Parable of the Mustard Seed

There are Christian and Buddhist parables entitled "The Mustard Seed." See the article on Kisa Gotami, a main character in the parable, and Buddhist texts for more information on Buddhist scripture.

In Christianity, Parable of the Mustard Seed is a parable that according to the Gospels of Luke (), and the non-canonical Thomas ( [http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/gosthom.html Thomas 20] ) was told by Jesus. Possible Hebrew Bible parallels are ,

Jesus also mentions the mustard seed again in Luke 17:6

The parable compares the Kingdom of Heaven to a mustard seed, which the parable says is the least among seed, yet grows to become a huge mustard plant that provides shelter for many birds.

The "Complete Gospels" notes for Matthew 13:31: "The mustard seed's" smallness was proverbial, but it hardly grows up to become a "tree"." and for Luke 13:19: "Jewish law prohibited the growing of mustard seed in a garden. Mustard is a shrub, not a tree." The Jesus Seminar, which produced the "Complete Gospels", rated this saying as one of its 15 "red" sayings. John Dominic Crossan has proposed that this parable [For example, see [http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/jesus/ministry.html PBS Frontline: From Jesus to Christ] ] , and others, are intentionally provocative. He points out that in Mediterranean climates, such as Galilee, black mustard is a managed weed. The analogy may be that the "Kingdom of God" is ubiquitous, persistently in our presence in the here and now. It also satirizes the aggrandized simile of temporal power as a mighty oak or cedar It would be obvious to state that the Kingdom of God is like the mighty Lebanon cedar which also starts from a small seed, but instead Jesus says it's like the mustard weed. Does that mean the kingdom is something people try to control? Crossan claims this is part of the Historical Jesus' style, rather than taking literal quotes from the Bible and commenting on them, he uses parables to generate discussion about the topics which just happen to be part of the Bible. Crossan also points out that by teaching in parables, right from the start Jesus was open to interpretation, which he wouldn't have been if he merely taught sermons and directly told the people what to think and how to interpret the Bible. Evangelical scholars would dispute Crossan's hermeneutic, seeing it as faulty in that it would in their understanding distort Jesus' intent in using parables. See also Parables of Jesus.

While often interpreted as being a happy prediction of the growth of the Christian church on earth, some scholars [ [http://www.amazon.com/dp/0785201688 The King James Study Bible] published by Thomas Nelson Publishers ] believe that this parable and The Parable of the Leaven, which immediately follows it, are a related pair which predict not just growth but growth with attending corruption, here denoted by the birds. The birds may be seen as an undesirable new presence on the farm, since they would eat up any new seeds the man sows in this field. The birds, then, may be seen to represent false teachers making their home in the church, thus preventing the church from bringing forth much fruit.

References


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