Preaching

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‘The Gardner’

Mark 4:30 – 33

Jesus said, “What shall we say the Kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it?

It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground.

Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can live within it.”

With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand.

Jesus never says what the Kingdom of God is; He always says the Kingdom of God is like.
In this parable He says it is like a small mustard seed that grows into a large tree.

Other places Jesus says the Kingdom of God is like a lamp or like wheat or the Kingdom of God is like something inside you. 19 times Jesus describes what the Kingdom of God is like.

19 is the symbolic number of faith and Jesus said if you had the faith the size of a mustard seed you could move a mountain.

To me, that adds up to faith being an aspect or an element of the Kingdom of God.
So the parable of tonight’s reading features faith.

Jesus told parables that always contained a spiritual truth.
And this story is about a gardener planting a small seed that would grow into a great tree.

This morning I ate an apple and inside the apple were 8 seeds. So I know how many seeds there were in my Apple.

Question, how many apples are there in one of those seeds?
Obviously only God can answer that question, only He knows how many apples there are in a single seed.

Another question, not an impossible one this time, but a hard one.
Who is the first gardener mentioned in the bible? (Genesis 2:8 The LORD God planted a garden).

What did God plant in His garden? (Ezekiel 31:8 Trees of beauty).

Adam is made in Gods image and he becomes a gardener who looks after God’s garden.

So here in the parable, this spiritual story, we have a gardener planting a seed that would grow into a great tree that would grow large enough that birds could live in its branches.

God works and a good works.
When God initiates something good fruit is guaranteed. He sees the end from the beginning.

Jesus’ parable says that the gardener takes a single mustard seed and plants it in the ground and once planted it grows into the largest of all garden plants with the largest branches.

Just like God knows the number of apples in an apple seed, God also knows
the outcome of every faith seed He plants in the fertile ground of our spirits.

In Jesus’ parable what do the birds living in the huge mustard tree represent?
In scripture people of faith are likened to eagles and swallows and sparrows.
So the birds living the tree represent people of faith living in faith in the faith tree

Maybe we now have enough evidence to cast some light on a spiritual meaning of the parable

The Kingdom of God is a seed that contains spiritual life and everything needed for that life to grow.

God the master gardener plants the seed of faith, the mustard seed, in the fertile ground of our spirits, the faith seed contains everything necessary to grow and mature.

By its very nature the matured tree cannot help but grow to its full potential and
produce more seed. It’s what all great trees do.

The tree by its very nature contained life and gave life; the tree also supported life and supported all the birds that relied on it for a safe home and source of food

The birds making this tree their home is like us making the Kingdom of God our home.

Surely the mustard seed of the story is Jesus, who contains the Kingdom of God
overflowing with life and faith. Surely we can live and rest in safety and in peace in Jesus.

When Mary Magdalene first saw the risen Jesus she thought he was a gardener; in a way she was right. Jesus is the image of God so by virtue Jesus is a gardener.

And if we have the faith from Him the size of a mustard seed He can plant us in fertile ground as he has given us all we need for growth and maturity.

Isaiah 61:3 says that people of faith are called ‘trees of righteousness, a planting of the LORD.’

We are to be rooted firmly in Him and be able to produce an abundance of faith seeds full of life, a harvest fit for a King.

Jesus planted a faith seed called Liberty that will grow into a faith tree.

A tree where you can find spiritual life, a tree where you can experience spiritual rest, a tree in which to live in peace, a faith tree producing faith seeds.

A tree of life, a tree of Liberty, tended by the Master Gardener Jesus.