To you, O my Strength, I will sing praises; for God is my Defense, my God of mercy. (Psalm 59:17)
I am the Vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in Him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
Jesus tells two parables about the Kingdom, and then responds to two people who approach Him afterwards. The two parables, the mustard seed and leaven (yeast), are Jesus’ way of illustrating that, while His Kingdom had small and humble beginnings, it soon grows to encompass the whole world! As Jesus is going through the different cities preaching and teaching, someone asks Him if only a few will be saved from the final judgment, and He explains that the entrance to His Kingdom is narrow, and it’s difficult to live out. There will be many who thought they had entered in, but in fact did not. Then, some Pharisees warn Jesus to flee, because Herod was trying to kill Him. Jesus shrugs it off, and segways into how He must die in Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets.
What prompted that person to ask Jesus if only a few will be saved as He was going through the cities and villages? Why did Jesus compare His Kingdom to small, insignificant things that later gain significance? And why does Jesus seemingly walk towards His own death? Why didn’t any of this seem to bother Him? Jesus is showing His disciples that living under His rule, being a part of His ministry, isn’t easy! It can often seem insignificant and glamor-less, like the mustard seed and yeast, and relatively few people truly become Spirit-filled disciples because the road is hard, and the way is narrow that leads to life.
But Jesus, as usual, is our example in all of this; He models for us what it looks like to rely on the power of God in the face of hardship, and remain faithful to His ministry because of the hope He has in the Kingdom’s ultimate victory! He says that even though things seem small and insignificant now, like the mustard seed and yeast, His Kingdom is the one that will rule forever. Not only does He hear about death threats from Herod, but He knows His own death in Jerusalem is approaching. But rather than being intimidated and discouraged, Jesus continues to preach, teach, and perform miracles, on His merry way to Jerusalem, His death site.
So, what is the Lord calling out in me today? As I’ve been thinking about my calling in Christ, listening to others who’ve done it before me, and my past experiences in ministry, I began to get scared and intimidated because I wasn’t sure if I was cut out for the challenges and hardships that would come. I don’t need to be intimidated by all those things, however, because Jesus Christ is not just my Savior, He’s my Source of strength and power; when I come into His presence and allow Him to fill me through His Word and in prayer/worship, I leave well-equipped to live the supernatural life He’s called me to live! Jesus is reminding me that, like Paul, His grace is sufficient for me, and His power is made perfect in weakness! (2 Cor. 12:9)
- The life Jesus has called us to live, the people that He’s commanding us to be, is impossible. It’s supernatural by nature, and we can’t do it in our own strength. Fortunately for us, we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength, and supplies us with the power and authority to oppose Satan and his schemes, overcome temptation, remain steady when daunting situations arise, etc. Lean on Yeshua, and abide in Him by letting His Word dwell in you; come to Him in prayer, and trust that His grace is sufficient, His power transforms, and His love never fails!
Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases. He sent them tot preach the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. (Luke 9:1-2)