The mustard seed (Lk 13:19-13:19)

“The kingdom of God

Is like

A mustard seed

That someone took.

He sowed it

In his garden.

It grew.

It became a tree.

The birds of the air

Made nests

In its branches.”

 

ὁμοία ἐστὶν κόκκῳ σινάπεως, ὃν λαβὼν ἄνθρωπος ἔβαλεν εἰς κῆπον ἑαυτοῦ, καὶ ηὔξησεν καὶ ἐγένετο εἰς δένδρον, καὶ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κατεσκήνωσεν ἐν τοῖς κλάδοις αὐτοῦ.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that the kingdom of God was like a mustard seed (ὁμοία ἐστὶν κόκκῳ σινάπεως) that someone took (ὃν λαβὼν ἄνθρωπος) and sowed in his garden (ἔβαλεν εἰς κῆπον ἑαυτοῦ).  Then it grew (καὶ ηὔξησεν) and became a tree (καὶ ἐγένετο εἰς δένδρον).  The birds of the air (καὶ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ) made nests (κατεσκήνωσεν) in its branches (ἐν τοῖς κλάδοις αὐτοῦ).  Luke did not explicitly say that this mustard seed was the smallest seed, but implied it symbolically.  However, this seed could grow to become a tree or shrub where birds could nest.  There was no explanation of this parable, except the clear indication that the kingdom of God might start out small but would grow to hold many people.  This parable of the mustard seed can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 13:31-32, and Mark, chapter 4:31-32, plus here.  Jesus, via Mark, said that the kingdom of God was like a mustard seed or a grain of mustard.  When planted in the ground, it is the smallest of all seeds on earth.  But when it has grown after being planted, it becomes greater than all the garden plants or shrubs.  It then produced great branches.  Thus, the birds of the air would be able to come and perch or build nests in the shade of its branches.  What started out small can become quite large.  Jesus, via Matthew, explicitly presented them with another short parable.  He said that the kingdom of heaven, not the kingdom of God, was like a mustard seed.  A man planted this seed in his field.  When planted, it was the smallest of all seeds.  But when it was grown, it was the greatest of garden plants or shrubs.  It then became a tree.  Thus, the birds of the air could come and perch or build nests in its branches.  What started out small can become quite large. Do you know something small that became large?

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Build new storage sheds (Lk 12:18-12:18)

“Then he said.

‘I will do this!

I will pull down

My barns.

I will build

Larger ones.

There I will store

All my grain

And my goods.’”

 

καὶ εἶπεν Τοῦτο ποιήσω· καθελῶ μου τὰς ἀποθήκας καὶ μείζονας οἰκοδομήσω, καὶ συνάξω ἐκεῖ πάντα τὸν σῖτον καὶ τὰ ἀγαθά μου,

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus said that this rich farmer made a decision.  He said to himself that he knew what he was going to do (καὶ εἶπεν Τοῦτο ποιήσω).  He would tear down his barns (καθελῶ μου τὰς ἀποθήκας).  Then he would build larger ones (καὶ μείζονας οἰκοδομήσω).  Thus, he would be able to store all his grain and goods there (καὶ συνάξω ἐκεῖ πάντα τὸν σῖτον καὶ τὰ ἀγαθά μου).  This rich man made a decision to build a bigger barn, but also tear down his old barn and buildings.  He would remodel all his farm buildings.  Then he would have a good place to store his grain and all his possessions.  Have you thought about building a bigger house?

Give! (Lk 6:38-6:38)

“Give!

Then it will be given

To you.

A good measure,

Pressed down,

Shaken together,

Running over,

Will be put

Into your lap.

The measure

That you give

Will be the measure

That you get back.”

