Jesus then went on to tell another seed story, “This is what God’s reign is like. A farmer scatters his seeds onto the ground. 27 He then does nothing but sleep and wake up -- day after day. Yet, in spite of his inattention, without explanation, the seeds sprout and start to grow. 28 It’s as though the earth all by itself is producing the crop. First, the stalks start to poke up from the ground. Then mysteriously, heads of grain start to form on the plants. And eventually, those heads are packed full of grain. 29 At that point, as the crop is ready, it’s harvest time and the farmer goes out into the field to cut the grain.”
30 Jesus mused, “Let’s see, what would be another good image for God’s reign? What story should I tell to explain it? 31-32 Think of how the reign of God is like a teenie-tiny mustard seed -- the smallest of seeds -- especially when compared with what they become. The seeds are scattered on the ground. But then they grow and form huge tree-like plants. The branches are so substantial that the birds land from the sky to take advantage of the shade. And they build their nests in them.”
33 Jesus continued to spin stories to teach the people -- lots and lots of stories. He taught them until they couldn’t listen anymore. 34 Jesus limited himself to speaking in stories when addressing the crowds. But when he was alone with his apprentices he unpacked each story, explaining the in-depth meaning embedded in each one.