For centuries, Christians have been the object of persecution in different parts of the globe. This animosity can be traced to the time when Jesus started His public ministry. George Eldon Ladd notes, "The proclamation of the Kingdom and the call to repentance characterized Jesus’ mission from the start, and it is therefore both psychologically and historically sound that opposition was early incurred, which grew in intensity until Jesus’ death was accomplished" (Ladd, 1993, 105). The religious establishment thought that by killing Jesus, they would finally put an end to what He started in His ministry. But it did not take long for them to realize the folly of their plan. Jesus rose from the grave and started a spiritual revolution that changed the world.
The impact of His resurrection was first felt by His disciples who were transformed into men of faith and courage. Luke tells us how the religious leaders could not seem to reconcile how uneducated men could command the attention of the masses: "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished" (Acts 4:13 ESV). The disciples boldly declared the gospel wherever they went and ignited a movement that continues today. How can such men make a lasting impact? This can be answered by the parable of the mustard seed that illustrates the peculiar way the Kingdom of God grows in the world (Matt 13:31-32). Mark Strauss states, "The parable of the secretly growing seed teaches that the growth and expansion of the Kingdom is the work of God rather than any human accomplishment (Strauss, 2014, 202). This parable taught Jesus' disciples that God's Kingdom grows in a way that magnifies the wisdom and power of God. Hence, the lesson implied in this parable taught me to trust the sovereign plan of God and not underestimate small beginnings. Strauss notes, "When Jesus left this earth, He had little more than a hundred followers. Yet that mustard seed of a movement swept across the Mediterranean region and throughout the world, transforming the lives of millions and changing the course of human history" (Strauss, 2014, 203). I have seen how this movement continues to change lives in Cebu especially during this difficult time. The pandemic we are experiencing has somehow given our church an opportunity to display the love of Jesus in tangible ways.
Last month, our church began to support the frontliners and through the generosity of our members, we were able to give gospel tracts and donate medical equipment and supplies to the various hospitals in Cebu. Lately, we have noticed that some of the doctors, nurses, soldiers, and policemen we have supported have become more receptive to the gospel. Our little act of kindness has somehow pointed people to the love of Christ. Strauss notes, "The parable of the mustard seed reminds us that what is viewed as small and insignificant in human terms can be used by God to accomplish great things" (Strauss, 2014, 203). What a joy it is to know that every good deed done for the sake of the gospel, no matter how small, has the potential of advancing the Kingdom of God on earth.