In previous postings, I discussed the parable of the sower, and the parable of the wheat and the tares. The interpretation to the latter is found in Matthew 13:37-43. The third parable in that chapter is the parable of the mustard seed. In this parable, we find a sower, mustard seed, a field, time passing, growth into a large tree, and birds of the air nesting. The emphasis of this parable is a singular tree, and not a field of wheat. Here we have a picture of a sower, again planting seed. Even though the kind of seed is different, the sower, the field, time passing, and growth are the same. But this time, the sower only plants one seed. Jesus is focusing upon the change that takes place from the time the seed is planted, until the time He returns to "inspect" His crop. He tells us that what He planted was a very small seed, which is a picture of the small beginnings of the Church. Time allows for the seed to become a great tree, but it is now so big that birds nest in it. Again, we have a picture of the devil's children represented by the birds within the Church.
In the parable of the sower, Satan's opposition to the successful harvest was carried out using three tactics. Where ever he could, he saw to it that the seed was removed by birds. If that didn't work, he persecuted the weak and hindered productivity. If the seed could withstand persecution, he distracted with it with riches (this reminds me of Proverbs 30:8-9). In the parable of the wheat and the tares, both plants are kinds of people, but here, there is only one plant. Clearly, it represents the growth of the visible church. But what effect do the birds have to the tree? Since the tree is an herb, and herbs produce flavor to make food desirable, the Satan's birds eat the seeds, leaving the tree without the ability to appeal to the hungry.. It is still a huge tree, but it is limited in its usefulness. It has, for the most part, ceased to attract the lost.
Today, we are closer than ever to the return of Jesus Christ for His Bride. The visible church numbers over two billion; it is beyond huge. But if one looks closely at it, the birds are clearly seen. They still use Satan's tactics to neutralize the effectiveness of the Church. Doctrinal conflict has produced "branches" that go off in all directions. Only a small minority point heavenward. Super churches are rich and boast of being everything people need for happiness. They have focused upon getting people to spread the good news about their facilities, and in so doing, they have ceased in spreading the Gospel of Christ. Unfortunately, when Christ returns for His Bride, He will not be looking for popular, entertaining preachers or great facilities. He will be looking for His faithful whose focus is on making disciples, baptizing, and instructing new believers in the Word of God.