I was reading in the Gospel of Mark this morning when I had one of those “enlightening” moments. We sometimes call it an “Epiphany.” Whatever it was, I suddenly had this flash of insight, clearer than I’d ever seen it before. Jesus was telling about the Kingdom of God, what it is like. He told the disciples the story of the farmer planting seeds (Mark 4:26-29). Jesus told them that the seed “sprouts and grows” but that the farmer “knows not how.” Immediately, what flashed in my brain was all that Biology and Chemistry, and Physiological Chemistry and so on and so forth that I took all those years in school.
The first time I saw a diagram of a cell was probably in 9th grade in High School. But, I saw many more representations of cells over the years, and all of those images were static, lifeless. That’s what we don’t get – we think of life as something you can pin down and “take a picture” of. Life is not like that at all, and neither is the Kingdom of God. They are both active and growing, dynamic, changing. The parts of a cell, whether a plant cell or an animal cell, are all designed to be continuously working, changing, growing, producing and reproducing.
I remember all the names of those parts of the cell, but those are not important. What’s important is to realize that the parts are in continuous activity, the DNA is ALWAYS being read, proteins are always being manufactured, fuel is constantly consumed, division is active and in plants, cellulose in cell walls is constantly being produced as the plant grows ever upwards and taller. Some plants, e.g. Bamboo, grow up to 2 feet in a day – can you imagine how much work is going on in the billions of individual cells inside that Bamboo stalk? The DNA in the organism describes how all that activity should take place.
What Jesus was saying was that He knew all that, but we could never in His lifetime, and in fact for many centuries even begin to understand the complexities of that process, so how could we ever hope to understand the Kingdom of God? And yet, we are part of it, we are all parts of that organism, growing, taking in nourishment, dividing (spiritually – of course!) by sharing the Gospel with others. It is an active process, not something static and lifeless, like a picture in a book. The Bible is alive and gives us the “DNA” for our salvation. It gives the plan, we are the cells that must carry out that plan by following those instructions.
It was quite an insight, and it happened in a few moments as I was reading my Bible this morning.