Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed” (Matthew 13:31, ESV).
The mustard seed is a teeny-tiny little thing, smaller than a match-head. But when that little guy germinates and grows to maturity, it becomes a large bush.
Likewise, the origins of the church were quite humble, starting with just twelve, it grew to 120 by the time of Jesus’ ascension (Acts 1:15). Soon after, their numbers grew by 3000 (Acts 2:41), and then to over 5000 (Acts 4:4). Now, two-millennia later, it has grown to be enormous.
In the Parable of the Mustard Seed, Jesus promised that from its humble beginnings, it would become large enough for “the birds of the air to come and make nests in its branches” (Matthew 13:32, ESV).
Birds? Hum? These birds are vultures... predators... scavengers! Nasty!
In the parable just a couple of paragraphs up the page, birds ate the farmer’s seeds before they could sprout. Jesus explained that the birds represent “the evil one” (Matthew 13:4, 19, ESV). Figuratively speaking, birds are the devil!
So when Jesus says that the mustard seed grows big enough for birds to roost, is that a complement? Hardly! He may be warning that the umbrella of Christendom will one day cover such Christ-denying systems as Unitarianism, Mormonism, and Jehovah's Witnesses. Bigger isn’t necessarily better!
Following the Parable of the Mustard Seed, Jesus taught the Parable of the Leaven. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened” (Matthew 13:33, ESV).
Is leaven a good thing? Nope! It’s sure not!
Remember when Israel was preparing to leave Egypt... they celebrated the precursor to the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Leaven was bad. It represented sin, and all leaven had to be purged from their homes.
Elsewhere, in the New Testament, Jesus warned against leaven, that is, the evil teaching and influence of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 16:6; Mark 8:15). If these false doctrines are allowed to infiltrate the Kingdom of Heaven, their evil influences will negatively impact and weaken the church!
In these parables the Lord warns against the permeating power of evil working in the Kingdom of Heaven. The Parable of the Mustard Seed demonstrates the external evidence of evil; the parable of the Leaven shows its inward corruption.
This is an important message for today! Don’t believe the lies! Just because you read it on some preacher’s website doesn’t make it true! The Bible is the final authority and we must test every message against the perfect plumb-line of Holy Scriptures!
Little seed... big plant!
Little lie... big problem!