Parable of the Mustard Seed (Matthew 13:31–32): Jesus put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; 32 it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
Jesus spoke this parable to his disciples – a group that were very much discouraged. Having hoped that so many great things would happen with Jesus at their side, they were being overwhelmed with the growing opposition to Jesus. After all, John the Baptist had promised great things would come and it surely must have looked like this promise was coming true. The great crowds that gathered along the way. But slowly, the opposition increased and many began to abandon the following. Hope was turning to disappointment.
One clear message from this parable is the fact that such a small seed could turn into a large tree – that something can start from the smallest beginnings and in the end turn into something large…even great. We heard Bo preach on this last Sunday. To me it is clear that Jesus tells his disciples this parable in order for them to understand that even though what was happening may seem small but no person can really know the extent of possible growth. Those disciples had to know that Jesus was talking about them – they were the small beginning that was surely to grow and the growth depended on them.
Think about other things that start with small beginnings. Any song, hymn or symphony begins with 8 notes – an octave. The last book you read and its hundreds of pages began with 26 letters of the alphabet.
Devotional Thought: Think for a moment about the relatively small number of people who saw and/or heard Jesus and compare to anyone today who uses radio, TV, the internet or social media. In just a short time today, anyone, theoretically, can have their message heard in a matter of hours. When Peter stood up to address those gathered in Jerusalem following the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, we are told there were 120 present (Acts 1:15) and in just a short time, following the arrival of the Holy Spirit, we are told “and day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47b). From here, the Church has grown to an estimated 2 Billion followers of Jesus today…and how many billions to you think there have been in the past 2000+ years? So, if you are discouraged today and finding that hope is hard to come by remember what Jesus told his disciples then and you today – great things can come from small beginnings…especially when God ordains and blesses it!!