It all looked so good. It started out with such promise – this kingdom. The angelic announcement to Zacharias that Elizabeth would have a son, even though she was well beyond child-bearing years. The son would be John the Baptist, the voice calling from the wilderness to announce the coming of the King of kings, the Messiah. There was the angelic announcement to Mary, a virgin, that she would deliver the Savior of the world, the King of the Jews, and the one who would rule and deliver His people. And of course, the angelic announcement to the shepherds of His arrival in a manger in Bethlehem.
John the Baptist declares in John 1:29, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” And Jesus’ ministry was launched. Tens of thousands of people gathered to hear Him. And He preached of the Kingdom of God. Luke 4:43, “But He said, ‘I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God…'” Miracles happened. People were healed. Demons were cast out.
Then, He became a threat to the leaders of Israel. Slowly, things began to fall apart, or so it seemed. The Kingdom, which He spoke of, was not external but internal. I mean, where was the gold, the silver, the trumpets, the conquering armies? Where was the final escape from persecution for the Jews? Who was this man who called Himself God?
And as they walked, watching in horror, this Messiah carried all their hopes, dreams, and plans alongside Him to hang and die on the Cross. The Kingdom of God was not as they thought. Was it all a hoax? What was He talking about? What Kingdom?
Luke 13:18-19, “Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? 19 It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.”
He was saying to the disciples, “This is only the beginning. This is just the start.” Some 2000 years later, we understand what He meant. We see the fruit of those who spread His word. But what about the kingdom?
Pick up any newspaper, anywhere in the world, and its easy to see, the world is in trouble. Maybe more so than its ever been. It is easy to become despondent, to lose heart, to wonder if there is a God, to question if it is all a hoax. Some of us are on that path, the same path walked by the initial followers of Christ. Some of us are watching our hopes, dreams, and plans destroyed. Fear of the unknown causes some of us to wonder like they did, walking behind the cross, what kingdom?
Initially small and insignificant, the seed grows into something totally unexpected. Sometimes our perceptions cause us to see things out of proportion; but Jesus shows us, like the man who planted the mustard seed in his garden, that the Kingdom of God is very much growing. Now, more than ever, we need to become disciples of Christ. We need to spread the word of God’s love and the significance of the resurrection and not allow the situations around us to alter our persistence.
So, what are you growing in your garden?