The next verses in Mark chapter 4 give us another picture of the kingdom of God (in fact, Jesus uses the word “picture” to describe this parable). “Jesus said, “How shall we picture the kingdom of God, or by what parable shall we present it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil, yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms large branches; so that the birds of the air can nest under its shade” (Mark 4:30-32).
This secret kingdom will be an incredibly expanding kingdom. It will start small, small like a mustard seed. It will grow large, covering the earth just as a mustard plant covers the garden. This is exactly what 2000 years of church history has shown.
The kingdom began small and unimpressive. At the time of Jesus’ ascension, His return to the Father, His followers appear to be a band of about 120 people. But this mustard seed kingdom – still seemingly beneath the soil as Christ’s followers awaited what was next – exploded to life on the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2. From 3000 people added to their number on that day to 5000 added in Acts chapter 4 to today, the message has gone forth in incredible ways.
Not only has the message gone forth, but the ramifications of that message have had a major impact for good in this world. The building of schools, hospitals, homes, water wells, and more have led the fight for well-being against the prince of this world. The kingdom of God covers the earth with a footprint for good that cannot be denied. The mustard seed kingdom has grown to provide shade for the downtrodden, oppressed, and hurting.
But the prince of this world is not giving up without a fight. And what does this battle look like in light of the expanding kingdom of God? We will look at another parable to guide us next time.