Mustard Tree

January 2, 2021

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" (Matthew 13:31-32).

To better understand this parable a person has to be familiar with the mustard plant to which Jesus refers. It is quite different from the mustard plants we are familiar with in the U.S. 

Despite its small size (1-3mm), one tiny mustard seed can produce a mustard plant 5-6ft. tall. Some white and brown mustard seeds will produce a mustard tree up to 15ft. tall. Mustard plants are herbs used as a spice when its seeds are crushed to make a common condiment called mustard. The African mustard bush feeds livestock and is used for medicinal purposes. It can grow up to 13ft. tall with a 20ft. spread of leaves. 

Jesus said the mustard seed would grow to be greater than the herbs (5-6ft.) and become a tree (15ft.). Most mustard seeds were planted and harvested for consumption. Some plants were not harvested and grew into trees, which everyone who heard the parable understood.

The point of the parable is to reveal that the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, though beginning very small - with Jesus Himself - will grow very large to include an innumerable multitude. After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" (Revelation 7:9-10).

It is a blessing of great joy to know that the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ is eternal and cannot be conquered, cannot be destroyed, cannot pass away. It is in that Kingdom that every Christian is a citizen forever. It is that Kingdom that will be established on earth one day. It is that Kingdom that will encompass the entire earth when our Lord destroys the old heaven and earth and establishes the new (Revelation 21:1-3).

“Thank You, Lord Jesus, for this wonderful parable that teaches me how great Your Kingdom truly is. It is a great privilege to be counted among the multitudes that inhabit Your Kingdom now and forever. May the new song of praise sung around Your throne in eternity be sung even now in my soul and spirit. To Your honor and glory I ask, Amen.”


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