“What is the kingdom of God like?”
– Luke 13:18
Jesus had just exposed the heart and character of His adversaries and “put them to shame.” It was a religious tradition that caused the Lord to proclaim to the Scribes and Pharisees, “you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves nor do you allow those who are entering to go in” (Matthew 23:13). Traditions became obstructions and kept the stream of truth from entering into the heart of the people.
“The mystery of the kingdom of God,” as Ironside refers to it is, “the kingdom in mystery-form while the King Himself is absent in the heavens.” And, in His parable of the mustard seed, Jesus proclaims the time of “Christendom,” the duration between the two advents of Jesus Christ. It is during this time that Christianity would spread rapidly and overshadow paganism. Jesus drew upon nature to explain a spiritual truth.
A small mustard seed had quickly grown into a tree. When we carry this thought through to our modern-day, we see the truth in Jesus’ words. Eleven men carried a message that became the nucleus of a global transformation. It was, and is, the message of Christ dying on the Cross for the sins of the world and restoring human relationships with a heavenly God.
When Jesus described the beginning of the signs of the end times, He shared that there will be “wars and rumors of wars.” He said, “nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places” (Matthew 24:7). What was Jesus’ warning before this statement? He said, “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many” (Matthew 24:4-5). In expositional constancy, the birds that nested in the tree are likened to opposition to Christ. According to the Scriptures, evil will worsen as Jesus’ return gets closer.
Within the “tree” of Christianity, we find a resting place for false teachings and various forms of corruption. It is essential to go back to the beginning of the budding of that original seed, the pure simplicity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master (Matthew 10:24). In other words, the same things that happened to our Lord will happen to us on our way to our Jerusalem”
– Oswald Chambers