The Jewish people expected God’s kingdom to come suddenly, powerfully, and completely. In today’s passage, Jesus corrected this misperception. First, He used the parable of the mustard seed. A man took the tiny seed and planted it in his garden, where it became a great tree and birds filled its branches. Jesus was envisioning a large cedarlike tree, which grew to be twenty-five feet tall. Such growth from a minuscule beginning was unexpected—even supernatural.
This tree referenced similar imagery in Ezekiel 17:22–24. Prophesying the restoration of Davidic rule, the Lord took a shoot from a cedar and planted it on a mountain. It produced branches and fruit, where birds of every kind (people of all nations) found shelter and peace. The mustard seed parable communicated the surprising way the kingdom of God would grow from an unassuming beginning to eventually cover the earth, providing refuge for many.
With the parable of the leaven, Jesus was making a similar point. A woman took a pinch of yeast and mixed it into a huge amount o flour (three seah equals almost fifty pounds). Over time, that bit of yeast permeated the entire loaf. Though Jesus’ ministry started small, God’s plan was unfolding. His kingdom would grow and penetrate the world. Nothing on earth could stop it.
As Jesus continued toward Jerusalem, someone asked, “Are only a few people going to be saved?” Jesus’ teaching had raised concern that salvation for Israel was not as certain as they assumed. Jesus’ reply “make every effort to enter through the narrow door” (v. 24) confirmed this suspicion. Jesus provided a single and specific gateway to the kingdom. Any who failed to enter by that door, would miss the opportunity to attend the kingdom feast (vv. 29–30).
>> No matter how sincere your belief, there is only one way to heaven. Many believe there are multiple truths and multiple ways to God. This passage speaks in direct contradiction to that philosophy.
“In Christ alone my hope is found, He is my light, my strength, my song... What heights of love, what depths of peace, When fears are stilled, when strivings cease! My Comforter, my All in All, Here in the love of Christ I stand.”