It is what He plants in us to draw us out of this world and gives us an opportunity for salvation. 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. Wives could grasp His word pictures from home life. God calls (John 6:44), but He draws them to Christ. Adam and Eve sinned. 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. American King James Version×). His parable is about the kingdom of God and is illustrated by the seed. Second Pair: The Mustard Seed (verse 31) represents the dynamic growth of the church from small beginnings even while adversaries confront it. 7-10). How does it begin? . In the parables, Jesus gives the disciples the symbols' narrow meanings. The mustard plant is always a shrub. Never underestimate the power of God’s Spirit to begin and to finish His perfect work in you. What became of the true church? THE PLANT ITSELF... 1. His method stands in sharp contrast to the involved and lengthy style of some Bible commentators. Parable of the Mustard Seed The message to Zerubbabel and the people is clear: Don’t worry about your small numbers and your insignificant position. The message was one of encouragement that God was with the fledgling community and that the people’s work would be successful, yet they had to continue. However, this kind [of powerful demon] does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:20-21 Matthew 17:20-21 [20] And Jesus said to them, Because of your unbelief: for truly I say to you, If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you. I am with you, but you have to work! In the parable, Jesus predicts the birds of the air would lodge in the branches. Just like the mustard plant grows tall and wide, the kingdom of God spread in every direction. © 1995–2021 All correspondence and questions should be sent to info@ucg.org. [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. 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. These "birds," demons led by "the prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2), have continually tried to infiltrate the church. What the Bible says about This daily newsletter provides a starting point for personal study, and gives valuable insight into the verses that make up the Word of God. Are you at that point yet? Normally the mustard plant grows to be four to six feet tall with spindly branches. What could it be? Matthew 13:34 applies specifically to what Jesus had just said, but it also applies generally to all the parables. When Jesus finished the first seven parables, He asked His disciples, "Have you understood all these things?" The mustard seed stands for the progress of the church from small beginnings. He reiterates in Matthew 20:16 that few are chosen. Matthew expands Mark’s simple scheme into a 7 parable unit. In this parable, the small seed is the church, which appeared as the firstfruits of the Word. 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). Leaven must still be negative here. 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. Just like the mustard plant produces more seeds for planting, the disciples made more disciples. If Jesus told us that the Kingdom of God was like leaven in bread, what would we think? American King James Version×). 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 Pearl (verse 45) represents the preciousness of the church to Christ, who sacrifices everything to acquire it. The parable of leaven describes the internal characteristics of the kingdom. The Parable of the Mustard Seed is found in Mark 4:30-32; Matt. 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. However, its insignificance in size is overshadowed by the size of its fruit. • Finally, Jesus tells a parable that helps the disciples to understand their high calling. The third section is the last parable, the Parable of the Householder, who takes out of his treasury both old and new. Hallelujah! It is the truth, the knowledge of God, the gospel, the whole counsel of God. That grace which leads the soul to the fullness of glory may begin, and often does, in a single good desire - a wish to escape hell, or a desire to enjoy God in heaven. Is the Kingdom evil? 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. 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. Again, the field is the world. Verse 31 is very clear. New International Version 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. 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. God’s plan of salvation has different stages. Get that sin out, so you can repent." 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. Romans 9:27 quotes Isaiah saying that the remnant will be saved. Whereunto shall we liken] This method of asking a question before beginning a discourse was not unknown to the Rabbis. No, because the word "seed" has been modified in both of these occasions. The mustard seed is something small that does its part to expand in preparation for the Kingdom of God. 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. [8] Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, In verse 19, instead of saying "birds of the air," Jesus interprets them as "the wicked one"devouring the seed. But God accepts them because the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin (I John 1:7). We learn in the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares that a seed is the means by which a plant grows and reproduces itself. God promises the power to turn from sin and to obey Him in all parts of life. (From Forerunner Commentary). A particular Bible translation may divide the chapter into only seven parables, but there are eight parables in Matthew 13. 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×). In 87 out of 88 times, it means something bad, but here in Matthew 13, leaven is positive. Is it full of sin? At that moment the Jews were the remnant of the covenant nation of Israel. It became a counterfeit of the true church, appropriating the name "Christian" and blending or syncretizing pagan mystery religions with Christianity. His answer connects to our parable. Opposition and criticism had hindered them. 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). “The Kingdom of God…is like a grain of mustard seed” (v. 31a). These four parables describe the outward characteristics of the church, the working of the mystery of sin against the church, and the extent to which the Evil One is allowed to go in his opposition. In other words, it is sin. . Christ is preparing places for His followers in His coming Kingdom. 