Title: Parable #4: The Parable of the Mustard Seed
Scriptures to Read: Mark 4:30-32; Matthew 13:31-32
Elements of this Parable
A man takes a mustard seed and plants it in his field. The word for field is ‘agros’, meaning area of cultivated ground. The mustard seed is the smallest of seeds, but when it is fully grown it is larger than the garden plants and Matthew says it becomes a tree and Mark says it forms large branches. The word for garden plants is ‘láchanon’, which means literally a plant in tilled ground, hence a garden plant, herb. So it conveys the idea of a plant or herb growing in a tilled garden.
What is the contrast made in this parable? The word “but” in Matthew’s account points it out to us: Although it begins as the smallest of seeds, the mustard plant grows to the size of a tree larger than all the garden plants. It becomes huge.
What is the result? The words “so that” at the end of the passage point out the result: “So that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” That is the figure drawn from everyday life: a plant that grows to monstrous proportions and becomes a nesting place for birds.
What are the realities represented by the elements of the parable?
1. The man who sowed the mustard seed is again the Son of Man, Jesus Himself.
2. The mustard seed is the Mystery Kingdom, Christendom.
3. The field is the world, as it is in the third parable.
4. The birds of the air, Jesus tells us in the first parable, are the agents of Satan.
The meaning of the parable
What, then, does this parable tell us about the Mystery Kingdom?
1. The first point is that there will be an abnormal external growth of the mystery kingdom until it becomes a monstrosity.
2. And secondly, this monstrosity becomes the nesting place for the agents of Satan.
Within Christendom we will find not only the true Bible believing church, but also various cult groups such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, and Mormonism. They all claim to believe in Jesus, but each cult group has one essential truth which they deny. They too, we are told, are within Christendom or the Mystery Kingdom.