For while we were yet weak, in due season Christ died for the ungodly. Rom. 5,6



Mark 4:26-32

   26 And He was saying, "The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; 27 and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows--how, he himself does not know. 28 "The soil produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head. 29 "But when the crop permits, he immediately puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come." Parable of the Mustard Seed 30 And He said, "How shall we picture the kingdom of God, or by what parable shall we present it? 31 "It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil, 32 yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms large branches; so that the birds of the air can nest under its shade.”

   “So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.” (Rom. 9:16).

   This is a passage that does not give any room for misunderstanding or interpretation – it speaks straight out so even a child can understand it. But how many believes that? And then you can ask: How many believe that of the believers? You will discover - and very soon too - that if you present it exactly as it says, it will meet opposition as every spirit filled meet, from the flesh. This just becomes incomprehensible. It has to depend on something in us and our will too! Not completely, oh no, not even a whole lot, but something – a little!

   And then the word of God answers very clearly: No! Completely nothing. “The soil produces crops by itself” (v.28), which means that the grain sprouts by itself in the soil, grows up and produces the shape God has laid down in it to have.

   Here is Jesus’ word applicable: “…and I will give you rest!” (Matthew 11:28). With this in mind you do not have to strive.

   Stay close to me! Remain in me! Remain in my love! Remain in my word! Remain in what you heard from the beginning! And the like, God’s word speaks about this. There is nothing more to strive about, any special “methods” which is needed to make it grow, but quite simply to remain in the liberating message you heard about to salvation – “Jesus counts in your place for the white throne.”

   Yes, how will anyone set up a “program” and “methods” for this? – Because there are a lot of people who actually do that. It may be that you also are trapped in something like this. Then you must listen to the word of Jesus here, and believe exactly what it says: “How, he himself does not know.” (v.27b). How could he then set up a program? No, he simply trusts the power God has laid down, in the soil and the seed.

   And the “good soil” here, is not the strong and backboned, ambulatory and persistent, but “him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.” (Is.66:2). Which means: Where God has been active and turned upside down on all of ours.

   Have you seen a field where everything is overgrown - yes totally overgrown, before the farmer sets the plow in the soil, and then how it looks like afterwards? Is there any difference to track? This is how it is in the human heart, where God’s word has done its work. Everything has been turned upside down. One has to say like Jesus shows us here: “How, he himself does not know.” (v.27b).

   Now the soil is ready to receive the good word, because now it is possible for it to sprout and grow. And one more thing which is worth noticing – it is only as long as the soil remains this way that this life (grain) can be there. If it grows again from our own ways it dies. Therefore we must remain like children to this mystery and therefore devoted to the Lord. Trust Him! Lay down your way in His hand! That is the Scriptures recommendation to us – and this only happens where we have failed in our own ways - and stays in that cognition! Our own is and remains a home of bankruptcy. It is like money which does not exist, and will never be prevailing in this context. It has been completely put aside and shut out - not any less now that you have become a Christian 1 year, 10 years or 50 years - than it was on the actual day of the fall!

   Cain and Judas escaped away from the Lord when this happened - it became too heavy for them to carry this – to carry their failure. They could not live in the light with this, and therefore escaped into the darkness.
   Today there is many who also escape into the darkness meeting this failure - into a spiritual darkness! Because one cannot manage to bowe down to this actual fact - this truth. It becomes too heavy! It is like dying!

   And then one escapes into a certain spirituality. The rescue is not in Jesus Christ and Him crucified, in this situation, but a certain spirituality where one actually think that one is passed this which they look at as a disgraceful and ignominious level. Jesus has only been the one - and is still the one - who has helped those to become something else than what they really are: - Completely lost, helpless sinners!

   What is the goal for both time and eternity for the believer - exactly the communion with Jesus, and to grow in that - in it and not away from it - they have put this behind them! It is only with them as a doctrine, but then as a stage covered - and certainly not the actual goal!

   But it is again just the flesh who has found a way to survive.

   There is at least one thing you must stop and think about: Is Jesus the goal or the means for you?
Peter on the contrary hoped for the Lords mercy in his failure, and found his way to vindication and salvation.

   There is so much offensiveness for the natural, fleshly, human being, when one speaks of God’s kingdom and how things are there. It does not follow our natural way of thinking, and not our customs. Just listen to what Jesus says about God’s kingdom here: “It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil.” (v.31).

   Who can have faith in anything like that? If you hold it in your hand, and never before have seen the results of it, how can you then believe that there will be a garden growth with the size of a tree of this? It’s not only small, but it is smaller than anything else! Anything that can give faith with what the eye can see is removed. One has to have faith in Him who is behind the seed – the invisible – who has laid his “program” down in it.
   You will not get anything else in Jesus’ speech in this passage today either – you quite simply have to believe that this is true, and surrender to it.

   This is how it was when you were created: The cell who became (was) you, had the “program” in itself from the beginning – you only needed the right growth conditions and the right nutrition. Our nutrition (manna) is “the bread of God which comes down out of heaven” (John 6:32-35) - Jesus Christ Himself, given to us to life and beatitude.

   Think about all the ism’s which has sprouted up and become big in this world – some of them has covered – and some of them still cover – most parts of the world. But what has followed in the wake of their own ways – also where Christianity has become an ism (it happens as soon as we “know how -”)? One does not even have to answer the question, because anyone knows the answer, but listen to what Jesus says about God’s kingdom here: “The birds of the air can nest under its shade.” (v.32). It becomes life! It becomes a place where one can live and stay.

   “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!" (Ps. 91:1-2).

   Here the seed has sprouted forth! God is not someone you go out and do great achievement for – we do not have the intellect for that – but one whom one takes his refuge to. And there is also just them He uses for great achievements now and then. He is the one who does it, when and how He wants, as we read in the word from Rom. 9:16.

   Let us end with a word from the Scripture which leads in the same direction: “He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD favors those who fear Him, Those who wait for His loving kindness.” (Ps.147:10-11).

   “How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.” (Matthew 23:37).


Holy Bible New American Standard Version
Translator: Benedicte Holtan Smart