Matthew 13:31 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 13:31, NIV: He told them another parable: 'The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.

Matthew 13:31, ESV: He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field.

Matthew 13:31, KJV: Another 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, NASB: He presented another parable to them, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a person took and sowed in his field;

Matthew 13:31, NLT: Here is another illustration Jesus used: 'The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field.

Matthew 13:31, CSB: He presented another parable to them: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field.

What does Matthew 13:31 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jesus again begins a parable by saying "the kingdom of heaven is like…" These teachings must be understood within the context of Jesus' life and ministry. Some in Israel rejected Jesus because they expected the Messiah to bring the kingdom of heaven to earth immediately, with great power and judgment. They wanted to see Him overthrow the unfaithful and Israel's enemies and restore Israel to power and glory and prosperity. Jesus uses these short stories to explain how God intends to implement the kingdom of heaven, and to fulfill the prophecies of the Old Testament.

Here, Jesus depicts the tiny seed of the mustard plant planted by a man in his field. The mustard seed was commonly used at this time as an example of smallness (Matthew 13:32). Why would Jesus compare the glorious coming kingdom of God to such a tiny thing? That would not fit with what Israel expected from the kingdom, but the meaning of the parable is profound.