Mustard Seed

Concise Bible Dictionary:

This is mentioned as something very small to which the faith of the apostles did not rise; and the kingdom of God is spoken of as being like this small seed, which nevertheless grows into a tree large enough for the birds to lodge in its branches. Various surmises have been made as to what tree is alluded to. The one that best answers to the description is the sinapis nigra, a common mustard plant in Palestine. Its seeds are very small, and it grows to a tree of some ten feet high, quite large enough for the smaller birds to lodge in its branches. There is also the salvadora persica, which grows still higher. The teaching of the parable is that the kingdom of God would become elevated in the earth and suitable for emissaries of Satan to find protection under its shadow (Matt. 13:3131Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: (Matthew 13:31); Matt. 17:2020And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. (Matthew 17:20); Mark 4:3131It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: (Mark 4:31); Luke 13:1919It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it. (Luke 13:19); Luke 17:66And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. (Luke 17:6)). In Matthew 13 it says that, “when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs,” yet it “becometh a tree.” This reads as if its normal class was that of a large herb, but by some mysterious means it became a tree.