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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No home for Jesus (Lk 9:58-9:58)

“Jesus said to him.

‘Foxes have holes.

Birds of the air

Have nests.

But the Son of Man

Has nowhere

To lay his head.’”

 

καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς Αἱ ἀλώπεκες φωλεοὺς ἔχουσιν καὶ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κατασκηνώσεις, ὁ δὲ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου οὐκ ἔχει ποῦ τὴν κεφαλὴν κλίνῃ.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus responded to this man (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς) who wanted to follow him.  He said to him that foxes have their holes (Αἱ ἀλώπεκες φωλεοὺς ἔχουσιν).  Birds of the air have their nests (καὶ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κατασκηνώσεις).  But the Son of Man (ὁ δὲ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου) has nowhere to lay his head (οὐκ ἔχει ποῦ τὴν κεφαλὴν κλίνῃ).  He was homeless.  This saying of Jesus is exactly the same in Matthew, chapter 8:20, indicating a possible Q source.  Matthew indicated that Jesus responded to this Scribe by telling him that he was homeless.  Foxes had foxholes.  Birds of the air had nests.  However, the Son of Man had nowhere to put his head.  The term “Son of Man” expression might be based on the Book of Daniel, chapter 7:13.  This Son of Man was given dominion, glory and kingship over all people, nations, and languages.  Everyone would serve him, since his kingdom would last forever, and never be destroyed.  This has been often interpreted as the coming of the Messiah, the savior.  Jesus and his disciples clearly used this term.  However, in the Book of Ezekiel, Yahweh used this term for Ezekiel.  So that, the “Son of Man” may also mean that Jesus was trying to point out his humanity, like everyone else.  Jesus continued to refer to himself in the 3rd person as the Son of Man.  Here Jesus had less than foxes or birds, since he had no permanent home on earth.  Have you ever been homeless?

Jesus is homeless (Mt 8:20-8:20)

“Jesus said to him.

‘Foxes have holes.

Birds of the air

Have nests.

But the Son of Man

Has nowhere

To lay his head.’”

 

καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς Αἱ ἀλώπεκες φωλεοὺς ἔχουσιν καὶ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κατασκηνώσεις, ὁ δὲ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου οὐκ ἔχει ποῦ τὴν κεφαλὴν κλίνῃ.

 

This saying of Jesus is exactly the same in Luke, chapter 9:58, indicating a possible Q source.  Jesus responded to this scribe (καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς) by telling him that he was homeless.  Foxes had foxholes (Αἱ ἀλώπεκες φωλεοὺς ἔχουσιν).  Birds of the air had nests (καὶ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κατασκηνώσεις).  However, the Son of Man (ὁ δὲ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου) had nowhere to put his head (οὐκ ἔχει ποῦ τὴν κεφαλὴν κλίνῃ).  This is the first instance of Matthew having Jesus say that he was the “Son of Man” (Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου), since this might be based on the Book of Daniel, chapter 7:13.  Daniel also saw in his night vision that the “son of man” was coming from heaven.  This Son of Man went to the Ancient One and presented himself to God.  However, he was given dominion, glory and kingship over all people, nations, and languages.  Everyone would serve him, since his kingdom would last forever, and never be destroyed.  This has been often interpreted as the coming of the Messiah, the savior.  Jesus and his disciples used this term.  However, in the Book of Ezekiel, Yahweh used this term for Ezekiel.  So that, the “Son of Man” may also mean that Jesus was trying to point out his humanity, like everyone else.

Yahweh controls birds and animals (Ps 104:17-104:18)

“In the trees,

The birds build their nests.

The stork has its home in the fir trees.

The high mountains are for the wild goats.

The rocks are a refuge for the badgers.”

The birds build their nests or homes in the various trees. Then there is the mention of 3 specific animals or birds, the stork in the fir tree, the wild goat in the mountains, and the badgers in the rocks. Yahweh created all this.

The home of Yahweh (Ps 84:3-84:4)

“Even the sparrow finds a home.

The swallow has a nest for itself.

There it may lay its young.

They are at your altars.

Yahweh of hosts!

My King!

My God!

Happy are those who live in your house!

They are ever singing your praise!”

Selah

In a special nod to the birds, it is mentioned that the sparrows and the swallows live in the Temple. In fact, they have nests there so that their young can be protected. They are at the altars of Yahweh, who is king and God. Happy are those who live in the house of God. They can sing praises to God all the time. This section ends with the musical interlude meditative pause of Selah.