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“Don’t judge a book by its cover”.
Jesus tells this parable to explain that God’s kingdom wasn’t coming in a way people might have expected. The kingdom is like a mustard seed; it starts small but blossoms into something much bigger. Jesus also says the kingdom is like leaven, that is the stuff that makes bread rise. Just a little bit of yeast makes a whole loaf rise. Often the kingdom manifests itself in small and seemingly insignificant ways yet its influence is powerful.
For instance, Jesus’ life has had incredible influence on our world.
The way that things happened was peculiar though. He came into the world, announced this kingdom, gathered a small bunch of followers and ended up on a cross executed as a political upstart. Doesn’t sound like the arrival of a king does it?
Like the cross, this parable challenges our judgments about smallness and insignificance. God is growing his kingdom in this world and he seeks for us to be part of this. In the seemingly small and insignificant of our day-to-day lives God will meet us, transform us and use us to see his kingdom come on earth as in heaven.
Lord Jesus, tell us again the story of your kingdom, and draw us to follow you, to find the treasure, to help in the work of making that kingdom grow.
(Prayer from Tom Wright, Lent For Everyone: Matthew, Year A. London: SPCK, 2011, 50.)