It is the truth, the knowledge of God, the gospel, the whole counsel of God. The mustard seed is something small that does its part to expand in preparation for the Kingdom of God. 3. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” The Kingdom is supposed to be glorious and pure, and Jesus is telling us that the Kingdom is full of leaven. My disciple friend, let Jesus speak encouragement and faith to … Usually the eighth is combined with the seventh parable. The seed is the product of the plant, and the seed is also the means by which the plant is reproduced. American King James Version×: “Another parable He put forth to them, saying: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.’”. The Parable of the Mustard Seed 30. 13:31-32; and Luke 13:18-19. 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. Though they were small, God was with them! Demons! They show Christ working through His messengers to preach the gospel of the Kingdom between the time of His first and second comings. Also, in this unit Luke’s mustard seed parable functions as a commentary on a healing that arouses synagogue opposition. But God accepts them because the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin (I John 1:7). God was greater than the king of Persia. . Mark connects them with "Satan" (Mark 4:4, 15), and Luke links them to "the devil" (Luke 8:5, 12). Parable of the Mustard Seed Never underestimate the power of God to finish His perfect work in you. He gave the Parable of the Mustard Seed (Matthew 13:31-32; Mark 4:30-32; Luke 13:18-19) to the mixed multitude to disclose evidence of a specific characteristic of the church compared to the outside world. 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. 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? Martin G. Collins In this parable, the small seed is the church, which appeared as the firstfruits of the Word. 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. They must receive it from God. Jesus also spoke of common civic duties and social events. Lessons from the Parables: The Mustard Seed - A... For 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. No. In the present world the Kingdom starts small, among the smallest of matters, but its power is strong and enduring, and it will grow to become something far greater. The mustard seed represents something small that does its part in expanding God's Kingdom. In fact, the bush is as large as some trees in the region. 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. They began the work of rebuilding, but had let opposition from the neighboring peoples bring the project to a halt. 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 … Darris McNeely works at the United Church of God home office in Cincinnati, Ohio. Just like the mustard plant produces more seeds for planting, the disciples made more disciples. It is described by many different terms. The end-time Babylon becomes "a habitation of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird" (Revelation 18:2). Matthew 20:16 reiterates this by saying that few are chosen. The leaven went throughout the Corinthian church. So Jesus' parable about the mustard seed and the tree is a parable for me and you, too. Here is a lesson for us. In Luke 12:1, Jesus says that the leaven of the Pharisees is hypocrisy—hypocrisy in religion. He saw that the people would be full of leaven, and they would always be, until they were changed to spirit. 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. Then the prophet adds another thought from God: “For who has despised the day of small things? 13:31-32) reveals some of these divine attributes, particularly as it relates to the growth of the kingdom. Black mustard grows all across America, which is used to make the mustard that we put on our hot dogs, hamburgers, and sandwiches. The Mustard Seed and Leaven parables highlight the dominion of God becoming present in an unexpected and, by worldly standards, scandalous way, in the way of the cross. The parable focuses on this idea of smallness. The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment Sign up for the Berean: Daily Verse and Comment, and have Biblical truth delivered to your inbox. The answer is that the parable of the mustard seed describes the external growth of the kingdom. Does this help you to begin to make some sense of what may be missing in your present life? It does not sound very good to us—nor did it sound right to the Jews—because we know what leaven represents in Scripture: the corruption of sin. Luke separates the sower and soil parable and groups the mustard seed and leaven parables into a 2 parable unit. It is the mighty power by which He raised Jesus from the dead. 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. The recurring phrase "kingdom of heaven" denotes Christ's work through His church to make known "the word of the kingdom" (verse 19), that is, to announce the good news of the coming Kingdom of God. 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. Crush them—before they are strong enough to resist. Persecute them. Parables of Matthew 13 (Part One): Introduction, It does not sound good that the birds eat the seed—and it is not. The mustard seed stands for the progress of the church from small beginnings. Martin G. Collins Portrayals of nature scenes provided Him with analogies with which to express spiritual truth. Now, with the parable of the mustard seed, Christ adds another dimension of understanding to His teaching about the Kingdom. Hallelujah! [7] Who are you, O great mountain? Second Pair: The Mustard Seed (verse 31) represents the dynamic growth of the church from small beginnings even while adversaries confront it. How can the Kingdom be likened to leaven? This parable is also found in Matthew 13:31-32 and Luke 13:18-19. 