Jesus’ parable of the mustard seed helps to explain the confusing reality of the Kingdom of God, which is a massive theme in the gospels as Jesus often proclaims, “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” But what is this Kingdom and where is it? In the parable, the mustard seed that is planted is a reference to His death. Remember when Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24). We learn from this parable that the seed (Jesus) knew that he must die in order to bring forth the tree with fruit (the kingdom of God), and through his death and resurrection, the seed can now grow which will make a way for people from every nation to believe the gospel and thereby enter the Kingdom (the different kinds of birds coming to nest on the branches). The kingdom was inaugurated or you could say the ribbon was cut at Jesus’ first coming, but it was hidden from the sight of some (like a seed underground), and only revealed to those whom God chose to reveal it (see Luke 17:20-21). The foundation of the Kingdom was laid, and now we are in the next stages brought about by the resurrection of Jesus. So where are we at according to the parable? The seed has resurrected and grown, and so the great tree has come forth and the branches of the kingdom are being extended to every nation through the preaching of the gospel, and once this is fully accomplished, the end will come (Matt. 24:14). So what does this mean for our lives now?
The Walls must be Built – The Kingdom of God can be a confusing reality to bring to the ground level. However that is essentially what Christians have the privilege of doing now; bringing the Kingdom of God to the ground level. As the Lord taught us to pray, “Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as is in heaven” the rule and reign of Christ grows on the earth as it is in heaven. I had a friend recently tell me that the theme of the Kingdom of God seemed to him very evident in the gospels but he didn’t feel that it was communicated as a heavy theme of the gospels in many churches in America. He said that he believed the gospel is being preached in a lot of churches, but where’s the Kingdom fit into this? Many preachers proclaim the gospel of salvation where it is made known to all hearers that anyone who trusts in Christ is forgiven for their sin and given the righteous record of Christ and all this by faith alone in Christ alone. Now, that is beautiful and true, but there’s more. People may walk away from a message that is merely about forgiveness and perhaps feel as if the job is done, and the work has been accomplished. To their credit, in one sense it has been. The work of their justification is finished, but do they realize their work for the Kingdom has only just begun? The gospel message is not a message that merely saves a ship from sinking, it is a message that makes a ship sail. The whole gospel message saves a man by grace and gives him Kingdom work to accomplish. It’s a message of forgiveness by faith alone that brings a person into the Kingdom of God to labor with brothers and sisters in Christ in the purposes and plan of King Jesus to establish his Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven through manifesting Christ’s character and proclaiming his message.
The Kingdom will be Established – It’s amazing that Jesus doesn’t just built his Kingdom himself, he builds it through broken saints as well. He has commissioned the saints to work with him in establishing his rule and reign on this earth through manifesting His character in our everyday lives in the workplace, in the home, in our play, in our rest, and everywhere we go, and proclaiming the gospel to the people in our lives. The message of the Kingdom of God in the gospel is so important to communicate because it is the eternal reality that everything is moving towards.
Scripture teaches that the final destination for every Christian is a new heaven and a new earth. A new earth. The end design of Jesus’ Kingdom is not all of his people on earth going to heaven, it’s all of His people in heaven and earth reigning with him on the new earth. Christ taught us to pray, “May your kingdom come” not may your kingdom go. The end design for every believer is living in the Kingdom of God where King Jesus will be enthroned as the true and final King of kings and Lord of lords. He will reign forever and his dominion shall never end (Ps. 72:8). If you are a Christian struggling with purpose in life, know that the purposes of the Kingdom are the final destination of all that you know and see, and so because the King has by grace made you a part of his Kingdom, sail onward and manifest his character and message in your workplace and in your home and wherever you go faithfully, and know that there is grace for every failure and encouragement for every brick well placed.