The Mustard Seed and the Kingdom of God

In today’s Gospel, Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to a mustard seed “that a person took and sowed in a field.  It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants….[where] the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.”

I saw an video on the Work of the People website that put an interesting spin on this comparison. The narrator noted that neither is the mustard seed the smallest seed nor does it grow to be a particularly large tree or shrub. So what would Jesus’ audience have made of this story?

What is true about the mustard seed – something that would have been known to Jesus’ listeners – is that the mustard seed, once planted, grows out of control. It spreads like weeds, reseeding itself and growing everywhere.

That gives a different interpretation to the comparison than the one we tend to draw when we hear it. It is not about small and big, but about the Kingdom spreading wildly, and not through our control, but through God’s.