2 May 2013

Mark 4:30-32

“He also said, ‘With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it?’” (v. 30)


Here is another parable about the kingdom of God; it links with Jesus' wide use of farming or agricultural narratives to explain and teach people in a public setting. Usually these parables taught in this way would be explained to the disciples separately. This particular narrative does not have the explanation in the Bible leaving today's readers to assume it is similar to that of other farming analogies explaining the kingdom of God (eg Mark 4:26-28).

This is a comparison - this parable says simply how we can compare the kingdom of God. When we compare the mustard seed as the kingdom of God in today's culture we often imagine a mustard seed sprouting like the cress heads grown in school, rather than the vast tree which can rise to over 20 feet. Who could know that what appears to be an insignificant, feeble and small seedling, holds the promise and potential that is world changing. That small tiny seed contains life.

However, it is not known when seeds are planted which will grow, or when, or even how. How true is this of the seeds planted for the kingdom of God, by God and God's own people. Does the gardener become impatient or disheartened when the seeds do not appear before their very eyes the next day, or is it with patience, understanding and continued nurture that allows the plants to grow strong even if unseen or unnoticed?

Is this a call for the people of God to follow in God's footsteps and nurture and have patience in the work of the kingdom? Like many of the parable about the growth of the kingdom it goes against humans desire to see things happen quickly, teaching patience and love is not just about the short term, but the long game.

To Ponder

  • How have people sown seeds of God's kingdom into your life?
  • In what ways are you continuing to nurture these seeds?
  • Are there parts of your life where you need to ask God for patience? What are they? Use this opportunity to ask for God's help.

Bible notes author

Bx Belshaw

Bx Belshaw is currently serving as a families and youth worker for St John's Methodist Church Conwy. This is her first role having completed her degree in theology at Cliff College last year.