(… continued from Treasure and Pearl 2…)

Traditional and new interpretation are not mutually exclusive. 

For example, the mustard seed can be Jesus and disciples/believers at the same time; The merchant who seeks fine pearls can be Jesus and disciples/believers at the same time as well.

But I think the two interpretations come in hierarchy: First comes the mustard seed and the merchant being Jesus, then comes the two being disciples/believers.

Simple explanation is: “disciple” means learner. Who are we learning from? Jesus. So the mustard seed and the merchant refer first to Jesus then to disciples.