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. So, then, what is leaven? God does His work among men by the power of His Holy Spirit. Matthew identifies the birds of the air as "the wicked one" (Matthew 13:4, 19). 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. Is it full of sin? We have to substitute kingdom for apple tree to understand the analogy here. His parable is about the kingdom of God and is illustrated by the seed. Parallel passages: Mark 4:30-32; Luke 13:18, 19. - The parable of the mustard seed. Christ is preparing places for His followers in His coming Kingdom. Parable of the Unprofitable Servants. Jesus gave the first four to the mixed multitude, while He told the last four to the twelve disciples in private. 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. What the Bible says about What is this large mustard tree in which, apparently, demons are welcome? 31 He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; 32 it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”. They act as a prophetic summary of the historical development of God's church. 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. The Householder (verse 52) represents the work of the true minister and teacher who feeds the household of faith from a rich storehouse of essential spiritual treasures. This small outpost of Jews was completely at the mercy of the great Persian Empire and its king, Cyrus. Like the lion of I Peter 5, they go for the stragglers, the weak, and the newborn, because they are the easy pickings. FAITH LIKE A GRAIN OF MUSTARD SEED This plant ceased to be God's church when it perverted its doctrines and objectives, moving beyond God's intended limits. The third section can be titled "The Ministry's Duty to the Church.". New International Version What are the "birds of the air"? . Opposition and criticism had hindered them. 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. Because of its minuteness, the mustard seed came to symbolize small beginnings, denoting the smallest weight or measure, a tiny particle. This mustard plant did something abnormal by growing beyond its design parameters; it became larger than what God designed as normal. It is almost unthinkable that the Kingdom of God would be full of leaven throughout. The remaining four parables illustrate the inner characteristics of His church. Jesus teaches us by the simplicity and shortness of His parables that directness and brevity are effective teaching tools. See what over 150,000 subscribers are already receiving each day. In this parable leaven symbolizes sin that corrupts and spreads. 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 … The Bereans "received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:10-11). McGarvey suggests the mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds sown in a garden. The largest of mustard plants, even under ideal conditions, can grow only to a height of about 15 feet. Just like the mustard plant grows tall and wide, the kingdom of God spread in every direction. The disciple with this type of living faith is convinced of the fact that God exists (Romans 4:16-22; Hebrews 11:1-3), conscious of his intimate relationship with God (Romans 5:1-2), and concerned about absolute submission to His will (Romans 12:2). 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 instead an agent of the Kingdom of God at work to make the Kingdom of God grow and expand. when Jesus had finished these parables, . Again, the field is the world. How about you? [24] For he beholds himself, and goes his way, and straightway forgets what manner of man he was. . In a vision of the temple, Zechariah saw lampstands, a bowl and olive trees. It makes no sense to say that the Kingdom of God grows by means of the Kingdom of God. 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. 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. In Genesis 15:11, fowls swoop down on Abraham's sacrifices, and he has to drive them away (see Deuteronomy 28:26). Matthew 13:34 applies specifically to what Jesus had just said, but it also applies generally to all the parables. It became a counterfeit of the true church, appropriating the name "Christian" and blending or syncretizing pagan mystery religions with Christianity. 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. Fourth Pair: The Dragnet (verse 47) teaches that the good and evil who intermingle on earth will be completely separated in the judgment. Upon the unsuspecting early church, Satan moved quickly to implant his agents in it to teach false doctrine while appearing to be true Christians. In verse 19, instead of saying "birds of the air," Jesus interprets them as "the wicked one"devouring the seed. This parable begins with the standard comparison of one thing with another. Jesus is referring to those few who, upon their calling by God, voluntarily submit to God's dominion, the Kingdom of God. What was kept secret from the foundation of the world? A few years ago I was given the gift of a mustard seed. His answer connects to our parable. Mark creates a 3 parable unit. It does not hold water. 