Family Devotional for Mark:The Mustard Seed Kingdom by Brian Vickers
When you hear the word “kingdom” what comes to mind? Maybe things like castles, moats, draw-bridges, and big stone walls. Whatever comes to mind, it’s probably something big, powerful, and impressive. The people of Israel were waiting for God’s kingdom. A time when God would defeat all their enemies, and centuries of war and suffering and waiting would come to an end. God would come and save his people and set up the greatest kingdom the world had ever seen. Expectations were high. Then one day Jesus came and said: “The time has come. The kingdom of God is near. Turn and trust in the good news of the kingdom!” (Mark 1:15). But when Jesus talked about the Kingdom, he said some unexpected things. To be part of his kingdom, you have to give up your life and follow him (8:34). In his kingdom, the greatest people are servants—just like him (9:35; 10:44-45). Jesus said his kingdom is like a mustard seed (4:31). That doesn’t sound too impressive, but what Jesus is saying is that you have to be able to look at a little seed and see everything it will become. It takes the eyes of faith to see Jesus’ kingdom. We enter the Kingdom by believing that Jesus the King suffered and gave up his life for us. Through faith we see and experience the reality and power of the kingdom in everyday things like loving each other and loving our neighbors; in simple acts of service; in caring more for the good of others than for our own good; and in sharing the gospel of Jesus the servant-king with the people around us so that they can join in the kingdom. When God’s kingdom fully arrives it will be more powerful and glorious than anything we can imagine, it will go beyond all our expectations, but for now we see it all in seeds.
Teaching the Mustard Seed Kingdom
- Ask your children to describe a kingdom. Then show them a seed – any seed will do- and then say “This is what Jesus says his kingdom is like.” Read Mark 4:30-32. A great way to illustrate it is with an acorn. Let them hold an acorn in their hand. Then have them look up at an oak tree. Use this activity to begin talking about faith and God’s kingdom.
- For older children, ask them to describe the people they think are great, or the kind of people who are popular. Talk about how we usually judge greatness. Then read Mark 9:33-37 and 10:41-45. Using Jesus as the example, challenge them with the idea that servants are greatest in God’s Kingdom.
- Try to find an activity you can do as a family (particularly with older kids) that will display Kingdom service. Serve as a family through “Seed” at Sojourn. Maybe there’s someone in your neighborhood who needs help taking care of their yard or house. Bring a meal or package of treats of some kind to a neighbor. Invite neighbors over.
- Have everyone list 5 ways that they can serve one another around the house. There are endless possibilities for this one.
- Read the story of the Rich Young Man in Mark 10:17-31. Now read Mark 8:34-9:1. Being a disciple of Jesus means putting Jesus above all—discuss how the rich man was unable to do this and why. Use this as a way of talking about what it means to follow Jesus.
- Parents: You are the representatives of the King. How is your household reflecting the Kingdom of God? Do your children see you loving and serving one each other?