Summary: Part of the series on the Parables of Jesus - Parable of the Mustard Seed and Leaven
Grace – 5 – Parable of Mustard Seed and Leaven
We have been working our way through the parables of Jesus. This week we look at the parable of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast in Matt 13
• The theme of these early parables of Jesus is “The Kingdom”. They are called this because they begin with the phrase, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like……”
• So far we have looked at the parable of the Sower and the parable of the Wheat and the Tares
• And like the first two parables Jesus uses agricultural principles like planting, growth and harvest to describe how the kingdom is going to grow in the world
• Matthew 13:31-33 (NABWRNT)31 He proposed another parable to them. “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field.
• As we learned in the parables of the Sower, the seed is the key ingredient to the success of the operation
• Luke (Luke 8:11) tells us that the seed is the Word of God – the Logos, Jesus Christ
• And in that story it is the seed that bring forth the fruit, some 30, 60, or 100 fold
• The key to the success of the operation is the seed, not the soil
• And so it is here as well, the seed is planted and it grows by invisible design under the control of the Invisible Designer
• 32 It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants.
• I’ve not seen a mustard tree but it isn’t a big impressive tree like an oak
• But in the world of herbs, apparently the mustard tree is one of the largest
• It becomes a large bush, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.’”
• In Daniel 4 we have a similar story about a great tree and if we look at this story we can see the comparison Jesus is drawing in His parable of the Kingdom of God
• King Nebuchadnezzar has a dream about a huge tree in a field where the animals and birds come to make their homes
• Then it is cut down and a band put around the trunk for 7 years. After that the band is loosed and the tree begins to grow again
• The King is perturbed by the dream and so asks Daniel to interpret
• Daniel 4:19-22 (NLT)“Upon hearing this, Daniel (also known as Belteshazzar) was overcome for a time, aghast at the meaning of the dream. Finally, the king said to him, ‘Belteshazzar, don’t be alarmed by the dream and what it means.’ “Belteshazzar replied, “Oh, how I wish the events foreshadowed in this dream would happen to your enemies, my lord, and not to you! 20 You saw a tree growing very tall and strong, reaching high into the heavens for all the world to see. 21 It had fresh green leaves, and it was loaded with fruit for all to eat. Wild animals lived in its shade, and birds nested in its branches. 22 That tree, Your Majesty, is you. For you have grown strong and great; your greatness reaches up to heaven, and your rule to the ends of the earth.
• So what did the great tree in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream represent? His Kingdom
• And within that kingdom the people of his empire pictured by the wild animals and birds lived in physical peace and prosperity
• So what is the comparison Jesus is making – the growing of his Kingdom on this earth under which all peoples of the world will eventually find spiritual peace and prosperity
But it starts off with humble beginnings – one small seed is planted on the earth.
• Who is that one seed? Jesus Christ
• Then it grew to 13 with the calling of the disciples
• Then to 120 on the day of Pentecost – still small enough to all fit in one room (Acts 1:15)
• But since then the message of grace has spread to the ends of the earth so that now there are over two billion Christians living off the provision of that tree – “I am the vine you are the branches” John 15:5
• But it all started when Jesus, the Seed, was lifted up on the cross and He prophesied in John 12 what would happen
• John 12:32 (NRSV)32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
• And what was it that Jesus was lifted up on? A tree
• Eventually somehow, someway, all peoples will be given the opportunity to live under the shade and provision of that tree