“He [Jesus] also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.” (Mark 4:26-29)
The Kingdom of God comes and raises up without us knowing or doing anything. And when it is in its fullness, the “harvest” is brought in. You can correctly assume, beloved reader, that there is a different understanding for most every biblical scholar who has commented on this passage. I do not ascribe to any particular understanding of this passage. I do appreciate what Barnes says, that you cannot press the passage to give up specifics but accept that the Kingdom of God grows because of the Spirit and it grows to maturity. Whether we are the grain, or the message of God is the grain, or some other understanding/interpretation, the central piece is that God’s Kingdom grows where and when according to no discernible pattern to humanity.
“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.” (Verses 30-32)
This one is easier to discern; we can understand how something small is planted and, because of its nature, grows to something much bigger than its source would explain. I think often about how Christian faiths and beliefs (yes, beloved reader, there are many) spread across the globe, and that a story that came out of one small part of the world can be found in every place in the world. And that some many diverse people have come to “nest” in its branches.
It is true that through parables that we can best understand these concepts.
“With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.”(Verses 33-34)
The gospel of Mark has Jesus keeping many complex theologies concerning the Kingdom of God secret. We tend to forget (or maybe it is just me) these were once complex and secret understandings. Humanity’s understandings about the complexities of life and religion have grown since the time of the bible. What is clear and evident now was not always that way. Or maybe I assume to much, that humanity has an understanding of these things. I do not know. I write, and explain, to both teach and share what I have come to know.
May the Spirit who quickened the thinking and understanding of the disciples bless you with the secrets of the Kingdom of God. Selah!