Just Some Random Thoughts About The Bible
Tuesday, May 10, 2022
- Try to forget everything you’ve ever been taught about the parable of the mustard seed for a moment. I’d like you to look at what Jesus says, and then think about what He is describing.“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” (Matthew 13:21-32)What do we know about the mustard seed and what comes from it? We know that it becomes like a large bush or tree, taking over everything in the garden. The plant bears no fruit. Birds nest in it. Then it dies after a year and has to be uprooted and replanted.Does any of this sound like something you would want in your garden?In Matthew 7:19, Jesus tells us “every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” In Matthew 13:19, He says the birds represent the evil one that snatches away the good seed. Did His definition of the birds of the air change from verse 19 to verse 21?Here is a typical explanation the church gives for this parable:“This was to show that although Christianity had very small beginnings in Jesus, a day was coming when it would grow into a worldwide community of believers (roughly two billion today) and its greatness and impact would be seen by the whole world.”What does the church get right in their explanation?The mustard seed represents “faith”, based on other words of Jesus. Faith alone, which is the gospel that Paul taught, has resulted in modern Christianity: billions of believers, believing in the wrong thing. Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14) Two billion people does not sound like “few”.The tree that develops from the mustard seed grows fast and large, the evil one rests in its branches, and it dies off at the end of the season. The common explanation may be more right than wrong; this parable does seem to be speaking about the church. But I think it’s a warning from Jesus, not adulation.