saying-20; mustard weed?



if you want to experience what he meant

saying- 20; mustard weed?





He says :

It [the kingdom] is like a mustard seed,

the smallest of all seeds.

But when it falls on tilled soil,

it produces a great plant

and becomes a shelter for birds of the sky.




Here, exceptionally, the kingdom is not compared to a person, but to a thing.

Actually, the mustard seed in not a thing, but a living organism, a process.

Once the kingdom has entered one’s life, how minutely it started is not important,

it will certainly grow, at whatever pace.

Ultimately, one’s live cannot be anything else but its manifestation. Enlightenment is not

something you have, in either a smaller or larger degree, but something that you most

fundamentally are; it overpowers one’s existence completely. In that case, one may function

to the benefit of others, just as the full grown plant provides shelter to the birds of the sky.


According to Crossan (1992) and also Patterson (1993b) the mustard plant should be looked

upon here as a weed, attracting the birds which eat the farmer's crop. In this sense

the kingdom is something scornful in the eyes of outsiders, as a matter of fact concurrs with

the way Jesus' teachings were recieved by most people. Crossan's interpretation is

from a social perspective: the kingdom movement of paupers and beggars was despicable

in the eyes of the Jewish establishment. According to Patterson(1993b), the growth of the

mustard weed acts as a metaphor for the growth of the kingdom, which was a weed

in the eyes of the Roman oppressor. Scott (1990) concludes that by planting the seed in a

garden, the man has risked breaking the law of diverse kinds by mixing what should not

be mixed, creating the garden as an unclean space.



However, it is always interesting to see that scholars disagree: Quispel (2004) states

that the mustard variety meant here is the black mustard (brassica nigra), which is a

cultivated plant, not a tree, lasting for only one year, and which produces just one stalk.

Only Thomas is right in not mentioning that the birds will make nests in the plant,

because the breeding season is already over when the plant has fully matured (Quispel, 2004).

As we may appreciate Jesus' knowledge about such facts of nature, Thomas likely gives the

most authentic phrasing. However, considering Scott's (1990) explanation, whether the

mustard was cultivated or wild, the reference to uncleanness remains.


In any case, something may have been lost here, and the

original may have sounded : the kingdom is like someone sowing a mustard seed……….,

in which case Thomas’ usual parable opening is maintained, and the kingdom

compared to a person performing an action. (also: Breech,1983).


But if not, then, why would someone till his soil to plant a weed?

However, the story does not tell who planted the seed in whose tilled soil.

Suppose someone planted his weed in someone else's garden.....

in that case, the undesirable plant attracts even more undesirable things: birds, the animals

which his followers should look at as an example (Sermon on the Mount).

Those despicable, cursed animals, chased away by everyone, which however

have a resting place: the shade of the mustard plant.



Maybe Jesus expressed with this story how his teachings were received

by his contemporaries - with aversion;

and how they always will be.






Also in:

Matthew 13.31; Mark 4.30; Luke 13.18.