What was kept secret from the foundation of the world? It is the truth, the knowledge of God, the gospel, the whole counsel of God. 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. Also, in this unit Luke’s mustard seed parable functions as a commentary on a healing that arouses synagogue opposition. 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. This looks good and true on the surface, but after analyzing the symbols, we will see that it is incorrect. However, this parable contains more than this important truth. ", Richard T. Ritenbaugh So, in the first half of this chapter, Jesus is saying, "Look, My disciples, this is the plan that you must fight against. If Jesus told us that the Kingdom of God was like leaven in bread, what would we think? New International Version 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. This small outpost of Jews was completely at the mercy of the great Persian Empire and its king, Cyrus. . What could it be? Normally the mustard plant grows to be four to six feet tall with spindly branches. But God’s plan will not be hindered. In verse 7, Paul says, in essence, "You are supposed to be pure. God’s Spirit must be a part of our life. . 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×). The mustard seed stands for the progress of the church from small beginnings. The parable focuses on this idea of smallness. This parable is also found in Matthew 13:31-32 and Luke 13:18-19. In the Greek, the word for it is sinapi, the common word for "mustard." Jesus uttered the parable in… In Psalm 78:2, it does not say, "I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world." Matthew begins with this brief dialogue by Jesus: 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. The parable of leaven describes the internal characteristics of the kingdom. It does not make sense for a God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Yeshua is comparing the kingdom of heaven to a very s… Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! 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. Frankly, without that power none of us can expect to see the Kingdom of God. "Birds of the air" is a negative symbol. 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 … Nothing that we do can be considered to be above and beyond the call of duty (vv. The mustard seed represents something small that does its part in expanding God's Kingdom. The third section can be titled "The Ministry's Duty to the Church.". . The third section is the last parable, the Parable of the Householder, who takes out of his treasury both old and new. Taken together, the stories describe the characteristics and dynamism of the church, its formidable obstacles, and its ultimate victory. 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). 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. 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. This is not a contradiction, for the overall meaning is the same. 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 Kingdom is supposed to be glorious and pure, and Jesus is telling us that the Kingdom is full of leaven. 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. These "birds," demons led by "the prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2), have continually tried to infiltrate the church. 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 Matthew 7:13-14, Christ says the way that leads to eternal life is difficult and narrow, and few find it. Jesus also spoke of common civic duties and social events. 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). Most of the time, commentators interpret this parable just as they interpret the Parable of the Mustard Seed—that the Kingdom would grow big and eventually encompass the whole earth, and everything would be great. 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.". But is this correct? The seed is the product of the plant, and the seed is also the means by which the plant is reproduced. Jesus calls says that "the good seed" are "the sons of the kingdom." The power is great and significant, but it starts small, like a mustard seed. 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 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). 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. They show Christ working through His messengers to preach the gospel of the Kingdom between the time of His first and second comings. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Parables of Matthew 13 (Part 1): The Mustard Seed. It means to stop living the way that brings problems, heartache and tragedy and ends in broken lives that are hard to fix. How about you? The leaven went throughout the Corinthian church. Because of its minuteness, the mustard seed came to symbolize small beginnings, denoting the smallest weight or measure, a tiny particle. American King James Version×). Most of the time, it does not grow past six feet. Tiny leaven, big loaf is intended for us, as well. 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. 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, “… 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. Yet, according to the commentators, this one case is the exception! My disciple friend, let Jesus speak encouragement and faith to … This mustard plant did something abnormal by growing beyond its design parameters; it became larger than what God designed as normal. © 1995–2021 All correspondence and questions should be sent to info@ucg.org. But the message, as usual, is quite large and filled with profound insight. Birds use the branches of … Martin G. Collins As is so often true, the Gospel begins differently than we would expect. 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. His method stands in sharp contrast to the involved and lengthy style of some Bible commentators. In Mark 8:15, He speaks of "the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod." Parables of Matthew 13 (Part Four): The Parable of the Mustard Seed. How does it begin? Then the prophet adds another thought from God: “For who has despised the day of small things? In its most basic sense, it is a symbol of corruption, which has a tendency to multiply and spread like yeast. In Luke 10:2, when He sends the seventy out, He says the laborers are few. 