The parable of the mustard seed is one of my favorite parables of Jesus because it exemplifies a theory about what and why Jesus used parables. It also give me a chance to tell a true life “parable” of my own. So, here goes.
Parables were stories Jesus told about things very familiar to his readers (so he didn’t have to explain certain things in the story), but it challenged the hears to understand “how the Kingdom of God was like” something very familiar to them, in this case a mustard seed plant. This plant is not the mustard plant we have in the USA but, in reality, a big ugly weed that could grow and spread wildly. Sometimes, you had to control its growth. So, how is the Kingdom of God like a big, ugly weed? In a parable there could be a number of “correct” answers. Jesus wanted the people to figure it out.
This leads me to my parable. When I first got here from London and moved into my new home, I wanted a flower bed put in the front of the house and I had to go to Bethesda for senior leadership training. So, a friend “took care of it” for me while I was away. When I got back, the beds and shrubs and flowers were in. There was a small. low to the ground shrub. There were a lot of them. I was told it was “monkey grass.” Well, the monkey grass shoots were popping up all over the place, especially in places where it was interfering with other plants. I wound up transplanting many of them to the back yard where I didn’t care if they “took over” the beds.
So, back to Jesus’ parable. If He had said that the Kingdom of God was like a Cedar of Lebanon, I think we could explain how it was: large and majestic. So, how do you think the Kingdom of God is like a big weed?