The Parable of the Mustard Seed

Jesus’ parable of the mustard seed begins with the whimsical and poetic statement, “The kingdom of heaven is like…” (Matthew 13:31). I imagine Jesus stroking his chin and looking at the sky above the crowds and wondering, “How am I going to explain to them where I came from, God’s dwelling place, heaven?” Then he comes up with an image of something small that becomes big, something that provides shelter and a resting place for many. I’ve tried to apply this same sense of whimsy and poetry to my painting by showing birds of many shapes, sizes, and colours, inhabiting a safe and pleasant place together.


—Canadian artist James Paterson works in different mediums and styles using visual language in its many forms and subtleties to communicate ideas. His aim is that all of his art would be redemptive – an allegory on ordinary life that reveals the reality of God in the world. “The Parable of the Mustard Seed” is from a series of Bible prints in Jim’s Grandiose Big Bible Picture Book and on


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