Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Adults sometimes chuckle when they hear the four-year-old claim that he wants to be a ninja firefighter or even when the second-grader asserts that she will be the first person to walk on Mars. The children’s heart-felt aspirations can seem far-fetched to the practically-minded—and all the more so when the “future astronaut” stands before you, currently missing her two front teeth!
Might the disciples have been tempted to chuckle at Jesus’ suggestion that his kingdom, his church, would grow to the point of including followers from “all nations”? How could a dozen insignificant men following a homeless and harassed prophet ever dream that their movement would one day number in the billions of souls? How could these Aramaic-speaking apostles begin to understand that the letters and gospels they would write in Greek would eventually be translated into thousands of different languages? How could their humble teacher, once crucified and publicly shamed as a criminal, one day be glorified and worshipped by believers on every continent?
How? Only by Jesus’ power and blessing. By his power and blessing, he established a kingdom of grace, earned by his death on a cross and established by his resurrection from the dead. The purpose of this kingdom is to rescue sinners from their otherwise inevitable destruction in hell, and its goal is to bring people of every nation, tribe, and language out of darkness and into the light of his forgiving love.
As Jesus went to the cross, his hope for the future was for you to join him in paradise. His aspiration was to be your Savior. No matter how large his church grows, Jesus’ eye is always on every individual soul, and his ear is tuned in to their every prayer.
Lord Jesus, I am grateful that there is room in your kingdom for me. Amen.