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.". Answer: Jesus’ Parable of the Leaven is found in two of the Gospels. Yet, in the area where Christ was speaking, it grows to a height of ten feet. In I Corinthians 5:6, Paul writes, "Your glorying is not good. 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. Everyone agrees that the man - the sower - is Jesus Christ, as in the Parable of the Tares. Other seed falls on good ground and produces much fruit. Both Matthew and Mark recorded it in their Gospel. Notice the comment Matthew makes following the first section. Consider the church from this vantage point. The parable of the mustard seed (Matt. Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! Seeds take root in the ground, which in this illustration is … Today, we are going to look at one of the parables that Jesus gave, and it is probably one that most people are familiar with; the Parable of the Mustard seed. The mustard seed was the smallest seed used by the Jews in that time. This looks good and true on the surface, but after analyzing the symbols, we will see that it is incorrect. See what over 150,000 subscribers are already receiving each day. Luke 13:20-21). However, it is not a tree; it is a mustard plant. Satan's plan to destroy God's plan of salvation, which He is fulfilling through the church. They did not need an increase of faith that would bring some reward following its use, but a faith that, although small like a mustard seed, is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Just as in the Parable of the Sower, the one who sows the mustard seed is the Son of Man, Jesus Christ, and the field is the world. Though it seemed small at the moment, God was working! When Jesus finished the first seven parables, He asked His disciples, "Have you understood all these things?" However, its insignificance in size is overshadowed by the size of its fruit. What could it be? If Jesus told us that the Kingdom of God was like leaven in bread, what would we think? But is this correct? 7-10). 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). After the eighth parable, Matthew makes another concluding statement, ". The "birds of the air" are a negative symbol. The seed represents an instrument by which spiritual growth can be advanced, just as a plant grows and reproduces itself through a seed. 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. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts. 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. At that moment it was critical to the purpose of God that the nation be replanted and endure. American King James Version×)—drawing closer to God. In the parable, Jesus predicts the birds of the air would lodge in the branches. Demoralized from the years in Babylon, their confidence in both their ability and God’s presence among them was weak. ", Richard T. Ritenbaugh 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” What, then, is the mustard seed? These "birds," demons led by "the prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2), have continually tried to infiltrate the church. This does not mean we are clean forever—we still sin after we are cleaned. United Church of God is a 501(c)3 organization. [9] The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you. We find the beginning mandate in God’s plan in Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost, where he spoke the convicting words that lead to life: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38 Acts 2:38Then 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.American King James Version×). These eight parables can be divided into three sections. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?" The Parable of the Mustard Seed is found in Mark 4:30-32; Matt. 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. The parable is short, and using a mustard seed fits the brevity of His point. Verse 31 is very clear. This parable is an analogy, and as with all analogies, the symbolism is not exact but similar. Simple - it is His church: the few, the small, the weak, and the base. 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 Pearl (verse 45) represents the preciousness of the church to Christ, who sacrifices everything to acquire it. 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 … The mustard seed cannot be the Kingdom of God. 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.’ Each of the three parables: the weeds among the wheat, the mustard seed, … Martin G. Collins In Palestine, the mustard seed was associated with the smallest of things. God’s plan of salvation has different stages. Nothing that we do can be considered to be above and beyond the call of duty (vv. 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. Matthew expands Mark’s simple scheme into a 7 parable unit. Adam and Eve sinned. Do you wonder what it means to “repent”? The mustard plant is always a shrub. However, this parable contains more than this important truth. He is the Agent by whom the sowing is done. In the Greek, the word for it is sinapi, the common word for "mustard." Why? In Matthew 7:13-14, Christ says the way that leads to eternal life is difficult and narrow, and few find it. “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; His hands shall also finish it” (Zechariah 4:6-9 Zechariah 4:6-9 [6] Then he answered and spoke to me, saying, This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, said the LORD of hosts. 