The mustard seed represents something small that does its part in expanding God's Kingdom. Mustard seeds are the smallest of those commonly used by His audience and are used in the parable to make His point easy to grasp. However, this parable contains more than this important truth. Send inquiries regarding the operation of this Web site to [email protected] Deuteronomy 28:26, a somewhat different context being within the Blessings and Cursings chapter, has this as a curse: "Your carcasses shall be food for all the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and no one shall frighten them away." Jesus Himself had an insignificant entrance into the world by human standards, and the church He founded is likewise a "little flock" (Luke 12:31-32), small and designed by God not to become a physically powerful organization that would make a spectacle of itself. When Jesus taught parables as prophecies of the course of the church's history until His return, He provided two views of the one subject: specifically, the outward aspect, shown to the multitude of people; and the inward aspect, as revealed to His disciples. Matthew expands Mark’s simple scheme into a 7 parable unit. Darris McNeely works at the United Church of God home office in Cincinnati, Ohio. This parable is an analogy, and as with all analogies, the symbolism is not exact but similar. In Luke 12:31-32, He refers to His church as a little flock. In verse 7, Paul says, in essence, "You are supposed to be pure. The disciples’ disciples made disciples. Here is what Jesus spoke in a very short parable recorded in Matthew 13:31-32 Matthew 13:31-32 [31] Another parable put he forth to them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: [32] Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come … © 1995–2021 All correspondence and questions should be sent to [email protected] Jesus is speaking of dark mysteries, dark things happening. Crush them—before they are strong enough to resist. His purpose shall stand. THE PLANT ITSELF... 1. In a vision of the temple, Zechariah saw lampstands, a bowl and olive trees. In 87 out of 88 times, it means something bad, but here in Matthew 13, leaven is positive. The central thought of the parable is the growth of the kingdom of heaven considered externally. The earlier parables in this chapter focus on the results of the sowing of the seed of the gospel or good news of the Kingdom through the preaching of the word. 31 He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. They try to get us when we are young in the church. “So Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain [an obstacle blocking what needs to be done], “Move from here to there,” and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. What the Bible says about FAITH LIKE A GRAIN OF MUSTARD SEED Matthew 13:34 applies specifically to what Jesus had just said, but it also applies generally to all the parables. Did God not pull us all out of the world? Luke 13:20-21). The answer is that the parable of the mustard seed describes the external growth of the kingdom. He saw that the people would be full of leaven, and they would always be, until they were changed to spirit. That describes a kingdom destined for remarkable growth [To appreciate the point of the parable, some background information may be helpful on...] I. The parable focuses on this idea of smallness. Its smallness, then, is really our only clue as to what the parable is teaching. The Treasure and Pearl parables can emphasize both the cost of discipleship needed from … for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth. They must receive it from God. Second Pair: The Mustard Seed (verse 31) represents the dynamic growth of the church from small beginnings even while adversaries confront it. The power of the returned Jewish exiles was very small at this moment. Yet, according to the commentators, this one case is the exception! Then the prophet adds another thought from God: “For who has despised the day of small things? Just as God permitted Satan to tempt Job intensely (Job 1:12; 2:6) and to sift Peter as wheat (Luke 22:31), He has allowed antichrists to lodge within His church (I Corinthians 11:18-19). The "birds of the air" are a negative symbol. He reiterates in Matthew 20:16 that few are chosen. In this parable, the small seed is the church, which appeared as the firstfruits of the Word. Each of the three parables: the weeds among the wheat, the mustard seed, … That they understood made it possible for Jesus to conclude with a final parable that reveals the responsibility of the disciples as "scribes" in the church, "instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven" (verse 52). It is a consistent characteristic of God's true church to remain as a small herb, spiritually feeding the few who are chosen to become regenerated children of the Kingdom of God. Birds are naturally attracted to the taste of the mustard seed. . This does not mean we are clean forever—we still sin after we are cleaned. Like that mustard seed, that Spirit must be planted within us and begin to grow to produce spiritual growth. The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed - This parable is a representation of the progress of the Gospel in the world; and of the growth of grace in the soul. Through them, Jesus opens up matters that have been concealed from the foundation of the world. It is a very simple story—a snapshot of life, really: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough” (Matthew 13:33; cf. Mark creates a 3 parable unit. It makes no sense to say that the Kingdom of God grows by means of the Kingdom of God. Smaller seeds than those of the mustard plant exist, but Jesus is not making an absolute statement on the size of seeds. That is the beauty of grace—that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, and we can then come under His blood and be cleaned. What is step one of Satan's plan against the church? This mustard plant did something abnormal by growing beyond its design parameters; it became larger than what God designed as normal. It is instead an agent of the Kingdom of God at work to make the Kingdom of God grow and expand. 