The Mustard Plant

The Bible fascinates me. Whenever I study its pages, I learn more. It is like the layers of an onion.  With each layer, new aromas of beauty are encountered, often bringing tears of joy to my eyes.  Matthew 13:31-32 is one of these passages. It was Sabbath, Jesus is engaged in conversation with the Pharisees and His disciples. Already two parables have been given. One regarding the sowing of seed, and the other, tares planted with the good seed.  Now He begins another parable, this time about a mustard seed.

Matthew 13:31, 32 says: “Another parable He put forth to them saying ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, 32 which indeed is the least of all seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.’”

The mustard seed is indeed tiny, and it does grow into a plant of considerable size. Verse thirty-two catches our attention. The parable closes with “so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”  Is there a similar reference elsewhere in the Bible?

The answer is yes!  Daniel 4:20 uses similar language. The text reads, “The tree that you saw, which grew and became strong, whose height reached to the heavens and which could be seen by all the earth.” Remember, Nebuchadnezzar is the king of Babylon. Babylon is a world power. Thus the reference to being seen by all. Verse 21 continues, “Whose leaves were lovely and its fruit abundant, in which was food for all, under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and in whose branches the birds of the heaven had their home.”

With this background, what is Jesus attempting to say?  Although our faith starts small, no bigger than a grain of a mustard seed, it should grow and mature growing to the size of a tree. When our faith has developed, we should become a blessing so that even the birds of the air, the people around us, should find comfort and shelter in our presence.

Paul picks up this theme in Hebrews 12:1, 2. The passage states that Jesus is both the author and finisher of our faith. And upon completion of his work on earth, Jesus sat at the right hand of the father in heaven. 

God has given to each of us a kernel of faith. Through his life and the word of God, he wants us to rely upon Him, and in so doing, our faith will grow and mature until we become a blessing to the whole earth.  It is a fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant as found in Genesis 12:1-3.  God asked Abraham and us today to be a blessing to those around us. And in so doing, he has promised to give us a new home in the Promised land. The earth made new.

Published by The Bible In Your Hand

Hi, I am Pastor Lester Bentley, a devoted husband, father, and Pastor for the Northeastern Wyoming District of the Rocky Mountain Conference of Seventh-day Adventist. I am committed to the great gospel commission as stated in Matthew 28:19, 20.

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