Breaking Down the Parable of the Mustard Seed

What does the mustard seed teach us?

Countless churches and Christians today look to the parable of the mustard seed. We must take cues from the values that Jesus was presenting to the early believers when he spoke of it.

Still, the parable has important facets that we can only understand if we have the same context and knowledge as the ones who initially heard it.

While most had come to understand and appreciate how the mustard seed was the smallest seed known when this parable was given, there are elements that we do not inherently know due to cultural differences.

Agriculture was an important topic for the listeners of Jesus. The listeners knew the specific traits and functions of the different kinds of seeds.

For instance, apart from the fact that the mustard seed was known for its size, its quality was also something that was to be noted. Apparently, it is also famous for being an irritant.

Should it touch a person’s skin, it can cause contact dermatitis. The place of contact will turn red and feel as if it is burning. In modern times, we mix it with vinegar, oils, wine. People need to mix other spices with it before the public can commercially consume the seed.

Small in size but with great potential

Legend tells us that when Darius, the king of Persia, invaded Europe with his army, he sent a bag of sesame seeds to Alexander the Great to symbolize that there are as many soldiers in his army as there are seeds in the bag. Stepping up to the plate, Alexander sent back a bag of mustard seeds to Darius as a way of saying that while their army may be many, his army is biting and fiery. Such was the case for the mustard seed – small in size but large in potential. 

 

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