Parable of the Mustard Seed (Mark 4:30-34)


From little beginnings come great things!




Mark 4:30-34: Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”

Children’s Lesson

In today’s children’s lesson on Mark 4:30-32, we learn about the Parable of the Mustard Seed (see this children's object lesson).

Scripture: Mark 4:30-34

Jesus compared the mustard seed to the kingdom of God. Jesus said, "How can I describe the Kingdom of God? What story should I use to illustrate it? It is like a mustard seed planted in the ground. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of all garden plants; it grows long branches, and birds can make nests in its shade" (Mark 4:30-32).

How is that a picture of the kingdom of God? Well, when Jesus first began his earthly ministry, he had no followers.

The Bible tells us that Jesus was walking along the shore of the sea of Galilee when he saw two fishermen, Peter and his brother Andrew, casting their nets. "Come, follow me," Jesus said to them. They immediately followed Jesus. As they continued on their way, they saw two other brothers, James and John, mending their nets. Jesus called them and they immediately left their nets and followed him.

One by one, Jesus called his disciples until there were twelve of them. That is still a pretty small beginning, isn't it? Jesus sent out the twelve and they brought others to Jesus and the kingdom of God grew. From a very small beginning, the kingdom of God has grown and grown until it has spread over the entire earth.

Jesus started growing the kingdom of God with a handful of disciples. Every follower of Jesus is a part of the kingdom and that means that you and I are a part of God's kingdom. Each time we tell someone about Jesus, we are helping to grow the kingdom. Isn't it great to know that we can have a part in growing God's kingdom?


Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Bible Background: Parable of the Mustard Seed

Parables are often described as earthly stories with heavenly meanings. Jesus used these stories that took what His disciples and followers knew to be true and helped them understand a new concept.

In this parable, the mustard seed is one of the smallest seeds on earth; however, when it grows, it becomes a large sprawling plant and it attracts birds to nest in the branches.

The mustard seed represents the Kingdom of God that Jesus brings into the world. He says that just as something small grows into something large, the Kingdom of God will grow into something immense. 

Jesus started His ministry by Himself and attracted twelve disciples. Little by little, more people began following Him, growing the Kingdom of God. Just look at how large Christianity has grown today! 

The Kingdom of God can also grow in each one of us. When we put our trust and faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit will help us to produce good spiritual fruit.

Sunday School Activities: Parable of the Mustard Seed

Keep kids engaged in your children’s church by printing this The Parable of the Mustard Seed Coloring Page for kids to color.  Have kids complete this Parable of the Mustard Seed Crossword and Parable of the Mustard Seed decoder.  Keep kids learning about God’s love for us by leading them in these Parable of the Mustard Seed Group Activities which include Sunday School Craft ideas, Sunday School games, and Sunday School skits.