In Matthew, Jesus gives us a one sentence parable concerning the Kingdom of God.
“The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.”
During our Merge Summit, as we talked about working on our city’s wall, the subject of the Kingdom of God was in the forefront of the conversation. I have been doing this for a while and I understand that even with the subject of the Kingdom there are varied opinions on what that looks like. As I read the parables in Matthew, it seemed to me that the Kingdom is presented as simple and even small, yet it impacts everything it comes in contact with. The small amount of yeast that is used compared to all the other ingredients to make bread and yet without the yeast…it falls flat. It makes the bread rise and take the shape we assume bread should look like. He talks about a mustard seed, being the smallest of all seeds, and yet a great plant grows from that small seed. So, while some might see the Kingdom as being triumphant and influential, I tend to see it as subtle and almost insignificant in the eyes of those around it. (I hope others with different views will add to the conversation)
When I hear Jesus speak that the “Kingdom of God is here”, what I do see is darkness pushed back. People are healed because the Kingdom of God is breaking in…demons flee at the simple command to go. The outcast and the rejected are welcomed in, ahead of the highly religious. Lepers are not only healed but they felt the touch of another human hand even before they are made whole. The Kingdom of God was radically different from any Kingdom man could build. An interesting aspect of how Jesus ministered was as the crowds got bigger He would either leave and move on to another place or He would blister the crowd with a message that was difficult for them to swallow…and He would watch them walk away. I am not sure any of us understand His methods…only that He came to proclaim the Kingdom of God and demonstrated its presence with signs and wonders.
I am glad for those who love the large and the loud. I support those who declare we should rule
and reign here on earth…now. But I also look for a Kingdom movement in the subtle…a leader
organizing men to read to kindergarten students in TPS. Another leader who has been given
charge of a school by outside sources to bring wholeness and help to the children of that
school…and Jesus is welcomed. I watch a leader work hard to begin a program to help families
work their way towards home ownership…one house at a time. Walking with the family,
discipling them in spiritual things and also essential things like finances and family. A leader sets up a business with the vision to influence culture from within the culture. Even as many have attacked them and called for them to leave, they have dug in to love those who do not love them. To influence. To me, those things sound so much like the Kingdom Jesus describes in the above parable.
I love the big…bicycles given away, parties thrown for the crowd, and much more. Loud and
impressive. All of it can be seen as the Kingdom…and also the child hearing a grown man, a
business man reading a story to them. A school where there will always be someone there to
walk alongside them through the good and the hard. One family with a dream of owning a
home…and someone coming alongside them, not giving them a hand out…given them a hand
up. You gotta like that…a lot.