今天讓我們來看一個耶穌較短的比喻。耶穌有些叫人驚訝的真理是祂很想讓世人知道的。例如究竟上帝是誰，上帝是什麼樣的，上帝的國度又是什麼樣的。耶穌想要改變世人的思維方式。因此祂用了世人可以理解的「比喻」來表達，因為比喻跟人的日常生活息息相關。比喻利用了普通人和日常生活的平凡處境來教導一些難以理解的事物。馬太福音 13:31-32 所見的芥菜種比喻就是個例子。在這段經文中，耶穌分享了這種最小的種子如何能夠開花結成巨大的果實。想想看……耶穌在地球上只是逗留過一小段時間而已，然而果效卻是極驚人的。你從前見過芥菜種子嗎？它體積是非常的微小，幾乎是看不見的。依據芥菜種子所屬的種類，一顆小小的芥菜種子是可以長到一株六至二十英尺的大樹。對你來說，這可能看起來沒什麼大不了，但如果你細想:一個開始只是微不足道的小東西竟能以變成龐然巨物……這實在是非比尋常的。耶穌告訴祂的聽眾們，世界的路根本就不是上帝的路。耶穌分享這個比喻的時候，祂即將開始祂在地上的事工。雖然事工數量不多，卻對全人類都造成影響。而影響是如斯之浩大，以至於在整個歷史裡每個人都會知曉。耶穌領導了一群漁夫改變世界。今天我們仍然感受到這些事帶來的影響。
耶穌死而復活以後，一小撮門徒留了下來去傳揚神國的真理。 他們就像那顆小小的種子。他們在浩瀚的世界中只是一個小不點，卻如芥菜種一樣，充滿了隱藏的力量，有聖靈在他們裡面。隨著門徒四處遊歷和教導之下，越來越多的人信了主。 一個遍滿全球的國度不斷地發展。就像一棵芥菜延生更多種子用以播種培植一樣，門徒也培養了更多的門徒。門徒的門徒再培養更多的門徒。 就如芥菜長得又高又大一樣，神的國延伸到世界的每個角落裡去。上帝的國度今天仍在繼續增長。
by Deaconess Michelle Tam
Today we take a look at one of Jesus’ shorter parables. Jesus had amazing truth that He wanted people to know; to know who God was, what God was like and what it was like in His kingdom. He wanted to change the way people thought. So, He spoke in “parables” people could understand because they were relatable to their everyday lives. Parables used common, everyday people and situations to teach things that are difficult to understand. The parable of the mustard seed is found in Matthew 13:31-32. In this passage, Jesus is sharing how this smallest of seeds can blossom into something big. Think about it…Jesus spent a small amount of time on earth but the results were tremendous. Have you seen a mustard seed before? It is so tiny, it’s barely even visible. The small mustard seed can grow to be a large tree between 6 to 20 feet, depending on the variety of mustard seed. That might not seem like a big deal to you but if you consider that something lesser than in the beginning can result in something greater than…it is extraordinary. Jesus is telling His listeners that the way of the world is not God’s way at all. At the time Jesus shared this parable He was about to start His earthly ministry. Although it was small in numbers, it would have an impact on all of mankind. The effects would be so huge that throughout history everyone would come to know it. Jesus took a group of fishermen and changed the world. We are still feeling the effects of it today.
After Jesus’ death and resurrection, a handful of disciples were left to spread the truth of God’s kingdom. They were like that tiny seed. They were a little speck in the huge world but just like the mustard seed, they were full of hidden power. They had the Holy Spirit in them. As the disciples traveled and taught, more and more people believed. The worldwide kingdom grew and grew. Just like the mustard plant produces more seeds for planting, the disciples made more disciples. The disciples’ disciples made disciples. Just like the mustard plant grows tall and wide, the kingdom of God spread to every corner of the world. God’s kingdom continues to grow today.
The parable of the mustard seed also describes how God’s kingdom grows in the life of each believer. When you put your trust in Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of you. This is similar to the mustard seed being planted in the ground. No can sees it from the outside but it is definitely there. Initially the believer may not even feel different, but the Holy Spirit is powerful. It will transform a person just like the seed has the power to grow into a huge plant. The full grown plant produces good things. It makes branches that are good for the birds to rest on and it makes mustard seeds good for making more plants. Likewise, the Holy Spirit produces good fruits in each believer. Those fruits are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. But that’s not all! The Holy Spirit also brings forgiveness, healing, righteousness, glory, grace, compassion, knowledge and truth.
There may be times when you feel insignificant or small. Sometimes you may feel like there is not much you can do, but that couldn’t be further from the truth! God can use you to accomplish great things for His kingdom and only He knows your full potential. In this parable, He was trying to show how something so small could grow significantly large. God can take the smallest thing and make it huge. He can use you to grow the kingdom if you allow Him to work through your life. Like the plant, growth may be slow. You may not see changes overnight but in time if you persist and persevere, you will see amazing changes. In time, your beliefs, attitudes and actions will no longer be ruled by your own thoughts and feelings but rather by the Holy Spirit.