06162021 – Mark4.26-34

 

How would YOU describe the Kingdom of God?

 

The first comment I have to make, is with regard to the change – from “Kingdom of God” to “Kingdom of Heaven.”

 

Mark talks about the “Kingdom of God.”  Matthew never does. And never would. God’s name is too holy.

 

You just do not throw around God’s name. To do so, is to break the commandment…to break the law of Moses. To have you stand in direct opposition to the TORAH. You do not do that stuff. You do not go there. You just don’t!

 

Matthew would never say it, never attempt to pronounce it…never utter it, Matthew, was a good Jew!

 

Mark on the other hand, says, “Let’s talk about the Kingdom of God. He spits it right out. He says it. He is not ashamed.

 

THAT is significant!

 

Mark is a little bolder. A little more brazen. Mark calls it the way he sees it.

As you well know, Mark does not have time to mess around. He gets right down to the point. He does not hem or haw.

 

So, in the Gospel of Mark, without problem, without anxieties…no worries about semantics or playing with words…

Jesus says, “TO WHAT should I compare the Kingdom of God to?”

 

Good question.

 

With WHAT would YOU compare the Kingdom of God?

 

Now the Kingdom of God is NOT “the church…”

 

It is far BIGGER than that.

 

It is about God’s total and complete REIGN both in heaven and on earth…

Among all kinds of different peoples…in all kinds of differing and far-reaching places.

 

There is ONE God. And one-on-going-eternal-forever reign. One Kingdom.

Again, one of the things I am usually mindful of…is that Jesus’ words were SHOCKING…

 

Those listening to him, did not know “what to say” or “how initially to respond.”

 

Always, unexpected, astonishing, jaw-dropping and startling…often times confrontational. His words took his listeners by surprise.

 

THAT “element of surprise” unfortunately is lost ON US…

 

NO ONE else would EVER dare TO MAKE such a comparison – The Kingdom of God, was, well, the Kingdom of God…

 

You do not make comparisons about it. It IS what it IS. It is HOLY. It is SPECIAL. It is set-apart. It is the REALM OF GOD. And yet, Jesus DOES and DID.

 

If you HAD TO describe the SIGHT of the OCEAN, to someone who had never seen it before, where would you even BEGIN?

 

If you had to describe the MAJESTIC MOUNTAINS to someone who has never left the flatlands of Illinois, how would you start?

 

How would you begin to convey the magnificence of Van Gogh’s STARRY NIGHT to someone who has never set foot in an ART museum? Or any painting —to a person who might be blind?

 

If you were to attempt to describe SNOW to a little boy in Jamaica… (where Kinga is presently NOW laying on the beach) how would YOU do that?

 

WHERE would you begin?

 

Do you SEE how BOLD Jesus WAS?

And especially with THAT topic matter?

 

One would expect him to go bigger than big. Bigger than life. Grandiose. Lavish. Opulent. Affluent. Abundant. Plenteous. Luxurious. Beyond our wildest thoughts and dreams.

 

Instead, get ready for it…

 

He uses “a simple seed.”  Something “so earthy and taken for granted.

He uses a metaphor that’s so incredibly pedestrian: the kingdom of God is like a seed that is sown and grows up for harvest.

It has purpose. To grow. To bring forth life. To reproduce. To bring forth other seeds.

The Kingdom of God is like the mustard seed, which while it is SO small, can grow up into a grand shrub. That’s it, just a shrub! But a shrub big enough to encase the birds of the air…and give them nesting grounds…

It’s mysterious. It shatters expectations.

It may look like it packs “a small punch,” but then, it surprises everyone. Looks are and can be deceiving.

I love how down-to-earth Jesus is here.

Using an “agricultural metaphor,” he talked about something…everyone could relate to…a seed. He was not intent on dazzling people.

He was earthy. And gritty. He made people think. He expanded their horizons…  The Kingdom brings forth life…and ALWAYS WILL.

Like a seed. Like a little tiny seed.

Amen.