Parable of the Mustard Seed

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.

Matthew 13:31-32


The mustard seed that is planted in this parable has two inherent qualities. First, it is the smallest seed used by the Israelites, yet it could grow into a plant as large as a tree. Second, the seed has pungent, biting, burning properties. Both of these traits have significance as Jesus compared a mustard seed to His kingdom. The mustard seed’s unusual growth is unnatural, and so it is with believers as we grow in Christ. It is a supernatural growth, both in individual believers and in the Church worldwide – the Church that provides shelter and a haven for a lost world. Also, just as the pungent, biting, and burning trait of the mustard seed is used in seasoning, so the message of God’s kingdom is used in transforming society.

When I think of the smallness of the mustard seed, I think of humility. God’s Word teaches us that He gives grace to the humble (James 4:6) and produces growth and power beyond human reasoning so that we can have an impact on the world in which we are sown. When I look at my mustard seed of faith I am reminded of God’s Word: If you have the faith as small as a mustard seed you can say to this mulberry tree be uprooted and planted in the sea, and it will obey you. (Luke 17:6) Jesus told this to his disciples after they asked him to increase their faith. I can identify with mustard seed faith because at times my faith seems so small. It is harder, however, for me to identify with my mustard seed of faith as being able to move a tree! Yet this is what Jesus says.

Our faith may be as small as a mustard seed, but like that little seed, it can grow supernaturally into a huge tree by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps you have looked at your faith as being so small you might as well bury it and not bother to water it. Pray for God to increase your faith, water it with prayer and the reading of God’s Word, and like the mustard seed in the parable, it will grow. Remember that it only takes the faith of a mustard seed to move mountains: I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed you can say to this mountain, move from here to there and it will move.

“Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)


Heavenly Father,

I pray that You would increase my faith. I offer to You my “mustard seed” faith for increase and growth. Help me to remember that what I see as a small seed can move mountains in my life and in the lives of others.

In Jesus’ name, Amen

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