Friday, May 10, 2024

Like a Mustard Seed

The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against his anointed one. (Psalm 2:2 NLT)

Our numbers have never been greater in the church today. So-called megachurches dot the landscape across the United States and around the world. It’s an amazing thing when we stop and consider the fact that our faith had such humble beginnings.

When Jesus Christ was born, who at the time would have thought this little baby would change the world—and world history—from that point forward? During Jesus’ earthly ministry, the Romans didn’t seem to pay a lot of attention to Him or His claims. They tolerated Judaism as long as the Jews conformed to Roman law.

In their minds, Jesus got into trouble with His own religious leaders. Pontius Pilate tried to keep his distance but ultimately got pulled into it. He symbolically washed his hands, essentially saying, “This is not on me. It’s on you.” Then he sent Christ to be crucified, thinking it was the end of the matter.

Then the message began circulating that Jesus had risen from the dead. The Romans tried to suppress it, but the Christians only became bolder. And ultimately, the Romans tried to completely wipe out Christianity.

Secular historians agree that from the wicked Caesar Nero to Diocletian, there were ten major attempts to wipe out Christianity. But they didn’t stop Christianity, because the church marches on. As Jesus said, “I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it” (Matthew 16:18 NLT).

And the good news is that God will be at work, bringing people into His kingdom, until His return to this earth. The bad news is that Satan also will be at work, seeking to undermine people’s faith.

Writing to Timothy about the last days, the apostle Paul said, “But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13 NLT). In the end times, there will be imposters—hypocrites in the truest use of the word. And God has told us to be aware of this.

One of the ways the devil seeks to undermine our faith is through infiltration. In what we call the parable of the mustard seed, Jesus said, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches” (Matthew 13:31-32 NLT).

Notice that Jesus said the kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed. What we need to know is that mustard seeds don’t grow into trees; they grow into bushes or shrubs. So, Jesus was saying this was unnatural growth. He was saying the kingdom of God is like something small that grows into something unusually big.

We’re not going to have a perfect, end-times utopia where everyone believes in Jesus. Nor will we have complete anarchy where no one believes in Jesus. Until the Lord’s return, we will see the good and the bad, the godly and the ungodly, together. But God ultimately will have the victory.

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