Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Jan 20 2013 - Matthew 13:24-46 – The growth of the kingdom

These verses contain a number of Jesus' parables about the growth of the kingdom. The kingdom is likened to a mustard seed; the seed is small but grows into a large plant that might even be described as a tree – a tree to which birds flock to find rest. The work of God begun in the Lord Jesus may seem small and insignificant beside the might of the Roman Empire, but his kingdom will grow and increase remarkably – it has done so. And his kingdom is still growing and shall continue to do so until the earth is filled with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the sea.

The kingdom is also likened to yeast which a woman mixed into a large measure of flour. The yeast permeated the mix and caused all of the resultant dough to rise. Jesus is speaking of the way in which his followers will have an effect upon the world in which they live. Through them, the power of the kingdom will quietly touch and transform lives. More than that, it will affect the very shape and structure of society; it will transform culture. Yeast, salt, light, these are pictures Jesus used for the way in which his followers would influence and transform the world in which they live. Again, think of the way in which the Gospel has shaped the society in which we live – hospitals, schools, freedom from slavery, democracy… It has shaped our society and will continue to do so.

But there are other forces at work in God's world. The parable of the wheat and the weeds reminds us that Satan will not give up his kingdom easily. He is a spoiler who is also is at work in the world, sowing evil seeds that threaten the harvest of the kingdom – seeds of hatred, discord, jealousy, greed, selfishness and even self-destructive cravings. He is a destroyer; lives are blighted by him and social relationships are corrupted and perverted. But Jesus assures us that the satanic seeds will not overwhelm the kingdom of God. In the end they will be pulled up and destroyed so that the good harvest of the kingdom may be gathered in.

In the meantime, we live in a war zone. A battle is going on for the hearts and minds of men and women and for the future of the world. This is the real clash of civilizations – the clash between the kingdom of this world and the kingdom of God and of his Christ. How are we engaged in kingdom warfare? Who is having the greater affect upon whom? This war is not dramatic. It is not accompanied with the blowing of trumpets or the sound of explosions. It is often as quiet and as hidden as the working of yeast through a measure of dough. But it is real and it is vital. How is my life affecting the lives of others around me? How am I engaged in propagating and cultivating the kingdom of God?

King Jesus, I have found in you the pearl of great price and I would like to spend my time in happy contemplation of my find. But the work of the kingdom is not over yet. Awaken me to your call to war. Help me first to deal with everything in my own life that is the work of the Enemy and is opposed to you. Help me to root it out and not allow it to grow and flourish. Help me then to work for the spread and triumph of your kingdom, not with violent assault upon others who do not follow you, but with the quiet influence of your grace and power. So may your kingdom come.

Peter Misselbrook