Luke 13:18–19 (LEB): Therefore he said, “What is the kingdom of God like, and to what shall I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his own garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the sky nested in its branches.”
Jesus uses parables to illustrate His teachings when we might not otherwise understand the lesson. He starts with something we are familiar with and then moves us to a new idea…or sometimes a very old idea that we have never grasped. This allows us to make a connection that we might otherwise miss, and then be able to share that lesson with others. The Parable of the Mustard Seed is an example of what it teaches – it is not a long story, but the lesson has large and lasting effects.
Jesus uses the way a seed is planted to show us the way God intends His kingdom to come. Many expected a mighty king who would lead them to victory over their perceived enemies, but that was not the plan. Jesus taught in this parable that God’s kingdom would grow from a group of faithful people working slowly but effectively day by day – the way a mustard plant grows from a tiny seed. This changes our thinking from conquest behind a military leader to cultivation that requires care over time, how God planned to save us all.
Today’s world is one of competition and contention, much like that of Jesus’ time. The lessons He taught are needed more than ever in a society that shouts at each other rather than listening, and threatens rather than comforts. We must remember that we are all made by God and are more alike than we are different.
Loving Lord, teach us to plant Your word everywhere we go, in everything we do, and to tend to our brothers and sisters. May our small actions using the gifts You give us help to bring Your kingdom for all of creation.