Then He said, “To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we picture it? It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth; but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade.”
This is not the only time that Jesus will reference mustard seeds. Here, we are told that the kingdom of God first appears like the tiniest of all the seeds. Another reference tells us that the size of our faith, in order to accomplish great things or really anything, need only be the size of that tiny seed. For anyone who has seen or held a mustard seed, those things are almost microscopic. Of course, we know that they pack a big punch when it comes to flavor. Here, we also are told that what starts out as a little seed turns out to be the largest herbal plant of all. It is quite a contrast in pictures, from barely visible to completely noticeable and unmistakable.
When I think of the kingdom of God bursting on the scene like a mustard seed, it tells me that our perspective is very limited. There is a big difference between what we can perceive of God’s kingdom and the totality of what is there. We see parts of it, like the movement of the Holy Spirit and the manifestation of gifts. We witness healings or perhaps experience them ourselves. We watch people become transformed from lovers of the world to lovers of the Lord, and we see genuine change happen in them. Yet, those are just mustard seeds. With these minds, we cannot truly know and understand what else there is for us to experience and enjoy in God’s kingdom. We can only trust that what lies ahead will dwarf what we have seen to date because it must.
God’s kingdom is not growing from a tiny seed into a giant plant. The kingdom is as it always has been, and it never changes. The only thing that is changing is our ability to perceive the kingdom. In this current imperfect world, we can only experience God’s kingdom imperfectly and in part. This order of things has limits, but the next order of things will not. God’s kingdom will be there just as it is here, but we will be able to see and experience its fullness. That which interferes with its complete revelation now will be gone, and everything will be revealed to us. This will be the full revelation of God’s kingdom to those who love him. Father, we cannot wait to live in the fullness of your kingdom, to see its outstretched branches and bask in their shade.