Updated: Jun 5, 2022
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INSTRUCTIONS. Jesus spoke two parables to teach how the kingdom would grow, the mustard seed and the leaven. These two parable should be considered together. The parable of the mustard seed teaches the extensive growth (external, vast, outward spread), whereas the parable of the leaven teaches the intensive growth (internal, intense, great power) of the kingdom.
In this parable the kingdom of heaven is compared to the mustard seed. From this tiny seed grows the mustard tree, teaching to a height of seven to eight feet, with twelve feet not being unusual. In the same manner, from a small beginning the kingdom of heaven spread throughout the whole world.
This parable was meant to be an encouragement to Jesus' followers. His disciples were uneducated fishermen whose task was to take the gospel message to the whole world. In a few short years they "turned the world upside down" (Acts 17:6), and the tiny gospel seed had been "preached to every creature which is under heaven" (Col 1:23). From the smallest beginning came the greatest blessing ever bestowed upon mankind-the forgiveness of sins through the sacrificial blood of the Son of God.