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We post a Forward Day by Day Meditation for every day of the year - and we invite you to consider them and talk about them here. If you'd like to comment, you can log in to Disqus with your Facebook, Twitter, or Google account; just click "Login," or the appropriate logo below. Or, you can sign up for a Disqus account; just use the entry form below, or click the "D" logo to start the process. You can find the past week's Meditations in the box at right (or below, for mobile users), or search for previous entries on the Archives page. You can also listen to the Forward Day by Day podcast anywhere you find podcasts!
Mark 4:31 [The kingdom of God] is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth.
Jesus’ audience would have been familiar with the promise in Ezekiel 17:22-24, that a branch from a cedar tree would be planted on the mountain height of Israel: this grand and noble tree would bear fruit, and its branches provide shade and shelter for every kind of bird.
This is what the people expect Jesus to talk about. But instead, he uses the image of the mustard seed, which grows into a big, ugly bush, and is more comparable to a weed than a strong and beautiful tree. Moreover, the word Jesus uses for “birds” is not the word for majestic creatures of the air, but “fowl,” the lowly and undesirable birds.
Why is God’s kingdom likened to a pervasive weed? Perhaps it grows like the mustard seed, tenaciously overtaking its surroundings, providing refuge for the unwanted, the misfits, and the outcasts.
MOVING FORWARD: Do you imagine the kingdom of God as a grand noble tree or the mustard bush? Think about how God often delivers the unexpected.