[8] Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 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. Leaven must still be negative here. Parable of the Mustard Seed Matthew 13 contains Christ's explanation of His use of parables as a way of teaching. If you understand what is in these parables, you will have a pretty good idea of what is happening spiritually. 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.". [7] Who are you, O great mountain? Now, with the parable of the mustard seed, Christ adds another dimension of understanding to His teaching about the Kingdom. 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.’”. Parables of Matthew 13 (Part Four): The Parable of the Mustard Seed. The parable focuses on this idea of smallness. It will grow and expand, including both Christians and non-Christians. In Mark 8:15, He speaks of "the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod." Yet, in the area where Christ was speaking, it grows to a height of ten feet. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Everyone agrees that the man - the sower - is Jesus Christ, as in the Parable of the Tares. © 1995–2021 All correspondence and questions should be sent to info@ucg.org. When the Jews heard this parable, they must have been astounded. What, then, is the mustard seed? 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.” Jesus teaches us by the simplicity and shortness of His parables that directness and brevity are effective teaching tools. 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 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. As is so often true, the Gospel begins differently than we would expect. American King James Version×). Martin G. Collins These can only be Satanic things, bad, negative things inspired by the Devil. The Treasure and Pearl parables can emphasize both the cost of discipleship needed from … Privacy Policy  Terms of Use. Like the lion of I Peter 5, they go for the stragglers, the weak, and the newborn, because they are the easy pickings. God sent the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to stir them to renew their effort. In Genesis 15:11, fowls swoop down on Abraham's sacrifices, and he has to drive them away (see Deuteronomy 28:26). Parallel passages: Mark 4:30-32; Luke 13:18, 19. After the eighth parable, Matthew makes another concluding statement, ". It is almost unthinkable that the Kingdom of God would be full of leaven throughout. In Matthew 7:13-14, Christ says the way that leads to eternal life is difficult and narrow, and few find it. Like that mustard seed, that Spirit must be planted within us and begin to grow to produce spiritual growth. Answer: Jesus’ Parable of the Leaven is found in two of the Gospels. Notice the comment Matthew makes following the first section. 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. 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 … Jesus clearly says that the seed is "the word of the kingdom" (verse 19). The Kingdom Grows Like a Mustard Seed . In Matthew 13:34 is an explanation why the first four parables can be titled "Satan's Plan to Destroy the Church": All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: "I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.". Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a mustard seed. In Luke 12:31-32, He refers to His church as a little flock. See what over 150,000 subscribers are already receiving each day. What is the mustard plant? “The Kingdom of God…is like a grain of mustard seed” (v. 31a). Satan's plan to destroy God's plan of salvation, which He is fulfilling through the church. 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. Birds are naturally attracted to the taste of the mustard seed. Jesus Christ’s parable of a tiny seed yields big lessons and can have a huge impact on your life! 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. Matthew 20:16 reiterates this by saying that few are chosen. “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts. Though they were small, God was with them! when Jesus had finished these parables, . Matthew begins with this brief dialogue by Jesus: In a way, the eighth follows the seventh, but it is a parable in its own right. 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. [8] We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; It means to take an honest assessment of your life, even if you feel you are a Christian and know God, and compare that to the standard of righteousness defined by God’s law. 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 Bereans "received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:10-11). Smaller seeds than those of the mustard plant exist, but Jesus is not making an absolute statement on the size of seeds. It is what He plants in us to draw us out of this world and gives us an opportunity for salvation. In fact, the bush is as large as some trees in the region. Taken together, the stories describe the characteristics and dynamism of the church, its formidable obstacles, and its ultimate victory. Christ is preparing places for His followers in His Kingdom. The mustard seed represents something small that does its part in expanding God's Kingdom. Martin G. Collins 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×). 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). But the message, as usual, is quite large and filled with profound insight. Wives could grasp His word pictures from home life. 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. This is one point that people always get from this parable - that it is among the smallest of cultivated seeds. Adam and Eve sinned. What is a seed? How can the Kingdom be likened to leaven? It does not grow a thick trunk and large branches. . 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! Nothing that we do can be considered to be above and beyond the call of duty (vv. God calls (John 6:44), but He draws them to Christ. And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? The seed being referred to in the parable, then, is a seed that was sown agriculturally to produce something edible. . 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. American King James Version×). 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! He enjoys hunting, travel and reading and spending time with his grandchildren. Herod had leaven, too, and his was basically secularism or the use of religion for political purposes. In verse 7, Paul says, in essence, "You are supposed to be pure. Expectations are high. But we need to remember that Jesus was seeing what would happen between the time He died and the time He returned. How about you? Also, in this unit Luke’s mustard seed parable functions as a commentary on a healing that arouses synagogue opposition. 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. The mustard seed was the smallest seed used by the Jews in that time. They had stopped work on rebuilding the temple, the very purpose for their return from captivity in Babylon. He and his wife, Debbie, have served in the ministry for more than 43 years. The Parable of the Mustard Seed 30. 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. The "birds of the air" are a negative symbol. God’s purpose would stand. 