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Read Introduction to Matthew

 

31Another 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, 32which 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.”

 

In rapid succession, Jesus fired off one parable after another. He now presented a third parable in this chapter, the parable of the mustard seed.

13:31

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,

Jesus drew an analogy between the kingdom of heaven and a mustard seed.

13:32

which indeed is the least of all the seeds;

The mustard seed is the smallest of garden seeds. Cypress tree seeds are smaller but the point is probably garden seeds here. The mustard seed is not the smallest absolutely but relatively, as seeds sown in the field. The kingdom of Jesus would have humble beginnings as a mustard seed. The kingdom was not large when Jesus was on earth. Israel viewed His ministry as dreadfully small.

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.”

A phenomenon occurs when the “least of all the seeds” grows into a tree. Mustard seeds normally grow 10-12 feet high—large enough for birds to nest in its branches. Eventually the kingdom would grow into something massive.

Jesus did not interpret this parable but the context shows that He was contrasting believers and unbelievers. Some interpret this parable to mean worldwide success of the gospel, but this interpretation rips the context from the parable. If the analogy of birds represents Satan and his demons, then the point was that Satan’s agents would contaminate the kingdom. There are many false doctrines in the church today.

PRINCIPLE:

We cannot equate largeness or growth with success, in God’s economy.

APPLICATION:

Christendom has many heresies under its umbrella today. Certain cults have had phenomenal growth but that does not make them true. Whenever we mix satanic systems of thought with Christianity, we get a hybrid Christianity. We get all kinds of “birds” identifying themselves with Christianity.

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