More Parables from Matthew 13
31 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, 32 which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches."Jesus talks about the kingdom again in Matthew. He said that it is a small seed but will yield a large tree. I once read where a teacher said that the birds represent evil and that Jesus was saying that evil and illegitimate inhabitants will make their home in his realm. He said that [the birds] of the air refers to Satan, the Prince of the power of the air. This is the kind of thing that causes me to scratch my head. Jesus must have said that about the birds for some reason, but it is unclear to me what it means. I kind of thought maybe that teacher was reading into it a little much. Do any of you know what that would have meant to the hearers of this parable?
The Parable of the Leaven
33 Another parable He spoke to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”This same teacher said that leaven also represents evil in biblical terms (a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump) so that Christ was teaching that some would add evil to the kingdom preaching until the whole thing was in danger of corruption. Again, I am not sure. I have heard other teachers say that this means that the kingdom message will spread and cover and fill the earth. What do you think?
I know I have seen other figures of speech used in two ways - one meaning something bad and then in another instance, the same concept is used to represent something good.
Is Jesus speaking in these two parables of the greatness of the kingdom or of the polluting of the kingdom? I just don't get it.