In this time and age we best think about the parable of the the sower, where the sower sows the seeds into different kinds of ground – three bad and one good. Man himself can find out from Scriptures what is meant by those stories Jesus told. Concerning the seed of the sower Jesus tells us (v18-23) – the seed is the Word of God and the different kinds of ground are different responses to the message of the Kingdom.
In our world we hear less spoken about the Word of God and many churches are running empty. For followers of Christ, the religions getting against each other is just one of the many signs we can see that the preaching of the coming Kingdom is of utmost importance, because when it shall be preached all over the world, then the end shall come.
In this world there are lots of people who think they are doing good and others who are convinced they do not have to take care because they are saved under Christ. they may be very mistaken, hoping to enter the Kingdom of God, by not living according to God‘s Laws, missing the entrance to the small gate. All those parables Jesus told should be a warning that it perhaps might not be so easy to enter the Kingdom after all. Many may be called but few reaching the the end goal of the race.
The second parable we have to take at heart is the one about the weeds, where the enemy sows bad weed seeds amongst the good wheat seeds. Again, we are not left guessing as to the meaning – Jesus tells us (v37-43) – the good seed represents the sons of the Kingdom and the bad seed the sons of the devil, i.e. those opposed to the message of the Kingdom who will be ‘weeded’ out of the Kingdom by God’s angels when the Son of Man (Jesus) comes.
Those two are not the only ones in which Jesus talks about seeds.
Birds in the fields and trees
When we look at the fields where seeds are waiting to grow, we can see many birds picking their bits of grains. Now Jesus comes to look where those birds have their habitat. They coming to live in a tree. In the ancient times the men of God also wrote about the birds living in trees, referring to kingdoms.
“The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was food for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the birds of the heavens dwelt in the branches thereof, and all flesh was fed from it.” (Daniel 4:12 ASV)
“it is thou, O king, [Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon]that art grown and become strong; for thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth.” (Daniel 4:22 ASV)
“All the birds of the heavens made their nests in its boughs; and under its branches did all the beasts of the field bring forth their young; and under its shadow dwelt all great nations.” (Ezekiel 31:6 ASV)
These first two Old Testament references use that specific language that Jesus picks up on – using the description of trees and perching birds to represent empires and subjects dwelling in them. But the obvious thing to notice is that whereas Jesus is talking about the Kingdom of Heaven, these verses most certainly are not! They are talking about the kingdoms of men! The first is talking about the kingdom of Babylon, which only filled the world with godless rule – and even today its pagan beliefs and teaching still permeate like yeast (many non‑Christian and Christian religions can trace their belief system back to ancient Babylon). Assyria was known for its violence and cruelty (see Nahum 3:19) and our days, like the days of Noah, also see a world filled with violence (modern day Assyria / Syria being notable examples).
It may seem strange to make reference to the kingdoms of men when the parable of the mustard seed is about the Kingdom of Heaven, but then other parables do the same. The parable of the sower begins “the Kingdom of Heaven is like” then talks about the unbelief of people’s hearts and their rejection of the gospel, the parable of the sower begins “the Kingdom of Heaven is like” then talks about the corruption of the gospel finding a temporary place in the harvest field, and the parable of the net begins “the Kingdom of Heaven is like” then describes the existence of the bad fish swimming around in the lake. But then all these parables end with salvation and deliverance, and so also does the last of those three specific Old Testament references.
Ezekiel 17:22-24 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘I myself will take a shoot from the very top of a cedar and plant it; I will break off a tender sprig from its topmost shoots and plant it on a high and lofty mountain. On the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar. Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches. All the trees of the field will know that I the LORD bring down the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall. I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish.’ I the LORD have spoken and I will do it.”
The encouragement that the parable gives us
Imagine if the parable of the sower just told us that a man went to sow seed, and the seed grew and the crop was good. Imagine if the parable of the weeds just told us that a man planted some seed, and the seed was good, and then harvest came, and harvest was good. Imagine if the parable of the ten virgins wasn’t the parable of the ten virgins – it was the parable of the five virgins and it told us that there were five virgins who went to a wedding and the wedding was good – and that’s it!
Our message of salvation is not just that Jesus will return and all is well. The reality of the world we live in is very dark and very far from what God wants it to be. Even more discouraging is the fact that the very gospel that Jesus gave to enlighten is not believed by so many, and falsehood and the kingdoms of men fill the earth, and we – with the precious truth we possess – are so small and ignored.
Jesus encourages us by reminding us, through the parable of the mustard seed and the Old Testament links, that God is fully aware of how man’s ways rule the world – like Assyria and Babylon in the past. Jesus does not try to divert us by pretending that everything is good right now, but reminds us that God’s plan will become a reality – more real than anything fake we see around us now.
God has told us that He himself will plant His Tree / Kingdom, on the mountain heights of Israel and that all the other trees (nations) will know this and so God will be glorified and vindicated in the end amongst all His opponents, as will all those who keep that precious faith and stick with Him. This is our hope. We are tired of the kingdoms of men around us, imitating the shade and shelter that only God can provide through His Son who has the words of eternal life – and when he comes we will truly find rest under the shade of his branches.
From small to big
Mustard seeds are counted by the smallest seeds but they give us some strong big trees which produce a lot of seeds. Listening to the parable we can imagine us people with some faith like a mustard seed would have not much faith or little faith. But even that little faith can do much. Therefore the one who can sow little faith shall be able to give the pastures many trees which shall in their turn also create little seeds and multiply enormously.
Even when we do feel we have not so much faith, we should believe in ourselves and proclaim the message of salvation which is given to us. We may have doubts but should know that even with our little faith we shall be able to do much.
“And he saith unto them, Because of your little faith: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” (Matthew 17:20 ASV)
Moving a mountain, it looks ridiculous … but with our little faith if we believe in Christ Jesus as our saviour we shall be able to do much, showing others the Way to God, we shall be able to move mountains, doing lots of work for God. But to do that moving work we need to have the right seed. Unpolluted faith. We also need to use the right fertiliser, the pure Word of God, which we can find in the best store of the the world, the most precious library, the Bible. when we water ourselves every day with it, our seed shall be able to grow. Perhaps we ourself can be such a mustard tree.
The world needs many mustard seeds. There are so many nations, so many places where there is need for birds to find a place to sit in and trees for people to find shadow. It is up to the believers to become the sowers and the gardeners.
It is up to the believers to make it that the seed may be planted in good soil. We have to prepare the earth, we have to fertilise the ground and give the plants enough water so that they can survive in the dry surroundings.
Are you willing to be a sower?
Help us to proclaim the Word of God and to bring the message of salvation, the gospel of the coming Kingdom of God.
It may start very small but finish big, so take the opportunity.
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