It's like a mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the sky nested in its branches."Luke 13:19(HCSB)
Christ's messianic credentials were authenticated through the mighty signs and miracles He performed in Israel, causing the crowds to wonder if He was going to set up His Messianic Kingdom there and then and free them from the tyrannical rule of their Roman overlords. Although He had many critics who did their best to discredit His claim, their baseless accusations were silenced and the common people of Israel rejoiced because of the wonderful miracles Jesus did in their midst.
They had just witnessed the amazing healing of a poor woman with a terribly deformed body. For eighteen years, she had endured severe curvature of the spine and was resigned to live with her disability for the rest of her life. But the Lord is full of compassion and mercy, and laying His hand on her twisted frame, she immediately straightened her body.
With such amazing miracles taking place, the people expected the kingdom to be set up immediately, but first He must be rejected of men, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. First, He must be crucified among criminals to pay the price for the sin of the world. First, He must die on the Cross and rise again from the dead, to break the power of sin and death in the lives of all who believe.
And so, for those with eyes that could see, Jesus began to teach His kingdom parables, telling of things that must take place before the time appointed for Him to set up the kingdom of heaven on earth.
The first parable was of a tiny mustard seed which grew into an abnormally large tree. The tiniest of seedlings grew monstrously large, such that great birds of the air lodged in its branches and built their nests there. This was not normal growth that was expected and appears to imply that despite the small and humble beginnings of Christianity, it became popular and grew into the mighty religion of Christendom we know today.
The unprecedented growth of the Christian faith is often considered by preachers as a thing to be celebrated, but closer consideration causes questions to rise in our hearts, for 'the birds of the air' in many biblical passages are symbols of evil. They are birds of prey who kill and feed on the flesh and lifeblood of others.
It is as we reflect on the number of ways that Christendom has grown and morphed into the monstrous religion we see today, that we begin to understand that it has become the resting place of every kind of evil corruption and false teaching. This is not how the truth of the glorious gospel of grace should have developed, but in case we miss the truth that Christ is teaching here, He gives us a second parable. This time we see the all-pervasive spread of a little yeast throughout the entire batch of dough, confirming the horror of what the little Christian Church, which started at Pentecost, has become today.
It is not only into the corridors of governments that corruption has crept, but false teachers, doctrines of demons, and the controlling spirit of Jezebel has slipped into many pulpits and is being taught in most theological colleges, congregations, places of worship, and denominations. Purity of heart, love for one another, and doctrinal truth that stems from the Word of God alone, which was the hallmark of the early Christian Church, has deteriorated into Christian mud-slinging and hostility against brothers in Christ OR has resulted in a watering down of the gospel of grace to accommodate any slight variation from the truth of the glorious gospel of Christ.
Despite the mustard seed of early Christianity morphing into the worldwide tree of Compromises and Corruption, let us not be discouraged, for Jesus said, "I will build My Church and the gates of hell will not prevail." Let us pray for those that have been deceived by a false Christianity, that God in His grace would guide them into all truth.
Heavenly Father, it is quite shocking to realise how far from the truth of the gospel of grace much of Christendom has strayed. We have abandoned Your truth for lies and deception, and we have incorporated false teachings and doctrines of demons into the true articles of our faith. Lord, forgive me for the times when I have not stood firm on the truth of Your Word, but have compromised my faith to fit in with a worldly perspective. I do not deserve Your grace and mercy. Forgive my sins and foolish ways. Please protect those that have been ensnared by deceivers who have twisted truth for a lie. Please open their eyes to the truth. Restore us all as the whole Body of Christ, into a pure virgin Church without spot and wrinkle. In Jesus' name, AMEN.