Here is another way to think about God's kingdom. It's like a farmer scattering seed in a field and then forgetting about it for several weeks. But then, through a process the farmer doesn't fully understand, the seed sprouts and little plants emerge from the ground. In fact, beyond sowing the seed, the farmer hasn't done a thing. The earth itself produces the crop. First the stalk starts to poke its way out of the ground. Eventually the plant develops a head. Then, once the head is full of grain, it's harvest-time and the farmer cuts the grain from the head.He asked,
What might be a good way to picture God's kingdom? What story should I tell to explain it?
Think of it as a a tiny mustard seed. When it is dropped into the ground, it is barely visible because it is so small. But then it grows and becomes the largest tree in the garden. The branches are so significant that the wild birds of the sky fill them with nests.Jesus continued to share his message -- as much as they were capable of taking in. But he always taught the people using stories. Afterward, when he was alone with his apprentices, he would provide them with more in depth explanations.
THE COMMON ENGLISH BIBLE
26 Then Jesus said, “This is what God’s kingdom is like. It’s as though someone scatters seed on the ground, 27 then sleeps and wakes night and day. The seed sprouts and grows, but the farmer doesn’t know how. 28 The earth produces crops all by itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full head of grain. 29 Whenever the crop is ready, the farmer goes out to cut the grain because it’s harvesttime.”
30 He continued, “What’s a good image for God’s kingdom? What parable can I use to explain it? 31 Consider a mustard seed. When scattered on the ground, it’s the smallest of all the seeds on the earth; 32 but when it’s planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all vegetable plants. It produces such large branches that the birds in the sky are able to nest in its shade.”
33 With many such parables he continued to give them the word, as much as they were able to hear. 34 He spoke to them only in parables, then explained everything to his disciples when he was alone with them.