Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches.”
The Jews had been awaiting a Messiah for hundreds of years – one who would overthrow the Romans and establish a kingdom. Then comes Jesus, and he preaches that the kingdom of God is an attitude of the heart – repentance, changing one’s mind, turning from the darkness of sin to God.
Here, he explains the growth of the kingdom of God. It is not a military takeover or a sudden overthrow of the establishment. It starts small, and grows into something large and wonderful. How prophetic these words are, as Christianity began with twelve, and now only God can count the number, both here, and those gone before us.