That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. Matthew 13:1-2 ESV
Matthew 13 contains many of Jesus’ parables, along with His purpose in using them. Jesus explains what these stories actually meant to His close followers, people who had devoted themselves to Him and His teachings. In this part of His ministry, Jesus often spoke to very large crowds, who were often confused about Jesus’ true purpose on earth and were simply looking for an earthly king to fix their problems, not an eternal one to fix their hearts. The parables in this chapter focus mainly on the kingdom of heaven, which contrasts with the desire of many for an earthly king.
He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.” Matthew 13:31-33 ESV
In these parables, Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to two very small things, a mustard seed and leaven. Both are hidden in an immense amount of another substance, only to grow massively and change the space around them. These parables show the transformative power of the Gospel and how God can use even the smallest and weakest person to spread His kingdom to everyone around. Jesus uses these images to show how the kingdom of God and the Gospel can be delivered in ways no one would ever expect, but with an incredible amount of potency and ability to change lives.
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. Matthew 13:44-46 ESV
In these two parables, Jesus discusses the value of the kingdom of heaven. Jesus makes it clear throughout His ministry that the kingdom of heaven is worth every sacrifice that must be made for it. These words are especially important for me, as the world loudly proclaims and pushes things that try to satisfy the need for Christ and the kingdom. Making sacrifices is hard, but Jesus points to the value of the treasure and how everything that is sacrificed far pales in comparison.. If I focus on the kingdom of God and set my mind on His ways, it can help me understand how discomfort and hurt now will all be made worth it when I enter God’s kingdom. The kingdom of heaven is truly worth giving up anything and everything on this earth, because all that is on earth will pass away, but the God’s kingdom stands for eternity and will never pale or fade.
Dear God, thank You for providing me a way to access Your kingdom. Please help me be like the mustard seed and the leaven, spreading Your kingdom throughout all the areas of my life. Please help me to truly value Your kingdom and to pursue it as my top priority. Thank You for Your grace and love. In Your Holy Name, Amen.