Mark 4:26-34 - Seeds

I've just finished watching JCVD, a film where Jean-Claude Van Damme plays himself, delivers a moving 6-minute monologue to the camera (breaking 'the fourth wall') and presents a strange and confusing (for me) mix of fact and fiction.  It was another story where I enjoyed the ride but was left thinking, "What???"

Jesus tells a couple of stories about seeds to teach us about God's kingdom family and it's not immediately obvious what he means by them...

Mark 4:26-34

No wonder Jesus' hearers were only just about following it (v33) and he had to explain further to the disciples later on (v34).  What's the meaning of these two stories? 

The growing seed (v26-29) 
We know it's about 'the kingdom of God' because Jesus says so.  And there's three key parts to the story: sowing, growing and reaping.  Jesus is saying that God has 'sown' the world and the people in it and he's let it 'grow' but there will come a time where he 'reaps'.  In other words, God's kingdom is not of this world.  This world is not it.  God has something even bigger and better planned and the time will come for this world to end.

This means two things for those listening to Jesus (then and now):
  1. We shouldn't live as if this is all there is.
  2. We need to keep listening to Jesus about what more there is!
The mustard seed (v30-32)
This time Jesus describes God's kingdom family specifically as a mustard seed and the main point is about scale and size.  A mustard seeds starts tiny but ends up massive and a big enough home for many birds (v31-32).  So presumably, the same is true of God's family.  It starts small but grows to be HUGE and big enough to be a safe home for multitudes of people.

This means two more things for those listening (again then and now):
  1. God's plans and kingdom family are way bigger than we can comprehend and we shouldn't think that we have understood everything yet.  God wants to show us more!
  2. God wants us to know him and be part of it!  Why else would Jesus be sharing this and trying to help people understand?  This is good news!
Jesus tells these two brief stories to whet people's appetite for what he's come to show them.  It's not the whole story but he's not finished yet.  He's still setting the scene and getting our attention. 

Some questions to consider...
  • Has Jesus got your attention?  
  • How much are you getting to know him?  
  • Are you happy enough to settle for this world?
  • What if Jesus is right about there being a 'harvest'?
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