Just like the mustard plant grows tall and wide, the kingdom of God spread in every direction. And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? No, because the word "seed" has been modified in both of these occasions. In the parables, Jesus gives the disciples the symbols' narrow meanings. But God accepts them because the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin (I John 1:7). In the days of the Jewish return to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple, God sent the prophet Zechariah to stir the people to action in their important task. Darris McNeely works at the United Church of God home office in Cincinnati, Ohio. And [an angel] cried mightily with a loud voice, saying Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a habitation of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! The historical development of the church of God would be one of humble beginnings. So Jesus' parable about the mustard seed and the tree is a parable for me and you, too. This is not a word we hear often. Yet, in the area where Christ was speaking, it grows to a height of ten feet. It is described by many different terms. In Galatians 5:7-9, Paul calls leaven a "persuasion [that] does not come from Him who calls you," one that hinders us from obeying the truth. The Parable of the Mustard Seed . This is not a contradiction, for the overall meaning is the same. Matthew identifies the birds of the air as "the wicked one" (Matthew 13:4, 19). Send inquiries regarding the operation of this Web site to webmaster@ucg.org. 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 … 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches. 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.". 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. The message to Zerubbabel and the people is clear: Don’t worry about your small numbers and your insignificant position. He saw that the people would be full of leaven, and they would always be, until they were changed to spirit. In this parable, the small seed is the church, which appeared as the firstfruits of the Word. They dwell there in peace, safety, and harmony. Although it has small beginnings, it is to have a marvellous expansion, so that even those who naturally are outside it are glad to avail themselves of its protection. He and his wife, Debbie, have served in the ministry for more than 43 years. When the mustard plant mutated from its original form, God replanted His true church in another corner of the field, beginning the process anew. How can the Kingdom be likened to leaven? God promises the power to turn from sin and to obey Him in all parts of life. - The parable of the mustard seed. . Luke separates the sower and soil parable and groups the mustard seed and leaven parables into a 2 parable unit. But does this not contradict what He said in the first parable—that the seed was the Word of God or the knowledge of God? The first consists of the first four parables: the Parable of the Sower, the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, the Parable of the Mustard Seed, and the Parable of the Leaven. THE PLANT ITSELF... 1. We know about the mustard seed. They had stopped work on rebuilding the temple, the very purpose for their return from captivity in Babylon. The small group of Jews were a fraction of their former state before their captivity. His purpose shall stand. . This does not square with what we learn in the Old Testament. Did God not pull us all out of the world? Martin G. Collins American King James Version×). The common interpretation of the Parable of the Mustard Seed is that the mustard seed represents the Kingdom of God, which begins tiny, and over time, expands or grows into a worldwide system, becoming the home for many nations or many people. ), 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: In the Greek, the word for it is sinapi, the common word for "mustard." 31 He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. In this parable, Jesus says that the Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed which, however small at the beginning, becomes a large tree. Get that sin out, so you can repent." God calls (John 6:44), but He draws them to Christ. He reiterates in Matthew 20:16 that few are chosen. The context of the parable in Matthew 13 follows the long parable of the sower and the seed and the parable of the tares sown by the enemy among the good seed of the field. The power is great and significant, but it starts small, like a mustard seed. Though they were small, God was with them! 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. The remaining four parables illustrate the inner characteristics of His church. Then, in Matthew 16:5-6, 11, Jesus clearly says that the leaven He spoke about was the doctrine of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The largest of mustard plants, even under ideal conditions, can grow only to a height of about 15 feet. This parable is an analogy, and as with all analogies, the symbolism is not exact but similar. Smaller seeds than those of the mustard plant exist, but Jesus is not making an absolute statement on the size of seeds. In Luke 10:2, when He sends the seventy out, He says the laborers are few. Parables of Matthew 13 (Part One): Introduction, It does not sound good that the birds eat the seed—and it is not. It is the truth, the knowledge of God, the gospel, the whole counsel of God. Putting these three verses together, this is how he defines leaven, as "a persuasion that does not come from God." God was effectively saying to the leaders, You have begun the work; keep at it and you’ll finish it. [25] But whoever looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. It will often be in a small way that He works, but that is to His glory! Also, in this unit Luke’s mustard seed parable functions as a commentary on a healing that arouses synagogue opposition. 