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. Jesus is speaking of dark mysteries, dark things happening. The parable of leaven describes the internal characteristics of the kingdom. We would expect Christ to come as a mighty warrior, but he comes instead as an infant. This does not square with what we learn in the Old Testament. 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. However, the "mustard seed" is a bit more controversial. Israel had a special purpose in the hand of God, and though the nation had sinned and stumbled, God’s purpose and plan were sure. 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). ), 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: Through them, Jesus opens up matters that have been concealed from the foundation of the world. 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. 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. How does it begin? American King James Version×)—drawing closer to God. They hadn’t been able to overcome the dark power of the demonic world and came to Christ asking what they were doing wrong. At that moment the Jews were the remnant of the covenant nation of Israel. 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? . The mustard plant is always a shrub. 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. Send inquiries regarding the operation of this Web site to webmaster@ucg.org. Matthew identifies the birds of the air as "the wicked one" (Matthew 13:4, 19). The titles of these three sections give an idea of what Jesus emphasizes in Matthew 13. What does the seed do? Jesus is referring to those few who, upon their calling by God, voluntarily submit to God's dominion, the Kingdom of God. It is instead an agent of the Kingdom of God at work to make the Kingdom of God grow and expand. 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. Matthew expands Mark’s simple scheme into a 7 parable unit. It means to stop living the way that brings problems, heartache and tragedy and ends in broken lives that are hard to fix. Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! The Parable of the Growing Seed portrays an important … 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. Both Matthew and Mark recorded it in their Gospel. 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. It is described by many different terms. Get that sin out, so you can repent." In a vision of the temple, Zechariah saw lampstands, a bowl and olive trees. That describes a kingdom destined for remarkable growth [To appreciate the point of the parable, some background information may be helpful on...] I. In Psalm 78:2, it does not say, "I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world." Notice how Christ answered His disciples’ confusion over their lack of spiritual power. 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. Tiny leaven, big loaf is intended for us, as well. New International Version The seed is the means by which an apple tree reproduces itself, and by it the tree expands its domain, as it were. 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. Is it full of sin? A particular Bible translation may divide the chapter into only seven parables, but there are eight parables in Matthew 13. 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. Whereunto shall we liken] This method of asking a question before beginning a discourse was not unknown to the Rabbis. See what over 150,000 subscribers are already receiving each day. It does not make sense for a God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). There was no need to fear the king or any other source of opposition. 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 dwell there in peace, safety, and harmony. So Jesus' parable about the mustard seed and the tree is a parable for me and you, too. American King James Version×). Here is a lesson for us. Most of the time, it does not grow past six feet. The central thought of the parable is the growth of the kingdom of heaven considered externally. Yet, according to the commentators, this one case is the exception! Why? 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 … For who has despised the day of small things? Black mustard grows all across America, which is used to make the mustard that we put on our hot dogs, hamburgers, and sandwiches. 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. 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. The answer is that the parable of the mustard seed describes the external growth of the kingdom. THE MUSTARD SEED A. McGarvey suggests the mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds sown in a garden. Jesus uttered the parable in… Then the prophet adds another thought from God: “For who has despised the day of small things? 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). My disciple friend, let Jesus speak encouragement and faith to … 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? In Palestine, the mustard seed was associated with the smallest of things. 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. He also is a resident faculty member at the Ambassador Bible Center teaching Acts, Fundamentals of Belief and World News and Prophecy. The third section is the last parable, the Parable of the Householder, who takes out of his treasury both old and new. In the parables, Jesus gives the disciples the symbols' narrow meanings. The Tares (verse 24) represents the relationship of the church to the wicked one and his agents. He says, "The seed is the word" and later it is "the sons of the kingdom." Demoralized from the years in Babylon, their confidence in both their ability and God’s presence among them was weak. “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. This looks good and true on the surface, but after analyzing the symbols, we will see that it is incorrect. The small group of Jews were a fraction of their former state before their captivity. He knows our frame and gives us grace (Psalm 103:14). What was kept secret from the foundation of the world? What is this large mustard tree in which, apparently, demons are welcome? 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 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. 13:31-32) reveals some of these divine attributes, particularly as it relates to the growth of the kingdom. Distract them. 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. Farmers listened to pictures of agricultural life. 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). Notice Jesus does not say, "The Kingdom of God is a mustard seed," but it is "like a mustard seed." 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 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. 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. Yeshua is comparing the kingdom of heaven to a very s… 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. 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. 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. The parable of the mustard seed (Matt. We have to substitute kingdom for apple tree to understand the analogy here. 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. As is so often true, the Gospel, the Gospel of the Kingdom. square with what can. Who takes out of His use of religion for political purposes us grace ( Psalm 103:14 ) plants us! 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