Jun 13, 2008, 7:34 AM
Our Lord Jesus used a lot of virtual and visual teaching ‘aids’ to get his messages across and since he was dealing with peasants for the most part both his parables and illustrations hinged on such images – like nature and the elements.
He made it easy for them to relate to the subject matter so they could understand better. He did not teach like the Pharisees and Sadducees taught. He addressed simple folks who were desirous of receiving the word of God, so he brought himself to their level.
To explain what the kingdom was about, he used the illustration of a mustard seed which starts small and ends big. “Then Jesus asked, ‘What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches.” (Luke 13:18)
Our Lord Jesus used the analogy of a mustard seed to describe the kind of faith required of us. He affirms that in fact we do not need to exercise giant faith. “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) Actually little faith as tiny as a mustard seed is what we need at take-off. The manifestation of our faith grows in the operation process. After we have taken the first step that is when things begin to happen. Most of us deprive ourselves of the joy of nursing our baby faith to adulthood because we think we would need a large quantity to jump-start it.
When we think of an infant who begins to take her/his first steps trusting in its legs to take it a few steps forward then we have the true image of how we need to put our faith into action. Does the child say will I fall therefore I’d rather not risk it; or will I fail? The child derives pleasure in standing up first and then starting to make a move forward. In the mustard seed is embedded a tree. So be it what it may, with all the relevant conditions assembled, the mustard seed will mature to become a tree where birds will perch one day.
“The kingdom of God 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 Master is saying we do not have to start big, that can take a very long time and effort putting things together before take-off. On the contrary, we only need to take one step at a time to achieve our goals. It is less hassle and we can do so in stride.
The kingdom of God was announced by John the Baptist and strengthened by our Lord Jesus as he spread the Word of God in Israel. That same task was entrusted to his disciples when he told them to go into Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth to preach the good news – the word of God. (Acts 1:8) Today, that great commission has been fulfilled in that the Word of God is spreading from what at its inception was like a mustard seed.
Nothing therefore is small in the eyes of God, we just have to embark on whatever he has put in our minds to undertake and accomplish. We would not have all the ingredients or materials in place for its realisation but the more we trust in him, the more our seeds will develop into trees. Though the smallest of garden plant seeds, the mustard seed develops into an oak – a giant-size tree.
Closer home, as parents who raise children that God has blessed us with, we are called to take full responsibility in nurturing them into huge trees that would perpetuate the cycle of producing trees from tiny beginnings. Take a mustard-seed faith-walk with Jesus today for your salvation.