The following is an excerpt from the 2016 Berean Series book, “What Real Christianity Looks Like” written by the faculty and staff of HCU. The book is part of a free video resource for churches and is scheduled to be completed by late spring 2016. The study will discuss how Jesus’ parables challenge today’s churches to hear these familiar stories again and live out he principles they teach.
Written by Dr. Jeremy Barrier
Mark 4:30-32 reads as follows: “He also said, ‘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.”
Some things are simply too difficult to put in to words. I remember several years back, when my wife, Robin, and I were expecting our first child. We were overflowing with anticipation and excitement about the prospects of parenthood. Amazingly enough, my brother Joey and his wife Anna shared the same due date for the anticipated birth of their daughter! I remember the day vividly. Robin and I arrived at the hospital to visit Joey and Anna who “beat us to the punch,” as their daughter was born a few days before our son. I was anxious to know what I was soon to experience, so I asked my brother, “Joey, what is it like? How does it feel?” He was speechless for a moment. Finally, he lifted his lowered eyes to look at me face to face. He said quietly with moistened eyes, “I just don’t know how God could do it. I don’t know how he could have sent his Son…” The feeling for the occasion was simply too great to even put into words. Not just the feeling of being a parent, but the discovery he was making in the love of God simultaneously. Wow!
I’m amazed when I pick up Mark’s Gospel and find Jesus saying to his disciples, “What shall we compare the kingdom of God…What shall I liken it?” Here we find Jesus, the messenger and son of God and He is struggling to put in to words how He would describe the kingdom of God. How does one speak of the heavens, the reign of God, or the sovereignty of a benevolent and loving Father? How does one express the deep emotion of something so magnificent, that words can’t express it?
At a certain point, while I realize that the specifics, the details, and a full disclosure of the housing accommodations have not been provided, I am given a deep sense of just what it will be like to be with God! At least, at the emotional level, the level beyond words, Jesus’ message is coming through loud and clear to me. The kingdom of God surpasses all human expectations!