Jesus was born, the picture of insignificance. Cows, goats, a few sheep, and a tiny baby. No one noticed.
That changed. Jesus has a “name above every name... at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow!” (Philippians 2:9-10, ESV).
Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It’s the smallest of all the seeds, but when grown, it’s taller than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the sky come and nest in its branches” (Matthew 13:31–32, CSB).
The Palestinian gardener knew that the mustard seed was smaller than any of his other seeds. He also knew this speck-sized seed could grow into a twelve-foot-tall bush, large enough to hold the nest of several field sparrows.
Apparently, Jesus didn’t explain this parable to His disciples. He didn’t need to. It was fairly self-evident. The Jesus-movement started small, but it wouldn’t stay small.
Peter, James and John knew that the odds were against them. After Jesus ascended to heaven, there were just one-hundred-twenty huddled together in the upper room (Acts 1:15). The multitudes that had followed the miracle-working rabbi had dispersed. First Baptist Church of Jerusalem must have felt insignificant... like a mustard seed. How could they take the Gospel to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the Uttermost parts of the Roman Empire?
Jesus had used the symbol of a mustard seed on another occasion. The disciples remembered. “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20, ESV).
What started small, soon grew. Three thousand were saved at Pentecost (Acts 2:41). Soon the number grew to five thousand (Acts 4:4). Eventually they lost count. “And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women” (Acts 5:14, ESV).
I read this week about northern India, a place where just twenty-five years ago there were few Christians. What started as a mustard seed has grown. Now, according to The Voice of the Martyrs, more than 300,000 Hindus have come to saving faith in Jesus Christ!
How about our Church? How about you and me? With “faith like a grain of mustard seed,”could we see God do mighty things?
Is it true? “If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed ... nothing will be impossible!”