As His journey to the cross begins, Jesus speaks of the Kingdom of God in parables. My favorite is the parable of the mustard seed. Jesus says, "With what can we compare the Kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade." (Mark 4:30-32)
As Jesus told this parable the kingdoms of the world were around Him-- relics of ancient empires which in their day Ezekiel had compared to the grand mountain cedar, with a 'shadowing shroud' and 'lofty' stature. Yet now these empires all lay 'fallen' and 'broken' and 'left,' as Ezekiel had foretold, while over them towered one huge world empire more enormous than any of its forerunners-- the Roman Empire.
Jesus speaks. Tiny beside the mighty bulk of overshadowing Rome. He is like a mustard seed, this carpenter's Son and the handful of followers He has with Him. The little spiritual Kingdom of Jesus grows up out of His own grave to develop the mightiest force of which history has to tell. How fast it thrust out its branches into every land and sent its roots along every waterway. How the community of followers of Jesus Christ are today a population like that of the greatest of all shrubs, the mustard.
Rev. Patricia E. Walker, AlphaChurch.org