 

δίδοτε, καὶ δοθήσεται ὑμῖν· μέτρον καλὸν πεπιεσμένον σεσαλευμένον ὑπερεκχυννόμενον δώσουσιν εἰς τὸν κόλπον ὑμῶν· ᾧ γὰρ μέτρῳ μετρεῖτε ἀντιμετρηθήσεται ὑμῖν

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that if they gave (δίδοτε), it would be given back to them (καὶ δοθήσεται ὑμῖν).  If they used a good measure (μέτρον καλὸν), one that was pressed down (πεπιεσμένον), shaken together (σεσαλευμένον), and running over (ὑπερεκχυννόμενον), it would be put into their lap (ώσουσιν εἰς τὸν κόλπον ὑμῶν).  The measure that they give (ᾧ γὰρ μέτρῳ μετρεῖτε) would be the measure that would be given back to them (ἀντιμετρηθήσεται ὑμῖν).  This last phrase is the same as Matthew, chapter 7:2, and Mark, chapter 4:24, who said whatever they used as a measuring tool or rod, it would be the same measuring stick used on them.  The use of a pouch formed from the cloak that they wore would carry things as a measure.  If the grain was shaken and pressed down, they were able to get a fair amount of grain that overflowed their pouch.  Are you good at giving a fair portion or measure?

The seeds on good ground (Mk 4:8-4:8)

“Other seeds fell

Into good soil.

They brought forth

Grain,

Growing up

And increasing.

They yielded

Thirtyfold,

Sixtyfold,

And a hundredfold.”

 

καὶ ἄλλα ἔπεσεν εἰς τὴν γῆν τὴν καλήν, καὶ ἐδίδου καρπὸν ἀναβαίνοντα καὶ αὐξανόμενα, καὶ ἔφερεν εἰς τριάκοντα καὶ ἓν ἑξήκοντα καὶ ἓν ἑκατόν.

 

This sower parable about the seeds on good ground can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, in Matthew, chapter 13:8, and in Luke, chapter 8:8, and here.  There is a happy ending to this parable with the seeds that fell on good soil.  These other seeds fell on good soil (καὶ ἄλλα δὲ ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν τὴν καλὴν).  They brought forth or gave good fruitful grain (καὶ ἐδίδου καρπόν).  These seeds in the good soil grew up and increased (ἀναβαίνοντα καὶ αὐξανόμενα).  Some yielded thirtyfold (καὶ ἔφερεν εἰς τριάκοντα).  Others yielded sixtyfold (καὶ ἓν ἑξήκοντα), while still others yielded a hundredfold (καὶ ἓν ἑκατόν).  Luke only listed 100 and never mentioned 60 or 30.

The seeds in good soil (Mt 13:8-13:9)

“Other seeds fell on good soil.

They brought forth grain.

Some was a hundredfold.

Some was sixtyfold.

Some was thirtyfold.

Let anyone with ears,

Listen!”

 

ἄλλα δὲ ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν τὴν καλὴν καὶ ἐδίδου καρπόν, ὃ μὲν ἑκατὸν ὃ δὲ ἑξήκοντα ὃ δὲ τριάκοντα.

ὁ ἔχων ὦτα ἀκουέτω.

 

This good seed parable can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 4:8-9, and Luke, chapter 8:8, with Matthew closer to Mark.  There is a happy ending to this parable with the seeds that fell on good soil.  Then there is the warning at the end.  Other seeds fell on good soil (ἄλλα δὲ ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν τὴν καλὴν).  They brought forth grain (καὶ ἐδίδου καρπόν).  Some yielded a hundredfold (ὃ μὲν ἑκατὸν), others sixtyfold (ὃ δὲ ἑξήκοντα) and still others thirtyfold (ὃ δὲ τριάκοντα).  Luke only listed 100 and never mentioned 60 or 30.  Jesus told them that anyone with ears should listen (ὁ ἔχων ὦτα ἀκουέτω) to this parable.

Yahweh’s people (Zech 9:16-9:17)

“On that day,

Yahweh their God

Will save them.

They are the flock

Of his people.

Like the jewels

Of a crown,

They shall shine

On his land.

What great goodness is his!

What great beauty is his!

Grain shall make

The young men flourish.

New wine shall make

The maidens flourish.”

There was no doubt that Yahweh, their God, would save the Israelites.  They were his flock.  They would shine like jewels on a crown in his land.  There was no limit to the goodness and beauty of God.  Grain and new wine would help the young men and the young maidens to flourish.

Yahweh was going to provide for them (Joel 2:19-2:19)

“In response to his people,

Yahweh said.

‘I am sending you

Grain,

Wine,

Oil.

You will be satisfied.

I will no more make you

A mockery

Among the nations.’”

Joel said that Yahweh responded to his people. Yahweh was going to send them grain, wine, and oil, so that they would be satisfied. They would no longer be a mockery among the various countries.