The key to Understanding the Parable of the Mustard Tree

Then Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like? How can I illustrate it? It is like a tiny mustard seed that a man planted in a garden; it grows and becomes a tree, and the birds make nests in its branches.” (Luke 13:18-19 NLT)

The key that we will use to unlock understanding of this parable is:

The Bible is One Book

This means we must ask this question:

Is there something which was recorded in another part of the Bible that can help us understand this parable?

When we examine the Book of Daniel we see a similar parable. This parable was revealed through a dream God gave to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Here is the first part of the dream:

“‘While I was lying in my bed, this is what I dreamed. I saw a large tree in the middle of the earth. The tree grew very tall and strong, reaching high into the heavens for all the world to see. It had fresh green leaves, and it was loaded with fruit for all to eat. Wild animals lived in its shade, and birds nested in its branches. All the world was fed from this tree. (Daniel 4:10-12 NLT)

Here is Daniel’s interpretation:

That tree, Your Majesty, is you. For you have grown strong and great; your greatness reaches up to heaven, and your rule to the ends of the earth. (Daniel 4:22 NLT)

Nebuchadnezzar saw birds nesting in the branches of that tree. Daniel said that meant that Nebuchadnezzar’s rule reached “to the ends of the earth”. In other words, Nebuchadnezzar’s power and authority had spread so far throughout the entire world that everyone in the world had to live under his power and authority.

Jesus referred to birds making nests in the branches of the mustard tree. When we use Daniel’s interpretation to interpret Jesus’ parable we discover that:

The Kingdom of God will become so great and spread so far that it will rule the entire earth and every living person will have to live under its authority.

This interpretation is confirmed by several scriptures:

For the Scriptures say, “‘As surely as I live,’ says the LORD, every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will confess and give praise to God.'” (Romans 14:11 NLT)

By Myself I have sworn; truth has gone out from My mouth, a word that will not be revoked: Every knee will bow before Me, every tongue will confess allegiance. (Isaiah 45:23 NLT)

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices shouting in heaven: “The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15 NLT)

The Kingdom of Babylon had become so powerful that all nations and tongues had to bow down to King Nebuchadnezzar and serve him. Jesus teaches that the Kingdom of God will become so great that all nations and tongues will have to bow down and serve God. When we view the Bible as One Book we start to see connections between the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Prayer Point:

Ask the Holy Spirit to give you eyes to see the connections between the Old Testament and the New Testament.

 

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Day 25: God Always Remembers His Promises

Can you remember any of the conversations you had with others two days ago? I can vaguely remember the conversations but I certainly cannot remember every word I said. The Bible is filled with many conversations between God and human beings. Within those conversations we will discover that God made promises. Those promises were not fulfilled immediately. Sometimes it took months before those promises were fulfilled. Sometimes it took several years before those promises were fulfilled. Sometimes it took several centuries before those promises were fulfilled.

In life many promises are unfulfilled because of the amount of time that has expired. However, in the Kingdom of God, promises do not expire with time. God always remembers the promises He has made to His children and to His creation. God promised to save Noah and his family along with all kinds of animals from the flood. The flood covered the earth for several days while Noah, his family and the animals were in the Ark:

But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and livestock with him in the boat. He sent a wind to blow across the earth, and the floodwaters began to recede. (Genesis 8:1 NLT)

God promised Abraham that He would deliver his descendants from bondage. The children of Israel were in bondage in Egypt for more than 400 years. They were suffering and experiencing severe hardships. They forgot about the God of their fathers. However, when they cried for help, God heard them:

God heard their groaning, and he remembered his covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act. (Exodus 2:24-25 NLT)

God promised the children of Israel that He would send a Messiah (Saviour) to deliver them and be their King forever. Several centuries passed since those promises were made. The Romans were in control. Spiritual darkness covered the land. The people of Israel were in bondage to sickness, diseases and demonic activity. God remembered His promise and sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to deliver them:

Jesus traveled throughout the region of Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness… and people soon began bringing to him all who were sick. And whatever their sickness or disease, or if they were demon possessed or epileptic or paralyzed—he healed them all. (Matthew 4:23-24 NLT)

Sometimes it is easy to forget the promises that we have made to others. We are human beings and many things fade from our memory as time goes by. Nevertheless, be encouraged by this fact:

God always remembers His promises 

Remember that Christ came as a servant to the Jews to show that God is true to the promises he made to their ancestors. (Romans 15:8 NLT)

Day 18: You Have Legal Rights!

