Markby Robert M. Solomon
Jesus introduced the next two parables by saying ″This is what the kingdom of God is like″ (vv. 26, 30). They are designed to deepen our understanding of the nature of the kingdom and how it works. The kingdom is the realm where Jesus is king-in our hearts, in the church, in society.
Taking its cue from the parable of the sower, we are again presented with the scene of a man sowing seed (v. 26). The miracle is that the seed grows into a plant and bears fruit. It grows all day and night, even when the sower sleeps (v. 27). How this happens cannot be explained other than that the divine power connected to God's Word is at work. God's Word will accomplish His purposes, and sowing it is not a wasted activity (Isaiah 55:10-11). The phrase ″all by itself″ (v. 28) indicates the inherent power of God's Word and kingdom. When we obey God by sharing His Word with others, God's power is invisibly and secretly at work to demonstrate that it is God who truly causes the growth (1 Corinthians 3:6-7). The glory belongs to God alone.
The second parable (vv. 30-32) also paints a vivid picture of how God's power works in His kingdom. The farmer's smallest seed, the mustard seed, grows into the largest of garden plants (vv. 31-32). It has branches big enough for birds to perch on and provides helpful shade (v. 32). Again, we are led to understand the mystery and divine power connected with God's Word and how it works in His kingdom, especially in our hearts. We are reminded of the historical spread of the gospel across the globe; today Christianity is the largest religion in the world. The preaching of God's Word often resulted in the transformation of societies, nations, and civilizations. The Word has not lost any of its power today. We should continue to read it, mediate on it, obey it, and spread it by preaching, teaching, and sharing.
Jesus spoke in parables (vv. 33-34). Why do you think He did this? Why did He have to explain His parables to His disciples in private? Has your understanding of the parables of Jesus grown deeper over time?
If God is the one who gives growth, what does that say about our attitude when we share God's Word or help disciple someone. Why is prayer so important in this process?