7-10). FAITH LIKE A GRAIN OF MUSTARD SEED 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. It will grow and expand, including both Christians and non-Christians. [21] However, this kind goes not out but by prayer and fasting. If you understand what is in these parables, you will have a pretty good idea of what is happening spiritually. What are the "birds of the air"? What the Bible says about Third Pair: The Treasure (verse 44) represents the preciousness of Christians to Christ, who can see their hidden value and sacrifices all to possess them. New Testament scholar Adolf Jülicher viewed the parable of the mustard seed as a similitude, or an extended simile/metaphor, that has three parts: a picture part (Bildhälfte), a reality part (Sachhälfte), and a point of comparison (teritium comparationis). It is almost unthinkable that the Kingdom of God would be full of leaven throughout. This parable begins with the standard comparison of one thing with another. Is the Kingdom evil? What was kept secret from the foundation of the world? An apple tree produces apples, and in the middle of an apple is a bunch of little seeds. This is one point that people always get from this parable - that it is among the smallest of cultivated seeds. The mustard plant is well known for its hot-flavored seeds 2. What Jesus spoke before verse 34 is primarily negative, not positive, and these negative things have been hidden from man since the foundation of the world. 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. The Parable of the Mustard Seed is contained in all three of the synoptic gospels (Matthew 13:31–32; Mark 4:30–32; Luke 13:18–19). Attack God's people early in their calling. However, it is not a tree; it is a mustard plant. In this parable leaven symbolizes sin that corrupts and spreads. However, the Gospel of Matthew provides us with the most peripheral information, as it includes one parable before and after the mustard seed parable, each teaching on the same subject. And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”’” . The parable of the tares shows the focused opposition of Satan the devil to God’s purpose of “bringing many sons to glory” (Hebrews 2:10 Hebrews 2:10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.American King James Version×). He is working within His Church now, a small body of believers (Luke 12:32 Luke 12:32Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.American King James Version×)—but a body which will later be visible and apparent when God’s followers are transformed and His Kingdom rules over all nations. Here are two parables intended to show that the gospel church should be very small at first, but that in process of time it should become a considerable body: that of the grain of mustard-seed (v. 31, v. 32), and that of the leaven (v. 33). When Jesus taught that the Kingdom of God is like a small mustard seed that would grow large, He was showing the power of God to do His work through whatever instrument He chooses. It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.’ Darris is the Associate Media Producer for the Church. 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 Luke 12:31-32, He refers to His church as a little flock. The key to living by every word of God and facing the challenges of life with courage and confidence is having within you the Spirit of God, the down payment of eternal life, the life of the Kingdom to come. 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. The comparison between "the mustard seed" and the "Kingdom of God" is not so close as to be identical, but it is a representation that explains a certain aspect of God's Kingdom. The Parable of the Mustard Seed 30. Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow | Learn more... With a UCG.org account you will be able to save items to read and study later! Parable of the Unprofitable Servants. Through them, Jesus opens up matters that have been concealed from the foundation of the world. Each of the three parables: the weeds among the wheat, the mustard seed, … Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! It is instead an agent of the Kingdom of God at work to make the Kingdom of God grow and expand. The chapter contains eight parables. It does not grow a thick trunk and large branches. Wives could grasp His word pictures from home life. After the first series of four parables, Matthew writes, "All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them" (verse 34). Now with this meaning, the meaning of seed fits both the word of God and the sons of God; both the word and the sons are means by which the Kingdom grows, expands, and reproduces. Crush them—before they are strong enough to resist. Mark creates a 3 parable unit. The answer is that the parable of the mustard seed describes the external growth of the kingdom. They seem not to reveal as much about the church's eternal characteristics as about its day-to-day efforts resulting from Christ's work in coming into the world. Black mustard grows all across America, which is used to make the mustard that we put on our hot dogs, hamburgers, and sandwiches. But the message, as usual, is quite large and filled with profound insight. A little bit of yeast in the dough will make the whole thing rise because the yeast ferments and spreads throughout the entire lump of dough, making it all rise. Some seed falls on rocky ground and doesn’t sprout, some falls on other ground and grows for a little while but withers in the heat of the day. It should stand alone. What does the seed do? Martin G. Collins Though it seemed small at the moment, God was working! So, in the first half of this chapter, Jesus is saying, "Look, My disciples, this is the plan that you must fight against. The apostle Paul similarly wrote: “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. [8] Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, But is this correct? 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. In verse 19, instead of saying "birds of the air," Jesus interprets them as "the wicked one"devouring the seed. 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. 