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. Demons! What is step one of Satan's plan against the church? The power of the returned Jewish exiles was very small at this moment. In Luke 12:1, Jesus says that the leaven of the Pharisees is hypocrisy—hypocrisy in religion. God gives the power of the Holy Spirit to work faith and righteousness in His chosen people. 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). Send inquiries regarding the operation of this Web site to webmaster@ucg.org. They were interfering between God and man, trying to defile Abraham's sacrifice. Jesus touches on this in the first parable. The parable focuses on this idea of smallness. Jesus calls says that "the good seed" are "the sons of the kingdom." 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). In Psalm 78:2, it does not say, "I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world." God’s purpose would stand. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?" Eventually, it called itself the Roman Catholic Church, and later produced Protestant daughter churches whose doctrines are rooted in Catholicism. “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 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”(Matthew 13:31-32). Jesus used pictures that fit the occasion in a way that preserved their naturalness. 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. It is the mighty power by which He raised Jesus from the dead. In Luke 10:2, when He sends the seventy out, He says the laborers are few. 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. Let’s examine what we can learn from the parable. The parable is that mustard is the least among seed, yet grows to become a huge mustard plant that provides shelter for many birds. Most of the time, it does not grow past six feet. The third section can be titled "The Ministry's Duty to the Church.". After the eighth parable, Matthew makes another concluding statement, ". What is a seed? [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. 13:31-32) reveals some of these divine attributes, particularly as it relates to the growth of the kingdom. However, it is not a tree; it is a mustard plant. THE MUSTARD SEED A. Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a mustard seed. In the Levitical sacrifices, no leaven could be in any of the offerings that were made (Leviticus 2:11), because they typified the sinless Christ. However, the "mustard seed" is a bit more controversial. 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. 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.” ― Mark 4:30-32, English Standard Version He said therefore, “… (Matthew records Jesus using the term “kingdom of heaven” as a euphemism for “kingdom of God” because religious Jews of that time didn’t speak the name of God out of reverence and lest they break the Third Commandment against taking God’s name in vain. It does not grow a thick trunk and large branches. Just before the day of Pentecost in AD 31, Acts 1:15 puts the number of disciples - or perhaps families - at about a hundred and twenty. 31 He put another parable before them, saying, z “The kingdom of heaven is like a a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. ‘Who are you, O great mountain? 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). Distract them. But even if it grows to fifteen feet, does the mustard plant become a tree? What, then, is the mustard seed? 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. Hidden within it is a warning about the perversion of the church's method of growth and of satanic attacks upon it. But is this correct? It does not make sense for a God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Upon the unsuspecting early church, Satan moved quickly to implant his agents in it to teach false doctrine while appearing to be true Christians. 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.” And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? 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. 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.". Everyone agrees that the man - the sower - is Jesus Christ, as in the Parable of the Tares. The seed is the product of the plant, and the seed is also the means by which the plant is reproduced. Because of its minuteness, the mustard seed came to symbolize small beginnings, denoting the smallest weight or measure, a tiny particle. How can this be? What the Bible says about Notice the comment Matthew makes following the first section. 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). So we have to go back before the throne of grace and plead for mercy and forgiveness again and again and again—even up until the time that we die or we are changed. “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 is this large mustard tree in which, apparently, demons are welcome? Notice Genesis 15:11, where Abraham is making a covenant with God: "And when the vultures came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away." The problem with this understanding is context. These can only be Satanic things, bad, negative things inspired by the Devil. In fact, the bush is as large as some trees in the region. The chapter contains eight parables. Jesus gave clear and precise illustrations to which His audience could relate. 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. In the Greek, the word for it is sinapi, the common word for "mustard." Consider the church from this vantage point. 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. Jesus Christ’s parable of a tiny seed yields big lessons and can have a huge impact on your life! It is nothing like a tree. Putting these three verses together, this is how he defines leaven, as "a persuasion that does not come from God." Merchants could relate to illustrations from the business world that translated into spiritual principles. And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”’” . Usually the eighth is combined with the seventh parable. Does this help you to begin to make some sense of what may be missing in your present life? They dwell there in peace, safety, and harmony. 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." But the message, as usual, is quite large and filled with profound insight. But we need to remember that Jesus was seeing what would happen between the time He died and the time He returned. 