He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”
And again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? It is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.”
He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, I do not know where you come from.’ Then you will begin to say, We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”
Comment: This passage starts with a couple of pithy statements. A mustard seed is a very tiny seed, small enough to be easily missed, but grows into a big tree which can be easily seen. Thus the Church pictured here as the Kingdom of God has grown into a large organization in which many birds, other groups, to change the metaphor, like the weeds in a garden, become accepted with a veneer of respectability, which they do not deserve. They are not part of the tree. On the other hand leaven works silently, unseen, but is at work changing flour into bread. So in reality the true church is spreading through out the whole world. Unseen, but life changing, wherever it is allowed to work.
There is a difference between ‘seeking’ or just looking and ‘striving’ into which real effort is put. You have to look hard to find the narrow door and having entered the way it is hard. Well it is not too hard to see the narrow door but it is not painted in the brightest colours and it is easy to say ‘that can’t be it’. Some say becoming a Christian is easy all you have to do is believe, but it is hard for the agreement which real belief signs you into. It includes obedience to Jesus – handing over the rulership of your life from yourself to His revealed will. Belief here is not theoretical academic knowledge but life changing heart commitment. There are lots of blessings of the narrow gate and way, but it is not all ‘beer and skittles’!
Prayer: Help me to read the fine print of your way and not to be caught by surprise when unexpected events occur.