Last edited on 25/Jan/2021
The Parable of the Mustard Seed
Consider some of the parallel passages between the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), such as the parable of the mustard seed:
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. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” (Matthew 13:31–32)
And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? 31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, 32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.” (Mark 4:30–32)
He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? 19 It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.” (Luke 13:18–19)
The Heavenly Banquet
Also consider another set of parallel passages; see what Jesus said concerning the fact that all Christians will one day recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob:
I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12 while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 8:11–12)
In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. 29 And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. (Luke 13:28–29)
Again, they are recording the same teaching, but just in different ways.
The Kingdom Belongs to Children
Finally, let us consider one last set of parallel passages. This time it is Jesus’ teaching about salvation through simple child-like faith:
and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:3)
Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” (Mark 10:15)
Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” (Luke 18:17)
There are many other parallel passages concerning the kingdom of God and heaven between the synoptic Gospels, but these should suffice. The Gospel authors wrote the parallel passages in slightly different ways so that us readers can get more than one perspective on the life and sayings of Jesus. It is also because Jesus would often give the same sermons or teachings on different occasions. Because the Bible uses the terms “kingdom of heaven” and “kingdom of God” interchangeably, this means that they are the same.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.