The Bible: The Reign of God

Weekly Bible Devotional

“The Bible: The Reign of God”

February 21, 2021


Scripture for Sunday: Matthew 13:31-33, 45-46

31 He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; 32 it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

33 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”

45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; 46 on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

Notes on the Text:

One of the overarching themes of the ministry of Jesus is his teaching about the Kingdom or Reign of God where people trust God wholeheartedly. Jesus spent a lot of his ministry teaching about this and wanted his community to continue to spread this vision around the world after his death and resurrection. The Church is supposed to be a witness to that vision of life and faith. The teachings and actions of Jesus about the Reign of God are so essential to our identity and mission.

This week as we look at some of the parables of Jesus about the reign of God as a spiritual reality, we see that reign of God reorients/shocks us to what is real and important in life: the pervasive presence of God and our connection to God and to all beings. Each of the parables which we are highlighting from Matthew 13 has an element of surprise in it or a twist that makes it clear that the reign of God is not what we normally expect.

The first parable is about the image of the mustard seed. Mustard can be considered a weed. One seed quickly produces sufficient plants to overwhelm a field. Mustard grows entirely wild and when it has been sown, it is scarcely possible to get the place free of it. So the reality of the reign of God permeates every part of our reality. It is pervasive and cannot be controlled by our human efforts.

The second parable is about yeast. This parable tells us again about the pervasive nature of the reign of God. The image of yeast for observant Jews was not always positive as it was seen as a corrupting agent. Yet, in the reign of God, we see that God takes what is negative and transforms it to produce abundant life for all.

Then we have the parable of the merchant who sells everything he has in order to get the pearl of great price. This may seem like a neat thing to do if you were a collector, but financially speaking, as a merchant, this kind of practice is unwise. What about prudent financial practices of spreading investments to minimize loss? Would an experienced merchant place one’s total wealth in a single investment?  So investment in the reign of God may seem foolish to the rest of the world but from the perspective of God, it is the true wisdom of life.

For Reflection:

These parables make two important claims about the nature of the reign of God: 1. It is pervasive because it is a spiritual reality that is in all of life. 2. It seems like foolishness to the rest of the world because it leads us to live by a vision that we are all one. If the vision of the reign of God does not challenge and upset our common perceptions of life, then we are missing the point. If the reign of God does not lead us to greater love and connection, then we are living by the values of the systems of the world.

In his book, It’s Time for a Revolution, Jake Owensby, says that often times we miss the reign of God because we think that we are the center of the universe and not God. Owensby writes, “A world that we seek to control in order to achieve our goals, to secure our status, to protect our privilege, to assert our power, to cling to our stuff, and to consume the objects of our desire is a life hurtling toward destruction. That’s what it means to be the center of the universe.”

Yet, we do not lose hope because we are a work in progress and the journey of faith is about yielding over and over again to the wisdom of the reign of God. God’s loving presence is pervasive and does not depend on our logic of control and power. Here is a beautiful image from Desmond Tutu about love being the essence of life: “There’s no question about the reality of evil, of injustice, of suffering, but at the center of this existence is a heart beating with love.”

Poem for Lent by Joyce Rupp:

The Cosmos dreams in me

while I wait in stillness,

ready to lean a little further

into the heart of the Holy.


I, a little blip of life,

a wisp of unassuming love,

a quickly passing breeze,

come once more into Lent.


No need to sign me

with the black bleeding ash

of palms, fried and baked.

I know my humus place.


This Lent I will sail

on the graced wings of desire

yearning to go deeper

to the place where

I am one in the One.

Oh, may I go there soon,

in the same breath

that takes me to the stars

when the cosmos dreams in me.

The Bible Series

Weekly Bible Devotionals

Written by Pastor Roula Alkhouri


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