Jesus put before them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a man planted in his field.
I. THE VISIBLE GROWTH OF THE KINGDOM ITSELF.
1. It appears in a small beginning. Christ gathered about him a little group of fishermen; there was the kingdom, but as yet a minute seed. How many of the best movements spring from small beginnings - the river from the brook, the man from the child, the city from the hamlet, the empire from the city! History forbids us to despise the day of small things. It is better to begin obscurely and grow, than to commence with a flourish of trumpets, raising expectations which we may not be able to fulfil.
2. It contains a centre of life. The pebble will not grow. Multitudes of small ventures are destined to remain small or to fade away altogether. It is only the vital seed that grows. There is a life-principle in Christianity. Christ himself is in it.
3. It has a great development. The mustard seed becomes a tree. The little group of disciples becomes a world wide Church. Christ has large aims, and he accomplishes them. He has not yet seen the full growth of the seed he sowed. Christianity is still spreading - spreading in heathen lands as in no previous age; it has in it vitality enough to fill the whole world.
4. Its growth is beneficial to the world. The kingdom of heaven is not a deadly Upas tree; it does not destroy all other Jives in fostering its own life. The mustard tree furnishes night shelter for the birds; the kingdom of heaven is a great refuge for helpless, benighted souls.
II. THE INVISIBLE INFLUENCE OF THE KINGDOM. It works like leaven in a mass of meal.
1. It spreads through the world. The gospel has a marvellous penetrating influence. Early Christianity extended itself without any organized method of propagation, reaching all classes of society and touching remotest regions. There is a happy infection in Christian truth. A saintly example is healthily contagious.
2. It influences the world. The whole mass of meal is leavened. Christ gives us a leaven of society, not merely a new life to be in society and to spread itself, growing and multiplying, but a transforming and uplifting influence. Left to itself the world is dead. The gospel comes as a ferment, breaking up the old lethargy and rousing fresh activity. It affects every part of life, and whatever it affects it assimilates to itself. We are not to think of the kingdom of heaven standing aloof from the world, which is to be let lie in its own deadness. It is sent into the world that it may benefit the world. Plunged into the midst of society, it works for the benefit of society. Commerce, science, literature, art, politics, social order, and domestic life are all sought out by the Christian spirit, and as they come under its influence they are purified and quickened. Seeing that the influences of the gospel are destined to be so widespread and manifold, it becomes us not to cramp them by any narrowness of our own, but rather to further them with courageous hopefulness. - W.F.A.
The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed,I. The kingdom of heaven IN THE WORLD is like a mustard seed sown in the ground, both in the smallness of its beginning and the greatness of its increase. The first promise given at the gate of Eden contained the gospel as a seed contains the tree. Never to human eye did the seed seem smaller than at the coming of Christ; the infant in a manger.
II. The kingdom of heaven Is A HUMAN HEART is like a mustard seed, both in the smallness of its beginning and the greatness of its increase. In the design of God moral qualities hold the first place, physical magnitude is subordinate and instrumental. Origin imperceptible, result great, small on earth, it will be great in heaven. From the diminutive life of grace, the life of glory will grow. The kingdom of darkness also grows gradually from small to great; the first sin a small seed.
(W. Arnot.)I. We are taught by nature that small beginnings are, under God, productive of great ends.
II. We are taught it in the kingdom of providence.
III. We are taught it in the kingdom of grace. In the change produced upon the human heart. In the progress of the gospel (Psalm 72:16).
I. ITS PRESENT APPARENT INSIGNIFICANCE.
II. ITS VITALITY.
III. ITS FUTURE GRANDEUR. It might seem less likely to prevail and to become a universal benefit, than some other contemporary systems or influences. Christ, as a Jew. belonged to the exclusive people. He was rejected by His own people. The few who were attached to Him misunderstood His teaching. After the resurrection His kingdom became slightly more visible. But our Lord was confident even under adverse conditions; His truth was of the nature of a seed. What is the vital element in Christianity but the wisdom and beauty of His teaching. .Not the holiness of His life, or the love He showed, but the revelation of God in Him which draws men to Him; in His death our Lord points to the eventual greatness of His kingdom. It has indeed become a tree. To all disheartened in work; we must not measure work by size but by vitality. Have we joined the Church because it is large or because it is living.
(M. Dods, D. D.)
LinksMatthew 13:31 NIV
Matthew 13:31 NLT
Matthew 13:31 ESV
Matthew 13:31 NASB
Matthew 13:31 KJV
Matthew 13:31 Bible Apps
Matthew 13:31 Parallel
Matthew 13:31 Biblia Paralela
Matthew 13:31 Chinese Bible
Matthew 13:31 French Bible
Matthew 13:31 German Bible
Matthew 13:31 Commentaries