Every human being has legal rights! I am not referring to those legal rights given to us by the laws of the country in which we reside. I am referring to those legal rights given to us by our Creator, the King of Heaven. Everything that God does is legal. In other words, no human being or spiritual being can successfully challenge the legality of God’s actions on the earth. When God decided to save the world from sin He used the legal process of Redemption. Redemption may be defined as:

The action of regaining or gaining possession of something in exchange for payment, or clearing a debt. (English Oxford Living Dictionaries)

The Apostle Peter says:

For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. (1 Peter 1:18-19 NLT)

Adam left mankind with a great debt that we could not clear. However, it was not the will of God to leave us with this debt hanging over our heads. It was God’s will to pay that debt in full. There was only one price that was acceptable in the eyes of God:

The Blood of a sinless Man

That sinless Man was Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Through the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross every human being obtained the legal right to be set free from sin. Through His death, Jesus has given every human being the opportunity to abandon sin and live righteously in the eyes of God. All who take this opportunity are legally declared to be forgiven of their sins. The Bible records:

For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins. (Colossians 1:13-14 NLT)

Every believer in Jesus Christ has exercised their God-given legal right to be forgiven of their sins. However, every believer in Jesus Christ has also received other legal rights . These legal rights must be embraced and exercised to overcome Satan, the enemy of our souls and every obstacle and difficulty in life. The Prophet Zechariah gave us a glimpse into what redemption looks like:

Then the angel showed me Jeshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD. The Accuser, Satan, was there at the angel’s right hand, making accusations against Jeshua. And the LORD said to Satan, “I, the LORD, reject your accusations, Satan. Yes, the LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you. This man is like a burning stick that has been snatched from the fire.”

Jeshua’s clothing was filthy as he stood there before the angel. So the angel said to the others standing there, “Take off his filthy clothes.” And turning to Jeshua he said, “See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes.” (Zechariah 3:1-4 NLT)

God has snatched us from the fire of sin. Our clothes were filthy but through Jesus Christ, God took away those filthy clothes and gave us new clothes to wear. This is redemption!

You were redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ. Your redemption was paid for in full by Jesus Christ. You are legally free from sin and no human being or spiritual being can successfully challenge your redemption which is in Christ Jesus.

Day 13: God wants You to Eat Like a King (Part 1)

Do you know that God wants you to eat like a King? This is the description that the Bible gave concerning the food that was available for King Solomon on a daily basis:

The daily food requirements for Solomon’s palace were 150 bushels of choice flour and 300 bushels of meal; also 10 oxen from the fattening pens, 20 pasture-fed cattle, 100 sheep or goats, as well as deer, gazelles, roe deer, and choice poultry. (1 Kings 4:22-23 NLT)

There was no shortage of food in King Solomon’s palace. I believe there are persons in the 21st century who would scoff at the lavish lifestyle that Solomon lived. Therefore, I think it is best to put Solomon’s lifestyle in context. Firstly, Solomon was the King of Israel. He was the highest authority in Israel. Everyone looked to him for guidance and to do justice whenever persons had disputes with each other. In every Kingdom the position of King was highly esteemed and the King or Queen enjoyed certain privileges. One of those privileges was having more than enough to eat. As the King of Israel, Solomon enjoyed that privilege also.

Secondly, Solomon was blessed abundantly by God. One night God told Solomon:

“What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!” (1 Kings 3:5 NLT)

Solomon asked God to give Him wisdom. God said He would give it to him. However, God gave Solomon something else:

…I will also give you what you did not ask for—riches and fame! No other king in all the world will be compared to you for the rest of your life! (1 Kings 3:13 NLT)

God gave Solomon riches and fame. Some of the Kings and Queens of the earth already had riches and fame but God gave Solomon much more riches and much more fame than all the other Kings and Queens. This is the context in which we should judge Solomon’s lifestyle. But the question is asked:

How is Solomon’s diet relevant to me living an overcoming life as a Christian?

The measure of Solomon’s diet was not only in the abundance of food he had but the quality of the food he had. The Bible records that Solomon had “…choice flour…pasture-fed calves…choice poultry…” The word “choice” meant that the food which Solomon ate was the best. God blessed Solomon with the best food. Solomon truly ate like a King.

