Growth of the Kingdom
It is possible to understand these parables in many ways; here are but two.
The growth of the church
There are two key characteristics of the mustard seed:
· It is small, but the plant grows to be the largest of herbs in the gardens of that time. So it is with the church. It began with those few men on Pentecost but soon exploded to change the entire known world. Why did God choose this method? So that you might know that it was not the power of those few which made this happen, but the hand of God.
· Mustard is also rather pungent. It is very visible. In short, you notice it. The ancients used it medicinally (remember mustard plasters?) - which may signify the role the church has in being the moral lighthouse of the world.
The leaven also has two characteristics:
· The New International says the woman "mixed" the leaven into the flour; the actual Greek means "hid." The church is hidden in the world—for we are in the world but not of the world. Christians are not identified by having three eyes.
· The leaven changes the dough into more leaven. So the church grows by changing those of the world into those of Christ.
The growth of the Christian
· Like the mustard seed, a Christian's faith usually begins in a small way, and grows slowly but surely.
· Eventually, if the Christian perseveres to the end, that faith will become the purpose of his entire life, permeating the whole man.
· Like the mustard plant, the Christian starts small but grows to be someone who will support others and shelter others.
· And like mustard, the character of the Christian is evident to all, either for admiration or as a reminder of their wickedness.
The leaven is inward growth; the mustard, outward. Is your inward spiritual life growing? Is prayer sweet and reading the Scripture profitable? Is your outward life growing? Do those around you know you as one who is ready to help?