This morning as I was doing my daily reading of the scriptures, I came across Mark 4:30-32:
Again the Lord Jesus said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it?
It is like a grain of mustard seed,
which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”
We get so used to hearing the parables of Jesus, that they don’t have that THUNDERSTRUICK impact on us that I think they had on His listeners.
The Kingdom of Heaven is like a grain of mustard seed? Give me a break! I want a kingdom which comes in power and glory with armies of angels and lightning and thunder and trumpets and judgment and where evil is overthrown!
“Like a grain of mustard seed“
We often overlook the awesome power in the smallest and simplest of things which are all around us, and all visible signs of the Hand of God.
Go ahead, put a grain of mustard seed in the palm of your hand (you can buy mustard seed grain in many grocery stores). And behold, the KINGDOM OF GOD is like that tiny speck of a seed sitting on the palm of your hand that a mild wind could blow away. But meditate on this mystery anyway – how such a seemingly insignificant seed buried/hidden in the ground is like the Kingdom of God. It is imperceptible and yet will produce a great bush. That is the mystery of God’s Kingdom, or of being filled with the Holy Spirit.
It is as Jesus says, having eyes to see.
St. Basil the Great in the 4th Century wrote,
Look at a stone, and notice that even a stone carries some mark of the Creator. It is the same with an ant, a bee, a mosquito. The wisdom of the Creator is revealed in the smallest of creatures. It is he who has spread out the heavens and laid out the immensity of the seas. It is he also who has made the tiny hollow shaft of the bee’s sting. All the objects in the world are an invitation to faith, not to unbelief.
For St. Basil as in the time of Jesus, there was no microscope, nor knowledge of atoms and subatomic particles. So for them the smallest things that could be seen were things like bees and mustard seeds. And in these tiniest of things, they could see the handiwork of the Creator. “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made” (Romans 1:20).
The Great God and Creator of the entire universe is made known in the tiniest of things. This, as I said before, is also why even DNA is another scripture giving us a written record of what God has been doing through His human creatures from the earliest beginnings of humankind. The tiniest of genes speak to us as loudly about God and His Kingdom as does the greatest and most fantastic objects and events in the universe. God has planted His seed – His Word – His purposefulness in everything in the universe, and invites us to discover them.
The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech nor language
Where their voice is not heard.
Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their words to the end of the world.