However, there is something about Solomon’s life that is even more exciting for us as Christians. God gave us the opportunity to eat the best food:

Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35 NLT)

Solomon was indeed a very rich King. However, the food that Solomon ate was never of such a high quality that Solomon did not have to eat again for the rest of his life. Solomon had to eat of that food every day until He died. Our Father in Heaven has given us something better:

THE BREAD OF LIFE

There is no food which is greater than the bread of life. The bread of life is of the highest quality. It is of an eternal quality. Those who eat of it will never hunger again. This is the lavish lifestyle of the Christian. Believing in Jesus Christ is a lifestyle of abundance. It is an overcoming lifestyle. Jesus said:

…My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. (John 10:10b)

Certainly, there is no doubt that God wants you to eat like a King.

 

By Corey H.D. Beckles

Day 12: Follow God’s Kingdom Diet

A healthy lifestyle is one of the most important things that we can have as a human being. Without strong, healthy and energetic physical bodies, we cannot function effectively on this earth. Therefore, as human beings we need to follow a healthy lifestyle. One of the ways in which we can begin to follow a healthy lifestyle is by changing our diet (what we eat). There are many different programs developed by wise, educated men and women on this earth which can help us begin on our journey to health and wellness. However, do you know that the Kingdom of God has a dietary program for its citizens? I am not talking about physical food though. I am talking about spiritual food. Jesus Christ said:

People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4 NLT)

Many people are familiar with the circumstances in which Jesus said these words. Jesus had not eaten for forty days and forty nights and He was hungry. Then Satan tempted Jesus by telling Him:

“If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” (Matthew 4:3 NLT)

I believe Jesus was able to turn those stones into bread. However, Jesus was full and satisfied with another kind of food:

Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.” (John 4:34 NLT)

Jesus followed the diet of the Kingdom of God. He followed this diet wholeheartedly while He was on the earth. He followed this diet even though He was given the opportunity to follow the diet of the world. The diet of the world is disobedience to the will of God. Adam and Eve followed this diet when they ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. We inherited the desire to follow that diet from Adam and Eve. However, through Jesus Christ we can break free from the diet of the world and follow God’s Kingdom diet. Jesus overcame Satan’s temptation to disobey the will of God and turn those stones into bread. Through Jesus we can overcome temptations also. All we need to do is to decide that we will do what Jesus did:

FOLLOW GOD’S KINGDOM DIET

By Corey H.D. Beckles

Day 11: Remember the Kingdom of God

The Kingdom of God is one of my favourite topics. Throughout the Bible, there are references to many different Kingdoms and the Kings and Queens that ruled over them. Some of these Kingdoms were very powerful. They had powerful armies and they were very wealthy. Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome and even Israel were powerful Kingdoms at one point in time. All of these Kingdoms were ruled by some human being and when one of those human beings died another human being replaced them.

However, the Bible records that there is another Kingdom in existence. This Kingdom is similar to and still unlike any other Kingdom on the earth. This Kingdom has a King Who sits on a throne like the other kingdoms. This Kingdom has laws like the other kingdoms. However, this Kingdom is not ruled by a human being who can die. This Kingdom is not ruled by a human being who can become weak and powerless. This Kingdom is not ruled by a human being who has to be replaced by another at some point in time. This Kingdom is not ruled by a human being who can lose his/her wealth and riches. This Kingdom is not ruled by a human being who can be defeated in battle by another King. This Kingdom is ruled by a spiritual being Who is eternal in existence, eternal in power, eternal in glory and eternal in victory. This Kingdom I am referring to is:

THE KINGDOM OF GOD

God is a King and He has a Kingdom. God’s Kingdom is Heaven. Therefore, the Kingdom of God is also called the Kingdom of Heaven:

This is what the LORD says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool… (Isaiah 66:1 NLT)

God is a victorious King. He always wins. There are many Kings on the earth which were defeated by other Kings. However, there is no power in Heaven, on the earth or under the earth that can overcome God and His Kingdom:

Who is the King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty; the LORD, invincible in battle. (Psalm 24:8 NLT)

Satan could not overcome God and His Kingdom:

Then there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels. And the dragon lost the battle, and he and his angels were forced out of heaven. This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world—was thrown down to the earth with all his angels. (Revelation 12:7-9 NLT)

Human beings could not overcome God and His Kingdom:

As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. (2 Chronicles 20:22 NIV)

Death could not overcome God and His Kingdom:

But God released [Jesus] from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip. (Acts 2:24 NLT)

The Kingdom of God is always victorious. The Kingdom of God overcomes every evil and every obstacle. All believers in Jesus Christ are citizens of this overcoming Kingdom. When we are feeling overwhelmed we must remember that we are citizens of a great and powerful Kingdom. When we feel defeated we must remember that we have a King Who is always victorious.

REMEMBER THE KINGDOM OF GOD

By Corey H.D. Beckles