An Interpretation of the Parable of the Mustard Seed

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CS Parable Analysis Mark 4: 30-33 PParable of the Mustard Seed Interpretation: Jesus is essentially referring to the way God’s word can be received. With a little bit of love and devotion, God’s love and kingdom can grow in each and every one of us.

Audience: Jesus addressed this parable to the people gathered before him. He was in a boat out on the water as he spoke, making it easier for the masses of people to see and hear him clearly from where they were standing at the lakeside.

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Issue: In this parable, Jesus is referring to how the simplest and purest thought of God and His Word can grow to transform the life of the listener. Specifically, Jesus is talking about the love and harmony one might experience as long as they create a healthy space — both in heart and mind — for these emotions to come to the fore through God’s Word. Although planting the thought in one’s mind and heart might take only a moment, it can take much more effort to nurture this thought into full and rich understanding, growing to appreciate God’s kingdom and the work He has done for us.

Comparison: Jesus likens the kingdom of God to a mustard seed. He emphasizes how small the mustard seed is, yet it’s capable of growing greater than all the herbs of the field. This indeed describes the nature of God’s kingdom. It began little, with only twelve ordinary men who would stumble from time to time, escalating to Jesus’ resurrection appearance to the 500, and all the way to the thirty thousand conversions in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. We know that the word of God spread from Jerusalem, into Judea and Samaria, and in less than 30 years, it had reached the entire world. It all started with the dedication of twelve men, and now we witness the powerful kingdom that emerged from what Jesus left.

Challenges/Lesson: This was not just information for these disciples. This is the way the word of God is meant to grow within each of us. This is how the word of God grew in these disciples. Faith began slowly and would fluctuate from time to time. But these men grew in faith and knowledge, and we know the outcome; they would display the courage to preach before hostile crowds during perilous times. This is how our faith will grow when we give it the opportunity and let the word of God dwell in our lives. In the beginning, things are very difficult, and we will struggle. We can’t expect to conquer the world in a day. We can’t expect to acquire the knowledge or wisdom of seasoned Christians immediately. We can’t expect to have the abilities we see in other Christians from the onset. But with continued work, learning, and study, these things will come as well. Knowing the word of God can profoundly impact our lives. It can cause us to flourish like a great tree. We should strive to grow, allowing time and opportunity for the Lord to work in our lives through his word. In doing so, we too can possess great faith. Members of the kingdom of God will grow and contribute to the growth of the kingdom. Just as nurturing the growth of a mustard seed is necessary, we too must look to nurture the Word of God.

Reflection: The challenge presented in the Parable of the Mustard Seed – that being, to take the Word and spread it to others – can be applied in day-to-day society in this generation. Not only did the disciples and other followers preach the Good News to people of that time, but it has continued right through to today with pastors and priests all around the world. Through God’s work, He is still calling us to spread His news in whatever way we can.

C.S. Parable Analysis Mark 4:1-20 Parable of the Sower Interpretation: Jesus is referring to the acceptance and different ways of accepting God’s word. Some take it at face value, while others hang on to the thought for a little while longer before letting it drift out of their lives. Others then harvest His word and allow it to grow in their lives.

Audience: When Jesus tells this parable, he is talking to a large crowd of ordinary people. Jesus took to a boat on the water so that the crowds could hear and see him as he preached through the parables.

Issue: Jesus is talking about receiving the Word of God. There may have been some discussions on the topic prior to Jesus introducing the parable – but it is not mentioned by Mark. Likewise, there don’t seem to have been any specific questions asked by certain people either to assist their learning or to try to trap Jesus, which would have caused Jesus to tell the parable. Most likely, this is just one of the topics that Jesus really wanted to talk about and have heard, as it is obviously one of the most important aspects of Christianity.

Comparison: Jesus uses this parable because it clearly shows that there are many different ways in which the Word of God could be received; it’s not just a case of people either receiving and accepting it, or rejecting it.

For this reason, there are many different ways of receiving the parable as well. The audience (the general crowd) is compared to the soil, with the seed being the Word of God sown by Jesus. The different types of soil represent the different ways in which people can receive the good news.

The seed that falls by the wayside or on a path represents the word that is heard but never makes any progress because, as Jesus says in 4:15, “Satan comes immediately, and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.” Satan, in this instance, is like the birds that came and ate up the seed.

The seed falling on the rocky ground represents the word that is superficially accepted, but the people have no fortitude. So when times become difficult, they lose faith, and the Word soon loses its place in their lives.

The seed that takes root amongst the thorns represents the situations where people receive the Word, but soon become more concerned with materialistic goals and desires, like money and power. This chokes the Word of God, just as the thorns choke the plant.

The good soil that allows the seed to grow and be fruitful is compared to people who hear God’s Word, accept it wholly and fully, and let it grow within them to become a bigger and more eminent part of their lives. They influence other people and spread the word, just as the grown plants drop their own seeds.

Challenge/Lesson: Jesus makes it clear which type of soil is the best, so the lesson is obviously to try to be like the good soil in receiving God’s Word. Receive it gladly, let it grow in you, and produce its own seed.

Reflections: This is just as relevant today as it was at the time. Receiving the Word is one of the most important aspects of Christianity for obvious reasons – it’s the first step. Without receiving the Word, you haven’t got started. Despite the importance of this, it is somewhat underused in today’s society, with many people believing that receiving the word is all they have to do. In fact, they may be like the seed amongst the thorns and, despite receiving the Word, they are more concerned with money and power – a common problem in today’s society.

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An Interpretation of the Parable of the Mustard Seed. (2022, Nov 16). Retrieved from