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That Bird’s Different

June 27, 2012

I’m not a farmer.  Beyond that, I’m not even really a gardener. Like…I don’t have a garden in any sense of the word.  Now, we have some plants around our house…but the main thing we asked before we bought them was, “Will these things live if we pretty much leave them alone.”  And I say all of that just so that I can be clear that I’m no expert when it comes to planting.  I haven’t studied the field.  I haven’t done a whole lot of research on different types of seeds and climate zones.  I basically go to the local nursery and buy what they recommend.

Take a moment and read through Mark 4:30-34…the parable of the mustard seed.

Jesus has established a methodology of teaching through parables.  That’s not to say that he doesn’t employ various methods in his ministry, but parables are a key element.  In fact, verse 34 says, “He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.”  And if you’re looking at the whole of Mark 4, this is the third parable relating to, sowing and planting, the context of the agrarian society of first century Palestine.  The focus of this parable, as well as the parable before it, is “the Kingdom of God.”

Here, Jesus says, “It is like a grain of mustard seed, which when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth.”  But this very small seed, representative of the Kingdom of God, grows to become “larger than all the garden plants and puts our large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”  If you remember back to the parable of the sower, found at the beginning of chapter 4, there were some birds involved there too.  Those birds came and “devoured” the seed that fell along the path.  And now, in this parable, we see the birds making their nests in the branches of the tree.  What happened?  Something has changed.  And listen, it’s an unlikely coincidence that Jesus just happened to mention these animals twice in the context of this gathering with his disciples.  Jesus is far too intentional for that.

One of the great truths of the Gospel is that everything is being made new.  The Apostle Paul is a great example of a bird of the air, that sought to devour the Kingdom of God, yet, became a bird that made his nest in its branches.  It was a fundamental change.  Once an aggressive, ferocious antagonist of truth…he became an aggressive, ferocious evangelist of the truth.  He is an embodiment of the reality of this parable.

So, what about us?  What many of us fail to realize is that we…I am including myself in the “we”…were birds of the air.  And I know you’re generally a pleasant person.  I know you are loved, and respected, and thought highly of.  But you, even you, were an enemy of God.  You stood in opposition to righteousness…just like me.  But once you have been redeemed, once you have been born again in Christ, once your nest has been made in the branches of the Kingdom of God…you are now a mustard seed.  According to 2 Corinthians 5: 17, you are a “new creation.”  And as a new creation, verse 20 says, “We are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.”  And listen…our cry is simple, “Be reconciled to God.”  Why?  Because “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  The Kingdom of God is setting right what has been broken…redeeming what has been lost.  All we’re called to do is tell others the truth of God…to be agents of reconciliation in the world…and invite them to build their nests in the branches of the Kingdom…to the glory of God alone.  And the promise of God, is that the tree will grow…even when we know very little of how it works.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 27, 2012 5:23 pm

    Adam, it’s pretty cool to see what you write up after letting your meditations on God’s word simmer over Sundays. Thank you for be being a beacon and a prophet on the web.

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