Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to?” - Luke 13:18
Jesus’ vision and the people’s vision were not the same. The people imagined the kingdom of God was more like their ancient kingdom of Israel under King David and his son Solomon. Or maybe even like the Roman Empire, which spread rapidly through its vast military might and also built great cities.
But Jesus focused his listeners on the tiny mustard seed, saying that this was what the kingdom of God was like. This probably shattered the dreams of instant success that so many of the people wanted.
Mustard?!—it was such a small, slow-growing seed! No doubt the people were scratching their heads as Jesus’ parable underwhelmed them.
Jesus was not trying to make a name for himself or to be a conquering king by the world’s standards. He taught that although God’s kingdom might seem to have insignificant beginnings, it grew with the subtle, hidden power of grace and love and would eventually spread throughout the earth.
Growth in grace may be a slow process, but the result is everlasting life with God in his kingdom, which is even greater than the cosmos. Kingdom grace involves a lifelong walk with the Master, who is always paying attention to your life and nudging you to pay attention to his life at work in you.