Summary: Parable of Mustard Seed & Narrow Door (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email:

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Reading: Luke chapter 13 verses 18 to 30.


• The story is told of a little Jimmy who came home from school;

• And asked his parents ‘the’ question they all dread to hear;

• “Dad, where did I come from?”

• Dad in his wisdom replied; “Good question, go ask your mother!”

• So off he went to find his mother;

• When he found her he said: “Mum, where did I come from?”

• She replied; “Good question, go ask your father!”

• Jimmy replied; “I’ve asked him and he sent me to you!!

• Mum sits Jimmy down and starts to explain the story of the ‘birds and the bees’ etc;

• Very quickly she has explained the facts of life to l Little Jimmy.

• He sat there listening;

• His eyes getting wider and wider, his mouth falls further and further open.

• When she had finished she asked Jimmy; “Does that help?”

• He replied; “No really, my friend Mikey says he is from Portsmouth. Where did I come from?”

• Sometimes you have to know what is behind the question being asked;

• In order to understand the question in the first place.

• The same is true this morning for the questions asked our passage.

• But to each question, Jesus gives a straight answer.

Straight talk about the kingdom

• A subject every first century Jew was interested in was the ‘Kingdom of God’.

• Don’t forget that the Jewish people were a people under Roman oppression.

• And like any oppressed people they desperately wanted their freedom;

• They believed that the freedom they were eager to experience;

• Would ultimately come when the Messiah came.

• He would overthrow their enemies and set up his kingdom – i.e. ‘Kingdom of God’.

Now in this section this evening Jesus asks a couple of questions (verse 18):

• “What is the Kingdom of God like?”

• “What shall I compare it to?”

• The expression “Kingdom of God” is a broad concept that is difficult to define simply.

• In simply means where ‘God the King is ruling’.


• In the Old Testament the Kingdom of God was God ruling in the midst of his people.

• Ill: God was the nations king made them unique but they wanted an earthly king – Saul.


• In the New Testament the Kingdom of God is God ruling in the lives of believers.

• Ill: Jesus taught Luke chapter 17 verse 21: “The kingdom of God is within you (his followers)”.


• In a future day, the Kingdom of God will literally be set up on planet earth (1,000yrs).

• Ill: Lord’s prayer – “Your kingdom come”.

In talking about the ‘Kingdom of God’ to his hearers:

• Jesus uses two illustrations (vs 18 & 20);

• illustrations that have nothing to do with great empires (earthly domains) but with everyday objects.

(a). Like a mustard seed (vs 19).

18Then Jesus asked, "What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to?

19It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches."

• “Small as a mustard seed” was a common expression used by the Rabbis.

• It was used to describe something minute, something miniscule.

• Ill: the smallest drop of ink, so small you can hardly see it.

• Ill: if you pricked your finger – the smallest drop of blood.


• A mustard seed was so small it can easily get lost in your hand.

• It would take 20,000 mustard seeds to weigh just one ounce.

• The seeds came from the mustard plant which had very bright, brilliant yellow flowers;

• And this plant can grow to be over 9 feet tall.

• It can grow big and strong enough;

• That a tiny bird could choose to build its nest in its branches.


• Jesus does not give an interpretation to these parables;

• Maybe they were so obvious his hearers fully understood what he meant.

• Or maybe like a time bomb;

• They would have to wait for a later time when the truth would explode in their minds.


• Jesus was telling his hearers that God’s kingdom begins as something insignificant.

• But like that seed, the Kingdom is alive and although it starts small, it grows.


• That’s true the church of Jesus Christ.

• Jesus started with only 12 men, and one of them was a fake.

• He told them to change the world–that’s a pretty small seed.

• Yet today there are over 2 billion Christians in the world.

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