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This month's teaching : Repentance

Who is Jesus?

We have heard the Name. But do we know the Person?

Who is the Man Jesus?

One of the profound statements Jesus made concerning faith is about the mustard seed. I want to correctly define the type of mustard seed that Jesus spoke about to clear any question on technicalities.

Pliny the Elder, who lived between 23 and 79 C.E., wrote about the mustard plant in his encyclopedia “Natural History”: He further defines that it grows entirely wild, though it is improved by being transplanted: but on the other hand, when it has once been sown, it is nearly impossible to get free of it. For when this seed falls into the ground it germinates very quickly and then it becomes extremely difficult to exterminate. (Pliny, “Natural History” 19.170-171; Rackham et al. 5.528-529)

There is a distinction between the wild mustard and its domesticated counterpart. When one deliberately cultivates the latter for its medicinal or culinary properties, there is an ever-present danger that it will destroy even a well-maintained garden. It’s growth habits overtake and overpower other plants it cohabits with. This is even evident in the domesticated types, such as brassica nigra or sinapis alba or sinapis arvenis. These are the names of three distinctly different types yet all have the same characteristics.

I have scaled multitudes of scholarly opinions, writings from the ancient and modern day scientists and searched intently to define the exact name and plant that Jesus referred to in His statement about the mustard seed. I have researched numerous technical explanations from expositors, authors, scholars, professors as well as many well meaning people on this area of discussion. After my extensive research to define the exact plant mentioned, I have drawn a conclusion.

However, my conclusion is primarily based on the description mentioned in the gospels spoken by Jesus Himself. The study of the mustard seed grown in Israel draws several different conclusions of the type of seed it really was. My honor and respect to these peoples work, however I notice the results are vastly inconclusive from one to the other. Many conclusions do not fit the technical characteristics written in the Gospels.

Therefore the methodology to bracket the evidence of the exact species of the mustard seed must be determined by the well-described characteristics in both Matthew and in the book of Luke. My conclusion is a simple one. The core image of the parable is of the mustard plant is the dangerous domestic variety or of the intrusive kind. This might be a surprise to many as to how this could be related as a cognate parallel to the Kingdom of Heaven. My extensive research was thought important to avoid or infuse an argument that would deter from the subject of the tiniest seed being the controversial issue to some.