by Roger McCay
7 February 2021
Sermon Passage: Mark 4:26-29; Revelation 1:5-6
Link to Audio Version
As we await the return of the Lord, each generation deals with its host of troubles. Our generation is no different. Times are tough. Looking at all the turmoil and difficulties going on these days, it brings to mind the tired look on the face of a brother who spoke to me in passing on a particularly difficult day in Iraq, saying, “Come Lord Jesus, come.” His comment is one I’ve echoed many times, and perhaps you have also. We certainly prayed the Lord’s prayer together this morning, petitioning the Lord, “Thy Kingdom Come.” And it is a hopeful prayer that is surely being answered.
Yet, as we eagerly yearn for the Lord’s return, the Kingdom of God can seem so far away, while the pressures and troubles of the world are right in our face. Oh, but that the Lord’s Kingdom were here now. The thing is, brothers and sisters, the Lord’s Kingdom is here. And it is here now.
Last week, in Rev. 1:5, we saw how Jesus is the ruler of “the kings on earth.” Jesus is King, reigning at the right hand of the Father. Yet, while the Kingdom of God is already here, the Kingdom is still to come.
The Scriptures speak of the Lord’s Kingdom in many places, revealing the Kingdom of God to be “God’s rule.” It is the Lord’s eternal (past, present, and future), sovereign, dynamically active and eschatological rule (or reign) over all things. This includes every single aspect of creation; every nation; every people; dominions and powers – both earthly and heavenly. Psalm 103:19 proclaims this: “The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.”
Christ Jesus’ reign was prophesied. At a certain time, there would come a person – a King who would rule over the Kingdom of God for all eternity. Thus, Daniel 7:13-14:
… and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.
The Lord Jesus himself tells us quite a bit about the Kingdom of God. In Mark 1:14-15, Jesus came proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom, saying: The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the gospel. Then Mark records (in Chapter 4 of his Gospel) five of the Lord’s parables concerning the nature of the Kingdom.
Now, parables are a very unique genre. Jesus masterfully used them for a variety of reasons. But, there is great mystery in the Kingdom of God. Jesus’ parables reveal this mystery uniquely and even more potently than just frank explanations could do. They are portraits and not simply snapshots or abstract paintings. As C.H. Dodd has said, they leave “the mind in sufficient doubt about its precise application to tease it into active thought.”
Our parable for today is the fourth parable of the Kingdom in Mark 4. Here, Jesus speaks of a seed, which is a simile for the Kingdom, and he speaks of its cultivation from the time the seed is sown, through the time of growth, and to the time of the harvest.
Take a look again at v. 26: “And he said, ‘The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground.'”
What is the scenario for when seed is scattered upon the soil, i.e. sown? The sowing of a seed only occurs once, of course. The seed, by the scattering, is deposited into the waiting soil, prepared for the seed’s arrival. This is also done at the right time of the season, so that it might fulfill its purpose in growth, yielding a healthy harvest.
Like the seed, the Kingdom of God was brought by Jesus into the world. He established it in a very humble manner, in his person and his Word. When Jesus proclaimed that the Kingdom of God was at hand in Mark 1:15, it was quite literally true. It was as close as a touch. For in the person of Christ lay the authority of God, and so his rule—his Kingdom. Everything had been prepared for his coming, so the time was ripe. The Kingdom was sown in the person of Christ. The promised Messiah King had come to save his people