18. Then Jesus asked, "How can I explain the Kingdom of God to you? What illustration will make it understandable?
19. All right, think of it this way...it's like a seed, say, a tiny mustard seed, which a man took one day and planted in his garden. And that insignificant seed eventually grew and became a huge tree...so big, in fact, that the birds of the air were able to perch in its branches."
20. Then He said, "Let Me see...how else can I describe it to you? How can I fully reveal the mysteries of the Kingdom, and its progressively increasing influence in the earth?
21. Here's another comparison...it's like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour, until it worked all through the dough. And then she waits for all the dough to rise."
22. He went on teaching that basic message of the Kingdom from town to village... village to town...but, little by little, He was really making His way toward Jerusalem.
23. On the way, someone asked Him, "Lord, in the end, will only a few be saved?" And He said to them,
24. "You need to be thinking about the now...about making the effort to enter into the Kingdom mentality by the narrow door that provides access to it. Many will try to grasp the concept of it, trying to enter it without repentance or revelation, but they will not be able to get in.
25. It's just like when the master of a household gets up and officially closes the door for the evening. You may stand outside and knock on the outer door again and again, saying, "Sir, open up to us!" But he will most likely answer you, "I don't know what household you come from...certainly not mine."
26. And then you may reply, "Hey...we ate and drank with you...you were a familiar voice in our community."
27. But he will say, "Seriously...I don't know what household you come from...you're definitely not a part of this one. Get out of here, and go to your own homes, you strangers!"
28. And you will have to stand outside all night in the cold, where your teeth will chatter from the cold, and where you will grind them in anger as you see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets enter the house because they understand what is happening in the Kingdom of God in the now. Your anger will be increased because you yourselves will be driven away by your own lack of understanding.
29. And if that's not enough to set you off, you will also see people come from eastern lands and western lands...from the north and the south...all the people that you thought were not invited to the celebration at all, sit down and feast at the table in the Kingdom of God.
30. You don't realize this, and don't believe it when I say it, but there are some who are now 'last', as it were, who will then be 'first'...and there are some who are now considered 'first' who will then be 'last'."
31. Within an hour of hearing Him speak these words, some Pharisees came up to Him and said, "You need to get out of here...run for your life! Don't you know that Herod is determined to kill You?"
32. And He replied in a very direct manner, "Please...feel free to go and tell that fox for Me that I expel rebel spirits and perform healings today and tomorrow...and on the third day I will triumphantly finish My course. I don't have time for him or his empty threats.
33. I'm going to do what I'm going to do, today and tomorrow and the day after that. Besides, it's not proper for a prophet to come to a bad end outside Jerusalem...the whole thing will have its consummation there...and it won't happen until I get there!"
34. But then in a moment of feeling the conflict between being simultaneously connected and disconnected from them, He said, wistfully, "O Jerusalem...Jerusalem...you who continue to kill the prophets, and to stone those who are sent to you! You have no idea how often I've desired...yearned, even...to gather your children together around Me, as a hen gathers her young under her wings. I'll fulfill My own destiny, with or without your support...but, truth be told, I truly wanted to embrace you, but you just wouldn't have it!
35. But it doesn't matter now...what's about to happen is about to happen, and your house is forsaken. You won't see me again until the day of reconciliation when you all confess together, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of God.'"