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. In its most basic sense, it is a symbol of corruption, which has a tendency to multiply and spread like yeast. The Mustard Seed and the Leaven. Persecute them. The seed is the means by which an apple tree reproduces itself, and by it the tree expands its domain, as it were. Matthew begins with this brief dialogue by Jesus: 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. God promises that there would be no Abraham around, as it were, to fend off the birds. But God’s plan will not be hindered. We would expect Christ to come as a mighty warrior, but he comes instead as an infant. This daily newsletter provides a starting point for personal study, and gives valuable insight into the verses that make up the Word of God. [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 and lodge in the branches thereof. 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. 31 He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. For these seven rejoice to see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. (“The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed”). God was effectively saying to the leaders, You have begun the work; keep at it and you’ll finish it. They must receive it from God. Consider also the small pinch of hairs that Ezekiel stuck in his pocket, and then he took some of them out and burned them in the fire too! The Parable of the Mustard Seed is found in three Gospels: Matthew 13:31-32, Mark 4:31-32 and Luke 13:18-19. They show Christ working through His messengers to preach the gospel of the Kingdom between the time of His first and second comings. 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. The Parable of the Growing Seed portrays an important … Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Frankly, without that power none of us can expect to see the Kingdom of God. 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×). LUKE 17:5-6. An apple tree produces apples, and in the middle of an apple is a bunch of little seeds. The parable focuses on this idea of smallness. 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. Everywhere else in the Bible where the word "leaven" or "unleavened" appears, "leaven" carries with it a negative implication. Smaller seeds than those of the mustard plant exist, but Jesus is not making an absolute statement on the size of seeds. They have two sons, who are both married, and four grandchildren. 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. In verse 7, Paul says, in essence, "You are supposed to be pure. Parables of Matthew 13 (Part One): Introduction, It does not sound good that the birds eat the seed—and it is not. [8] We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; [24] For he beholds himself, and goes his way, and straightway forgets what manner of man he was. American King James Version×)—drawing closer to God. 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 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. These eight parables can be divided into three sections. That describes a kingdom destined for remarkable growth [To appreciate the point of the parable, some background information may be helpful on...] I. Parables of Matthew 13 (Part 2): Leaven. Jesus clearly says that the seed is "the word of the kingdom" (verse 19). In a vision of the temple, Zechariah saw lampstands, a bowl and olive trees. ), 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: What happened at the foundation of the world? 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). The Leaven (verse 33) represents the progress of the church against and despite the contagious outspread of sin. This parable begins with the standard comparison of one thing with another. Parables of Matthew 13 (Part Four): The Parable of the Mustard Seed. Tiny leaven, big loaf is intended for us, as well. Privacy Policy  Terms of Use. 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. It will grow and expand, including both Christians and non-Christians. When the mustard plant mutated from its original form, God replanted His true church in another corner of the field, beginning the process anew. 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. Satan's plan to destroy God's plan of salvation, which He is fulfilling through the church. The Treasure and Pearl parables can emphasize both the cost of discipleship needed from … So, in the first half of this chapter, Jesus is saying, "Look, My disciples, this is the plan that you must fight against. 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.’”. ", Richard T. Ritenbaugh Luke 13:19 describes it as "a large tree," yet the natural mustard plant is not "a large tree" by any stretch of the imagination. 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 … Answer: Jesus’ Parable of the Leaven is found in two of the Gospels. Parallel passages: Mark 4:30-32; Luke 13:18, 19. We have to substitute kingdom for apple tree to understand the analogy here. 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. In a way, the eighth follows the seventh, but it is a parable in its own right. . 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. Because of its minuteness, the mustard seed came to symbolize small beginnings, denoting the smallest weight or measure, a tiny particle. They hadn’t been able to overcome the dark power of the demonic world and came to Christ asking what they were doing wrong. Other seed falls on good ground and produces much fruit. God does His work among men by the power of His Holy Spirit. In Palestine, the mustard seed was associated with the smallest of things. 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. It is instead an agent of the Kingdom of God at work to make the Kingdom of God grow and expand. So, then, what is leaven? A mustard plant, if it is planted in a perfect spot with perfect nutrients, perfect light, perfect irrigation, etc., has been found to grow up to about 15 feet (5 meters) tall. The mustard seed stands for the progress of the church from small beginnings. Then the prophet adds another thought from God: “For who has despised the day of small things? It means to stop living the way that brings problems, heartache and tragedy and ends in broken lives that are hard to fix. 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. Darris is the Associate Media Producer for the Church. God’s Kingdom is like a grain of mustard seed. 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. 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. 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