Tuesday, February 20, 2018

February 20: Matthew 4:26-29, 35-41; Sprouts and Storms – God’s Kingdom

            What is the connection between Jesus’ parables of the kingdom of God and Jesus calming the storm before he and his disciples we swamped on the sea by a storm? One connection is that these are both demonstrations of God’s power and his grace to all.
            God has designed and made plants to grow from seeds to plants that will also produce seeds. Scientists can explain all sorts of things about what happens when a seed sprouts. They can analyze the DNA and even alter it so that it will produce something a bit different than the original. But they still can’t and never will be able to produce a seed from dirt. That is a God thing. No amount of time ever created a seed or a plant from the chemicals on the earth. That was God’s doing (Gen 1:11). He has provided this for all of us whether we believe it or not. His grace in creation is for all people, good or evil. He continues to keep things going for us (Col 1:17). Then there is the fact that while we may know a lot about nutrition and watering to get a good crop, we can’t make a plant grow. We have no power over it other than to provide the right environment. Guess what! Even with all the right conditions, some seeds don’t sprout. Only God makes things grow.
            But there is more. This is a picture of his kingdom. Just as we will never be able to create a seed from dirt, we can’t bring anyone into God’s kingdom by ourselves. We are to be like the farmer who plants the seed and then waters it as it grows; we sow the seed of God’s word and disciple those who sprout (1 Cor 3:8). We must not forget that in God’s kingdom, he is the one who makes people grow, we are only working with him (1 Cor 3:9).
            The connection to the storm is that Jesus gave a vivid demonstration to his disciples that he is the one who controls nature. It doesn’t control him. He is the one then, who makes the seeds grow. He is the one who makes sure there is a harvest. Even though he appears to be asleep at times, that is our perception of him, not the actuality of our omnipotent, omniscient God. When it comes to nature, he is in control. When it comes to people, salvation, sanctification – the state of our and others’ spiritual condition, he is in control. We are only his co-workers. When we come to him for help, as we should, we shouldn’t come to him with words of doubt, “do you not care” (Mark 4:38), but we come to him in faith knowing that he is in control and that he cares. When it comes to co-workers, he will never let us down. We just have to have the correct perspective knowing that our timing may not be his, but he is going to work things out for the best (Rom 8:28-29).

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