Posted by on 11 Dec 2013 in Theology | 0 comments

In the Gospel of Matthew we repeatedly hear Jesus introduce his parables with the phrase, the Kingdom of Heaven is like. And in each parable of the kingdom something big comes from something small. I get the feeling it’s something Jesus wants us to understand.

Photo Source: by Jeff Boriss

Photo Source: by Jeff Boriss

At one point in his ministry Jesus sends his disciples out on what we would call a “short term missions trip” with these instructions, to preach the Kingdom of Heaven (see Matthew 10 and Luke 10). So it’s no wonder that so many of his parables start out with the phrase, “The Kingdom of Heaven is Like…”

Jesus said, the kingdom of heaven is like a tiny mustard seed planted, or like a little yeast put into a lump of dough, or like a fishing net holding so many more fish than it should be able to hold. In Matthew 13 we see Jesus give five, six, seven quick little parables to his disciples, the kingdom of heaven is like… And in each parable of the kingdom something big comes from something small.

Time and time again, as a thread running through his parables, Jesus keep hitting home to his disciples about the Kingdom. And Jesus instructed them that as they took the message of the kingdom with them, they were supposed to say and do the things they saw Jesus doing.

Because Jesus was the embodiment of the kingdom of heaven on earth.

Sometimes we think of heaven as this mystical place where God dwells, or the place where our departed loved ones will spend eternity. We think of it as fluffy clouds, and angels playing harps, a place of perfection, or a city with streets of gold. It’s somewhere where Jesus is hanging out until he comes again to take us all away from this earth.

But Jesus talked more about heaven on earth than he ever did about heaven in the hereafter. I think that’s something we fail to grasp sometimes. I think Jesus was trying to get his disciples to understand that as they walked around they were the kingdom in this world. They were bringing the kingdom with them, showing what it was all about, and affecting those with whom they came into contact.

And as we see from the parables of Jesus, the kingdom always starts out smaller than it ends.

The mustard seed, the smallest of seeds, turns into one of the largest herb. Birds come and find rest and nourishment in its branches…

The leaven that gets put into the dough grows and expands and causes the bread to increase in size. It affects all the dough and makes the bread rise to feed many people…

The fishing net that’s cast into the sea gets so full of every kind of fish that they can’t even bring it into the boat. They have to pull it to the shore to sort out the fish…

Out of an average field a great treasure is found that’s worth so much more than the field itself…

For those who are disciples, both then and today, the kingdom of heaven is like… us bringing Jesus with us wherever we go. No matter how insignificant we feel or how many mountains we may move, we each represent the kingdom in our own way with our own unique lives.