Small beginnings which grew up even larger than anyone’s expectations. The little seed exploded into this humongous tree. Who would’ve guessed?
That’s the way his kingdom is to grow inside of us and inside the Church.
The kingdom of heaven (or God) erupts into our lives. It grows fast, and it grows big and it doesn’t fool around. It’s just a very small thing, that takes off and it’s enormous. Everything our Father does grow, but only if it’s his doing.
Obedience is necessary, but the Spirit is critical. Growth is packed inside every seed, I don’t really understand it all, but Jesus has this figured out.
“In the future, the mountain with the Lord’s temple will be the highest of all. It will reach above the hills; every nation will rush to it.”
“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while people were sleeping, his enemy came, sowed weeds among the wheat, and left. 26 When the plants sprouted and produced grain, then the weeds also appeared. 27 The landowner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Master, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Then where did the weeds come from?’”
28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he told them.”
“‘So, do you want us to go and pull them up?’ the servants asked him.”
29 “‘No,’ he said. ‘When you pull up the weeds, you might also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At harvest time I’ll tell the reapers: Gather the weeds first and tie them in bundles to burn them, but collect the wheat in my barn.’”
Jesus is still sitting in the fishing boat. And he’s still spinning his stories that are true–they’re revealing what God’s rule is like in a human heart, the Church, and the world. If we want to, we can imagine sitting on the shore, just watching and hearing him teach us. Wouldn’t that be great!
This parable is sort of funny in a way.
A man has finished sowing seed, and that night and someone (the passage calls him an enemy) sneaks in and starts spreading bad seed on top of the good. Why he did this is a bit of a mystery? Most likely there was some kind of an issue–bad blood I guess.
The seed the enemy used was known as “bastard wheat.”
The King James uses the word “tares” which is probably a kinder word. It looked like the regular stuff in every way, except it didn’t develop a head, it never produced any grain. All it did is rob the soil. It had no value to anyone, it was worse than worthless.
It was at that point that the foreman informs the landowner of the situation. He comes to him with questions (they seem thoughtful, and perhaps he’s just thinking out loud.) The landowner knows good seed was used, and this bastard wheat must’ve been sown by someone else.
“An enemy did this,” was the only possibility they came up with. The servant wonders what needs to be done. The logical thing is to walk through the field and pull out the weeds. To him, that was the only reasonable option they had.
But the landowner decides to do nothing, he simply would wait and let them grow up together. He would be patient. But there will be a harvest, and at that time there will need to be a sorting process. It’s then that the reapers will pull out all the bad, collect them in bunches, and have a big bonfire.
The good wheat, the ones with a head, will be collected and stored.
It’s the “wait and see” perspective that interests me. The landowner isn’t losing any sleep over this–the enemy may have done evil against him, but it really isn’t an issue. He knows that, in the end, things will work out. He responds appropriately to a situation that others in his place wouldn’t have done.
The final harvest would mean separation of the tares from the wheat–the real from the false.
In a real way, this parable explains the conclusion of the Kingdom. When it’s all said and done, those who haven’t produced will not go with those who have. A fire awaits at the end. I think you can figure out what that means.
It seems that the servants are the ones who see the difference, they see the authentic grow up with the false, and all they can do is wait and watch. But believe you me, the harvest will certainly come. It’s critical that we be those who bear fruit.
“The amount of time we spend with Jesus – meditating on His Word and His majesty, seeking His face – establishes our fruitfulness in the kingdom.”