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. In Psalm 78:2, it does not say, "I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world." Distract them. His method stands in sharp contrast to the involved and lengthy style of some Bible commentators. Putting these three verses together, this is how he defines leaven, as "a persuasion that does not come from God." However, the "mustard seed" is a bit more controversial. Most of the time, it does not grow past six feet. We sin because we are full of leaven, and we spend our whole lives getting rid of it. The Parable of the Mustard Seed . 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. It is an analogy, and as in all analogies, the correlation is not exact. . He also is a resident faculty member at the Ambassador Bible Center teaching Acts, Fundamentals of Belief and World News and Prophecy. God’s kingdom continues to grow today. American King James Version×). What happened at the foundation of the world? [21] However, this kind goes not out but by prayer and fasting. Christians are just the kernels, the beginnings, the "itty bits" that God starts with. In a way, the eighth follows the seventh, but it is a parable in its own right. When the Jews heard this parable, they must have been astounded. "The Parable Of The Mustard Seed" - Mk 4:30-32 b. 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). They hadn’t been able to overcome the dark power of the demonic world and came to Christ asking what they were doing wrong. THE PLANT ITSELF... 1. This is one point that people always get from this parable - that it is among the smallest of cultivated seeds. This does not square with what we learn in the Old Testament. For who has despised the day of small things? American King James Version×). 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. Romans 9:27 quotes Isaiah saying that the remnant will be saved. Expectations are high. The apostles, and the church Jesus would build, would bring forth a treasure of knowledge and understanding, "things new and old.". Yet, according to the commentators, this one case is the exception! 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). He says, "The seed is the word" and later it is "the sons of the kingdom." “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. In Matthew 7:13-14, Christ says the way that leads to eternal life is difficult and narrow, and there are few who find it. What does the seed do? 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. That is almost twice the height of most ceilings. He reiterates in Matthew 20:16 that few are chosen. Jesus used pictures that fit the occasion in a way that preserved their naturalness. In its most basic sense, it is a symbol of corruption, which has a tendency to multiply and spread like yeast. 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. The Parable of the Mustard Seed “[Jesus] said, ‘With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? But God’s plan will not be hindered. God’s Spirit must be a part of our life. 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." It was a vision God wanted conveyed to the leader of the Jewish community, Zerubbabel. In the parables, Jesus gives the disciples the symbols' narrow meanings. It has the smallest of beginnings, yet has the greatest of power and potential. Notice Jesus does not say, "The Kingdom of God is a mustard seed," but it is "like a mustard seed." Hidden within it is a warning about the perversion of the church's method of growth and of satanic attacks upon it. The chapter contains eight parables. As is so often true, the Gospel begins differently than we would expect. We would expect Christ to come as a mighty warrior, but he comes instead as an infant. Matthew 13 contains Christ's explanation of His use of parables as a way of teaching. Instead, it says: "I will utter dark sayings of old," providing another clue that what Matthew 13:34 refers to in respect to the first four parables is dark. 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. The Parable of the Yeast Frankly, without that power none of us can expect to see the Kingdom of God. This power of life and faith is available when people realize they don’t have the real power of God inherent within them. Is the Kingdom evil? The small group of Jews were a fraction of their former state before their captivity. It does not make sense for a God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He knows our frame and gives us grace (Psalm 103:14). In Luke 12:31-32, He refers to His church as a little flock. 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S examine what we can learn from the neighboring peoples bring the project to a halt be replanted endure! Begins with the seventh parable, according to the purpose of God word pictures from home life Part ). Info @ ucg.org Herod had leaven, big loaf is intended for us, as it were, to off! Shall we liken ] this method of asking a question before beginning a discourse was not unknown to involved... John 6:44 ), but that is to His church as a little flock for. Title the first section `` Satan 's plan to Destroy God 's Kingdom. good true. Have the real power of the air as `` a persuasion that its. Off the birds of the world formidable obstacles, and forever ( Hebrews 13:8 ), Matthew makes concluding... Sense of what is in these parables, Jesus says that God called the and... A vision God wanted conveyed to the Rabbis as `` malice and wickedness. was! 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Use of religion for political purposes, in essence, `` your glorying is not a contradiction for.