Small Start, Big Impact

Parables of Jesus for the Modern Pilgrim

Jesus used the Parable of the Mustard Seed and the Parable of the Yeast to illustrate the Kingdom of Heaven. (In the gospel of Mark, the term “Kingdom of God” is used. I will use them interchangeably.)

Our text:

Matthew 13:31-35
Mark 4:30-34
Luke 13:18-21

I chose to look at these parables together because they seem to carry the same theme.

Small things can have a great impact.

The Mustard Seed

Everyone can see that the mustard seed is a tiny seed. Yet it has the potential to be a large plant. Jesus said that the mature plant becomes a home to the birds.

Just search this on the internet and you will see the wide range of opinions on this simple parable. Such discussion! Is it a domestic or wild mustard plant? Is it a bush or a tree? Is it in a garden or a field? You can get lost in the myriad of opinions. That’s. Not. The. Point.

How we love to put God in a box. It’s so easy to be swept up in the minutiae of the details. Jesus is making a simple observation that relates a truth about the Kingdom.

A seed is a miracle of creation. It is so tiny, and yet has vast potential inside it. Jesus could have easily used an acorn and an oak tree as His example. The point is, from very small beginnings, the Kingdom can have a great impact, providing living things a place of safety and shelter.

That’s it. It’s so simple. His audience must have had the look on their face that said, “Is that all?” So Jesus went on with another illustration of a similar theme.

The Yeast

This one is for all the bakers out there. A woman makes a batch of dough. She uses a small amount of yeast compared to the other ingredients but it permeates the whole loaf. Have you ever made a bread that didn’t rise? It doesn’t matter how good your other ingredients are. If the yeast is omitted or bad, the recipe won’t turn out. You’ll get a brick instead of a loaf. (Ask me how I know…)

The Lesson for the Modern Pilgrim

The Kingdom of God begins as a small ingredient in your life, and yet it becomes the active agent for growth and change in every area. The Kingdom makes your life work.

Simple parables for simple truths.

That’s another reason why I love the parables.