An Organic Kingdom (Day Five)

Today’s reading is from Matthew 13 through Matthew 15. Thank you for joining me in this journey!

You’ll find, here, through Matthew 13, the kingdom parables of Jesus. Each of these, in varying degrees, describes the kingdom of heaven in differing terms.

According to this listing, the kingdom of heaven is referred to, by Jesus, as these:

  • As a message the compels people to various responses.
  • As a man who sowed good seed.
  • As a mustard seed, which grew into a large tree.
  • As yeast, mixed into a large amount of flour.
  • As a treasure, hidden in a field.
  • As a merchant, looking for pearls.
  • As a net, catching all kinds of fish.

All of these references are very organic. I love that about Jesus. He uses only the common to illustrate the divine. And this kingdom, as described in the book One.Life by Scot McKnight, is just that: a kingdom. Jesus’ audience heard the word kingdom and immediately thought of land and subjects and a king. It was something that, to a Jewish audience, would take them back to great memories and stories of David and Solomon.

Yet Jesus’ idea of a kingdom was a bit different. He used a promising term, with an entirely different feel. He compressed the idea, flattened it, and broadened it, and referred to it as a farmer and seed, as a treasure and a treasure-hunter, as yeast and a net. There was nothing about royal armies and massive palaces in these stories.

He was not speaking of an empire, at least in the sense of what that would mean to the oppressed Jewish people, pinched by the overbearing Roman Empire.

Which, I think, is what you would expect from a guy who walks on water, and makes no parade of it. Let’s go back to Matthew 12, first, before we look at Matthew 14.

In Matthew 12:19, Matthew writes something about Jesus that is very different from how we’ve made Jesus. In our songs and worship times, Jesus is famous. He is controversial. He is loud.

Yet in this simple verse, Matthew says that Jesus will not “quarrel or cry out,” and “no one will hear his voice in the streets.” He won’t even break a “bruised reed,” nor will be snuff out a smoldering candle.

This Jesus isn’t loud. He isn’t controversial. He does not seek fame.

And this is the Jesus we find walking on the water, then, in Matthew 14:25. Matthew writes this about this jaw-dropping miracle:

During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.

That’s it. No big story. No background detail. No huge motivation. He walked across the water like he walked across the street.

If Jesus is ushering in a kingdom, described in such organic ways, then, as its king, he just does what needs to be done. He walks on water, without the fanfare. It’s not a big deal to him at all, as if he did it every day.

This king, and his kingdom, will be organic, earthy. Raw. But real. And accessible. With a king who performs miracles like they were no big deal.


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