“He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
– Matthew 13:31-32
In this illustration, Jesus explains the simplicity of the kingdom message. It does not involve a lot of intricate moving parts. It is, in fact, the simplest of all messages – tiny as ‘the tiniest of all seeds.’ Yet when the message is planted in our hearts, the simple kingdom message becomes ‘the largest’ of all truths, providing comfort and lodging for all who seek it.
Simply put, the kingdom of the heavens is built upon the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. In other words, God is the Father of every man, and consequently, every man is your brother. Jesus began his ministry by planting the seed of fatherhood:
“This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
– Matthew 6:9-15
And if we accept the fact of the fatherhood of God, we must also freely accept the associated truth of the brotherhood of man.
“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.”
– Matthew 23:8-9
The apostles and writers of the Christian scriptures understood the kingdom seed. In practically every letter in the Christian scriptures, the followers of Jesus refer to each other as “brother” and to God as “Father.” Practically every admonition was to strengthen the brotherhood, or to seek out more brothers through the ministry and baptize them into the brotherhood, and to ready the brotherhood for our heavenly inheritance. It wasn’t any more complicated than that.
The knowledge that we are all children of God carries with it many beautiful associations – the many branches originating from the tiny mustard seed. For example, since we are God’s children, we know that we are not orphans. We know that we are not the product of a random “big bang.” We were created, designed. We are wanted. We are loved.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.”
– Matthew 6:25-32
Since we are loved by an all powerful Father, we know nothing will happen to us that we cannot handle.
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
– 1 Corinthians 10:13
Since our Father is perfect, we have the potential to be perfect:
“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
– Matthew 5:48
Since our Father is eternal, we have the potential for eternal life:
“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
– John 17:3
And since every man was our brother, out of respect for our Father, we would not seek to harm any of His children. We are told:
“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.”
– 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
These are some of the benefits of being in the kingdom of the heavens – the spiritual brotherhood. But being in the kingdom of the heavens has responsibilities. It has laws. And, like the kingdom message, the laws of the kingdom are simple, uncomplicated.