Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | August 21, 2018

“by what parable shall we present it? It is like a mustard seed”

Today’s devotion comes from Mark 4:30-33.

“And He 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.”

With many such parables He was speaking the word to them, so far as they were able to hear it;  and He did not speak to them without a parable;  but He was explaining everything privately to His own disciples.”  Mark 4:30-33.


The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed.  But, a parable is also like a mustard seed.

The parables seem small and insignificant like a mustard seed compared to the heavy and massive theological trees of doctrine such as are in Paul’s letters to the churches.

But, the parables are as much a part of God’s Word as Paul’s letters to the churches.

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;  so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”  2 Timothy 3:16-17.

And, there is something special that the parables teach us by their seemingly simple and insignificant nature.

Simple parables remind us that the kingdom of God does not belong to the wisest or strongest, but rather the kingdom of God belongs to such as children, so to speak, those chosen by God.

Other doctrine rely on man’s wisdom to understand and man’s will to choose God.  If other doctrine were true, then the wisest and strongest (who would best understand the heavy and massive theological trees of doctrine and who would best choose God, all out of their own wisdom and their own will) would be the saved.

But, Reformed Doctrine relies on God’s wisdom and God’s choice.  And, the seemingly simple and insignificant nature of parables remind us of this truth that the kingdom of God is based on God’s wisdom and God’s choice.

“But Jesus called for them, saying, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”  Luke 18:16-17.

“At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.  Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight.  All things have been handed over to Me by My Father;  and no one knows the Son except the Father;  nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.”  Matthew 11:25-27.

“His disciples began questioning Him as to what this parable meant.  And He said, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, so that SEEING THEY MAY NOT SEE, AND HEARING THEY MAY NOT UNDERSTAND.”  Luke 8:9-10.

“For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.  For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom;  but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.  Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;  but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.  But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”  1 Corinthians 1:21-31.


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