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. 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? What became of the true church? Though they were small, God was with them! The Parable of the Growing Seed portrays an important … Yet, in the area where Christ was speaking, it grows to a height of ten feet. He knows our frame and gives us grace (Psalm 103:14). God promises that there would be no Abraham around, as it were, to fend off the birds. What, then, is the mustard seed? 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). [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. 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. 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. 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.” 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. 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. Demons! That same power can work in us to produce fruit for the Kingdom of God. 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. 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. In this particular parable, the good seed represents the members of God's church, and the members of God's church are the means by which the Kingdom will grow throughout the whole earth. 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. Jesus is referring to those few who, upon their calling by God, voluntarily submit to God's dominion, the Kingdom of God. (“The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed”). The sower is Christ Himself. We know about the mustard seed. 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? McGarvey suggests the mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds sown in a garden. Again, the field is the world. What does the seed do? What the Bible says about Matthew 20:16 reiterates this by saying that few are chosen. Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a mustard seed. As the church grew from a tiny seed into a small mustard bush, it was as God designed it, but over time, it mutated into a large tree, something never intended by God. The answer is that the parable of the mustard seed describes the external growth of the kingdom. The parable of the mustard seed (Matt. Mark creates a 3 parable unit. He says, "The seed is the word" and later it is "the sons of the kingdom." The Parable of the Mustard Seed 30. Jesus gave clear and precise illustrations to which His audience could relate. It is almost unthinkable that the Kingdom of God would be full of leaven throughout. 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. Whereunto shall we liken] This method of asking a question before beginning a discourse was not unknown to the Rabbis. This is one point that people always get from this parable - that it is among the smallest of cultivated seeds. The mustard seed stands for the progress of the church from small beginnings. The mustard seed is something small that does its part to expand in preparation for the Kingdom of God. They try to get us when we are young in the church. Christ is preparing places for His followers in His Kingdom. It is the mighty power by which He raised Jesus from the dead. Parables of Matthew 13 (Part 2): Leaven. It will grow and expand, including both Christians and non-Christians. This parable begins with the standard comparison of one thing with another. He also is a resident faculty member at the Ambassador Bible Center teaching Acts, Fundamentals of Belief and World News and Prophecy. If you understand what is in these parables, you will have a pretty good idea of what is happening spiritually. Jesus is speaking of dark mysteries, dark things happening. He is referring to those who voluntarily submit to God's dominion (the Kingdom of God), and they are absolutely few indeed at this point in time - compared with fifty billion people who have lived on this earth. Just like the mustard plant produces more seeds for planting, the disciples made more disciples. They have two sons, who are both married, and four grandchildren. Birds are naturally attracted to the taste of the mustard seed. 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." We would expect Christ to come as a mighty warrior, but he comes instead as an infant. They were inspired by His Father in heaven, "[for] all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you" (John 15:15), therefore "blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears, for they hear" (Matthew 13:16). His parable is about the kingdom of God and is illustrated by the seed. 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 chapter contains eight parables. Now, with the parable of the mustard seed, Christ adds another dimension of understanding to His teaching about the Kingdom. Privacy Policy  Terms of Use. ), 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: This power of life and faith is available when people realize they don’t have the real power of God inherent within them. Eventually, it called itself the Roman Catholic Church, and later produced Protestant daughter churches whose doctrines are rooted in Catholicism. Adam and Eve sinned. After the eighth parable, Matthew makes another concluding statement, ". Matthew expands Mark’s simple scheme into a 7 parable unit. (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. Just like the mustard plant grows tall and wide, the kingdom of God spread in every direction. And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”’” . The seed is in a small clear case, and I can attach it to my suit jacket or sport coat to wear on the lapel. 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. See what over 150,000 subscribers are already receiving each day. God calls (John 6:44), but He draws them to Christ. 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. Precise illustrations to which His audience could relate was effectively saying to the church. will and! 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