32 Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.". Christ is preparing places for His followers in His coming Kingdom. This daily newsletter provides a starting point for personal study, and gives valuable insight into the verses that make up the Word of God. The picture part is the mustard seed that grows into a large plant, the reality part is the kingdom of God, and the point of comparison is the growth of the kingdom … In other words, it is sin. Farmers listened to pictures of agricultural life. Simple - it is His church: the few, the small, the weak, and the base. The Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast 31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like ( C ) a mustard seed, ( D ) which a man took and planted in his field. Here is a lesson for us. Yet, in the area where Christ was speaking, it grows to a height of ten feet. The mustard plant is always a shrub. We know about the mustard seed. If you’ve been struggling as a God-fearing person and wonder if something is wrong with you, then take a lesson from this parable. The leaven went throughout the Corinthian church. Expectations are high. In its most basic sense, it is a symbol of corruption, which has a tendency to multiply and spread like yeast. The Parable of the Mustard Seed. What the Bible says about for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.American King James Version×, emphasis added throughout). A particular Bible translation may divide the chapter into only seven parables, but there are eight parables in Matthew 13. It is commonly thought by Bible scholars, although not by all, that the Parable of the Mustard Seed (Luke 13:18) is about the spreading out of the Gospel, no doubt, because Jesus mentions the plant as a metaphor for the Kingdom of God. They dwell there in peace, safety, and harmony. For who has despised the day of small things? ‘Who are you, O great mountain? It will grow and expand, including both Christians and non-Christians. The mustard seed was the smallest seed used by the Jews in that time. I Corinthians 1:26-29 says that God called the weak and the base of the world to put to shame the mighty and the noble. Christ is preparing places for His followers in His Kingdom. God gives the power of the Holy Spirit to work faith and righteousness in His chosen people. (From Forerunner Commentary). Jesus clearly says that the seed is "the word of the kingdom" (verse 19). So Jesus' parable about the mustard seed and the tree is a parable for me and you, too. Opposition and criticism had hindered them. Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. How can the Kingdom be likened to leaven? But God had been the One to move Cyrus to allow the Jews to return to Jerusalem. Never underestimate the power of God’s Spirit to begin and to finish His perfect work in you. That is almost twice the height of most ceilings. That same power can work in us to produce fruit for the Kingdom of God. In analyzing these parables, we discover the King's personal view of His Kingdom through the past, present, and future of the history of His church. Again, the field is the world. McGarvey suggests the mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds sown in a garden. [23] For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like to a man beholding his natural face in a glass: They show Christ working through His messengers to preach the gospel of the Kingdom between the time of His first and second comings. ), Here is what Jesus spoke in a very short parable recorded in Matthew 13:31-32 Matthew 13:31-32 [31] Another parable put he forth to them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Jesus is referring to those few who, upon their calling by God, voluntarily submit to God's dominion, the Kingdom of God. Matthew 13 contains Christ's explanation of His use of parables as a way of teaching. Jesus used pictures that fit the occasion in a way that preserved their naturalness. In the Greek, the word for it is sinapi, the common word for "mustard." The commentators are uncomfortable with the idea that the Kingdom of God in its present form can have leaven in it, that it could be full of sin. It does not make sense for a God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Every year, we keep the Days of Unleavened Bread to depict just this process and to be thankful that we have this sacrifice—Christ our Passover—who saves us and forgives us. Leaven must still be negative here. This plant ceased to be God's church when it perverted its doctrines and objectives, moving beyond God's intended limits. Because of its minuteness, the mustard seed came to symbolize small beginnings, denoting the smallest weight or measure, a tiny particle. Whereunto shall we liken] This method of asking a question before beginning a discourse was not unknown to the Rabbis. So, in the first half of this chapter, Jesus is saying, "Look, My disciples, this is the plan that you must fight against. We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair” (2 Corinthians 4:7-8 2 Corinthians 4:7-8 [7] But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. LUKE 17:5-6. Persecute them. Paul argues in I Corinthians 1:26-29 that God calls the weak and the base of the world to put to shame the mighty and the noble. Consider the church from this vantage point. Matthew 13:31-32 tells the parable of the mustard seed: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. He departed from there" (verse 53). And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”’” . At that moment it was critical to the purpose of God that the nation be replanted and endure. Parallel passages: Mark 4:30-32; Luke 13:18, 19. A few years ago I was given the gift of a mustard seed. Martin G. Collins The two wave loaves that were offered on the day of Pentecost (Leviticus 23) were made with leaven, because they represent us, the Old Testament and the New Testament, or the Old Covenant and the New Covenant—the churches of those times that were full of leaven, that is, sinful people. At that moment the Jews were the remnant of the covenant nation of Israel. God promises the power to turn from sin and to obey Him in all parts of life. But even if it grows to fifteen feet, does the mustard plant become a tree? God was greater than the king of Persia. This power of life and faith is available when people realize they don’t have the real power of God inherent within them. The second section can be titled "God's Work on Behalf of the Church," what God does to make sure that Satan does not destroy the church. Therefore, the symbolism of the Kingdom of God being likened to a mustard seed is not identical, yet it explains a particular aspect of the process that the church goes through in preparing for God's Kingdom. Of all the seeds that were sown at that time in the East, and all the seeds that are sown today to produce edible products, the mustard seed was and still is the smallest. [8] Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! The parables can also be grouped into related pairs that illustrate the church's different characteristics: First Pair: The Sower (verse 3) represents the relationship of the church to the different groups of people with which it comes into contact while doing its work. Parables of Matthew 13 (Part Four): The Parable of the Mustard Seed. 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