Tuesday after the Twentieth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: St. Luke 13:18-35 (NKJV)
13:18 Then He said, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? 19 It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and put in his garden; and it grew and became a large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches.”
20 And again He said, “To what shall I liken the kingdom of God? 21 It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”
22 And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23 Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?”
And He said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’
26 “then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’
27 “But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’
28 “There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out. 29 They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God. 30 And indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last.”
31 On that very day some Pharisees came, saying to Him, “Get out and depart from here, for Herod wants to kill You.”
32 And He said to them, “Go, tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.’ 33 Nevertheless I must journey today, tomorrow, and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem.
34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing! 35 See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!'”
Today’s reading begins with two parables about the Kingdom of God. In both of them we are given a vivid picture of how God’s kingdom comes, and what it does when it arrives. At first, it appears small and insignificant. But when it does its work, it reveals a size and power far beyond what could have been imagined. Whether the beginning is described as a mustard seed or a small amount of yeast, we are hardly impressed by the appearance.
Man’s reason is equally unimpressed by the measly application of plain water and the short sentence which accompanies it: “I baptize you in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” But from a few drops of water and the application of God’s name a child or adult is rescued from the depths of sin and raised to life eternal. From a small piece of bread and tiny sip of wine that same new life is strengthened and preserved unto life everlasting.
“Then He said, ‘What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and put in his garden; and it grew and became a large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches.'” Never sell God’’s promises short, however plain and simple they may seem! God says what He means, and He means what He says.
We pray: “He that believes and is baptized shall see the Lord’s salvation; baptized into the death of Christ, he is a new creation. Through Christ’s redemption he shall stand among the glorious heavenly band of every tribe and nation.” (TLH 301:1)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.