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. There was no need to fear the king or any other source of opposition. . The Parable of the Mustard Seed is found in three Gospels: Matthew 13:31-32, Mark 4:31-32 and Luke 13:18-19. These "birds," demons led by "the prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2), have continually tried to infiltrate the church. Again, the field is the world. The first parable, The Sower, and the eighth, The Householder, are key, the first introducing and anticipating all of the parables, and the last concluding and reflecting back on the whole, stating the church's purpose and duty under the authority of Jesus Christ. Other seed falls on good ground and produces much fruit. In 87 out of 88 times, it means something bad, but here in Matthew 13, leaven is positive. They are the eyes of the Lord, which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth” (Zechariah 4:10 Zechariah 4:10For who has despised the day of small things? They were interfering between God and man, trying to defile Abraham's sacrifice. [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: The apostles wanted more faith so they could meet the challenges of God's demands, but Jesus knew that it was not quantity they needed but quality. The parable focuses on this idea of smallness. Christians are just the kernels, the beginnings, the "itty bits" that God starts with. Eventually, it called itself the Roman Catholic Church, and later produced Protestant daughter churches whose doctrines are rooted in Catholicism. Matthew begins with this brief dialogue by Jesus: Prophecies concerning the birth, life and death of Jesus the Messiah had yet to be fulfilled. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?" The Kingdom is supposed to be glorious and pure, and Jesus is telling us that the Kingdom is full of leaven. Does this help you to begin to make some sense of what may be missing in your present life? (“The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed”). If Jesus told us that the Kingdom of God was like leaven in bread, what would we think? Let’s examine what we can learn from the parable. He enjoys hunting, travel and reading and spending time with his grandchildren. The apostles, and the church Jesus would build, would bring forth a treasure of knowledge and understanding, "things new and old.". The parable focuses on this idea of smallness. Jesus uttered the parable in… An overview of Matthew 13 is essential, because we need to understand the whole context to see what Jesus was trying to get across to us. “The Kingdom of God…is like a grain of mustard seed” (v. 31a). The titles of these three sections give an idea of what Jesus emphasizes in Matthew 13. Notice the comment Matthew makes following the first section. We have to substitute kingdom for apple tree to understand the analogy here. In his version, Mark uses the specific word "Satan," and similarly, Luke has "the Devil.". Verse 31 is very clear. What became of the true church? I am with you, but you have to work! To repent in a biblical sense means to look into the mirror of God’s perfect law of liberty and ask if you are a hearer or a doer of the Word of God (James 1:22-25 James 1:22-25 [22] But be you doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. This plant ceased to be God's church when it perverted its doctrines and objectives, moving beyond God's intended limits. The problem with this understanding is context. American King James Version×). . Parables of Matthew 13 (Part Four): The Parable of the Mustard Seed. All varieties of the mustard family, which are herbs, have thin, pulpy—not woody—stems and branches. The second section consists of the next three parables: the Parable of the Hidden Treasure, the Parable of the Pearl of Great Price, and the Parable of the Dragnet. However, this parable contains more than this important truth. Mark connects them with "Satan" (Mark 4:4, 15), and Luke links them to "the devil" (Luke 8:5, 12). This power of life and faith is available when people realize they don’t have the real power of God inherent within them. American King James Version×). The seed is the means by which an apple tree reproduces itself, and by it the tree expands its domain, as it were. The common interpretation of the Parable of the Mustard Seed is that the mustard seed represents the Kingdom of God, which begins tiny, and over time, expands or grows into a worldwide system, becoming the home for many nations or many people. Only Christ's disciples can really understand the true spiritual principles involved in the parables, "because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven" (verse 11). How about you? Luke 13:20-21). Because of its minuteness, the mustard seed came to symbolize small beginnings, denoting the smallest weight or measure, a tiny particle. I receive a lot of questions from people asking, “What’s that?”, Telling them it’s a mustard seed gives me an opportunity to relate a short parable of Jesus Christ where He used a mustard seed to explain the Kingdom of God. Privacy Policy  Terms of Use. Distract them. Jesus Christ’s parable of a tiny seed yields big lessons and can have a huge impact on your life! A particular Bible translation may divide the chapter into only seven parables, but there are eight parables in Matthew 13. That was the first step in Satan's plan—"Get them while they're young"—and he has been doing the same thing ever since. They show Christ working through His messengers to preach the gospel of the Kingdom between the time of His first and second comings. ", Richard T. Ritenbaugh . Portrayals of nature scenes provided Him with analogies with which to express spiritual truth. Christ is preparing places for His followers in His coming Kingdom. Demons! The mustard seed cannot be the Kingdom of God. 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. 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. 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. (From Forerunner Commentary). 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. before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace to it. 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