Body and Blood of Christ

The Mustard Seed

Mark 4 30-32


The Sower– Mark 4:26-32


e also said, "With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade."

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The Mustard Seed



he parable of the Mustard Seed (4:30-32) is another parable of contrast; but again the idea of growth must be given due weight. Contrast between insignificant beginning and mighty achievement is primary - but the seed does grow into a plant. The detail of branches in which birds nest (v 31) manifestly recalls Ezekiel 17:23. In Mark’s view, the proclamation of the kingdom will bring all nations within its scope (see 13:10). The parable would have been the reply of Jesus (or of the risen Lord) to an objection, latent or expressed: could the kingdom really grow from such inauspicious beginnings? His reply was that the little cell of disciples would indeed become a kingdom - God's rule would become a reality. And, in the last analysis, if the kingdom does reach its full dimension, that is not due to anything in the men and women who are the seed of the kingdom; the growth is due solely to the power of God. After all, the 'kingdom’ is nothing other than the saving presence of God. This is why Jesus could speak with utter confidence of the final stage of the kingdom. And that is why both parables are a call for openness and for patience.


Wilfrid Harrington



Quill Pen


This is the Story of Jesus drawn from the four Evangelists

Noah's Arc


Furrows for sowing

Unfolding the Story of jesus

Gospel passages accompanied by a number of brief commentaries

Unfolding the story of jesus