When Jesus started His public ministry, He would go about preaching, teaching, and healing. Here is the record of Matthew 4:23 – “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.”
If you have noticed, the center of Jesus’ proclamation is about the Kingdom of God. This means that the good news of salvation is about the reign of God in our lives. Jesus re-emphasized the importance of the Kingdom of God when He continued to teach about it after His resurrection as we can read in Acts 1:3. Thus, it is necessary for us to learn the parables about the Kingdom of God.
In Mark 4:26-29, Jesus taught about the Parable of the Growing Seed. What can we learn from this teaching?
First, We must understand that the Kingdom of God is of God, and not of any person.
We can see in this story that Jesus emphasized that the man who planted the seed does not know how the seed sprouts and grows. All that he can do was to plant the seed and wait for the harvest.
This tells us that God has already put all the nutrients, elements, and compounds in the soil and in the air that are needed for the seed to grow. The composition of the soil and the air were not yet known scientifically during that time. Now, we know what are these. And we marvel at it. God is amazing that even if you know all of the science behind the growth of a seed, we cannot still replicate and say, “By tomorrow I will have a 5-year old mango tree or a fully grown and ready to be harvest rice stalk in a matter of days.” Yes, we may have sped up the process but the growth itself is a profound mystery. This points out that our world did not exist through an accident but because there is a wise Creator behind it, and that is God. We may invent a smartphone but as one author says, “Only God can make a tree.”
Now going back to the Parable, Jesus is telling us that the growth of the Kingdom of God is not in our hands. We cannot point to church buildings and say to ourselves “Look and see the kingdom of God.” No! We cannot do that. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that gives us the courage to spread the Gospel. It is God that nurtures the spiritual lives of people.
Second, We should continue to plant the seeds of the Gospel wherever and to whoever.
We need to be reminded of what Paul wrote when the early Christians were having an argument on who gets the credit. 1 Corinthians 3:6 to 9 says, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.”
In this time of the pandemic, let us continue to plant seeds and water it. We may not be able to publicly preach and share the Gospel face to face but we can do it through the Internet and many other ways. We may not be able to pray and lead Bible studies face to face but we can do so through new technologies.
Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on