|Aired week of Oct 30 - Nov 5, 2011
“The Parable of the Mustard Seed”
Hello Friends! Thank you for joining me as we look into God’s Holy Word to learn how we can become a better
Christian and a more faithful witness to the world.
Heavenly Father, anoint me with your Holy Spirit that I might speak the words you would have me say. Open
our ears and our heart that we might hear your message and understand your Holy Word. Help us to grow in faith
and knowledge that we might serve you and be witness to those around us. These things I ask in Jesus name,
I’ll be speaking on another of Jesus’ Parables today. From it I hope we can determine what Jesus would have
us know, and from that knowledge our faith will be made stronger and our knowledge of heaven will be increased.
The parable we will be looking at today is entitled “The Parable of the Mustard Seed.” It is found in the book of
Matthew, chapter thirteen, verses thirty-one and thirty-two. Again that was:
Matthew 13: 31-32 – Listen to these words
31. Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of
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 the greatest among herbs,
and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.
May God bless the reading and the hearing of his Holy Word!
The mustard plant that Jesus was referring to in this parable was a plant native to Israel and the countries that
surrounded it. The mustard plant Jesus was speaking of is a good bit different than the one we are familiar with in
America. Our mustard plants are rather small, whereas their plant is a large bush, big enough for birds rest in the
It’s said that there is actually a seed that is smaller than the mustard seed; that seed being a seed from the
cypress tree. Nevertheless, in the time of Jesus, the mustard seed was used by many to indicate or illustrate
something that was very small.
For example the Jews, talked of a drop of blood being as small as a mustard seed, when they spoke of a tiny
breach in their ceremonial law. Even Jesus, in Matthew 17:20 used the analogy of a mustard seed when he spoke
of faith as a grain of mustard seed.
As I noted a moment ago, there is a marked difference between the mustard plants we are familiar with in
America and what grew in the area around Israel. There, the tiny mustard seed grew into a plant much like a tree.
Thomson, in The Land and the Book writes: "I have seen this plant on the rich plain of Akkar standing as tall as a
horse and his rider." He says, "With the help of my guide, I uprooted a veritable mustard-tree which was more than
twelve feet high." It was not uncommon to see these mustard trees surrounded by cloud of birds eating the tiny
Jesus said that the Kingdom of Heaven compared to a mustard seed which grew into a tree. The point he was
making is clear. The Kingdom of Heaven started from the smallest beginning, but no-one knows where it will end. In
the languages of the Eastern Countries, and even in the Old Testament, one of the pictures that were used to
illustrate an empire was a great tree, with the subject nations, depicted as birds finding rest and shelter within the
In the book of Ezekiel we find this to be true.
3. Behold, the Assyrian was a cedar in Lebanon with fair branches, and with a shadowing
shroud, and of an high stature; and his top was among the thick boughs.
4. The waters made him great, the deep set him up on high with her rivers running round
about his plants, and sent out her little rivers unto all the trees of the field.
5. Therefore his height was exalted above all the trees of the field, and his boughs were
multiplied, and his branches became long because of the multitude of waters, when he shot
6. All the fowls of heaven made their nests in his boughs, and under his branches did all the
beasts of the field bring forth their young, and under his shadow dwelt all great nations.
Here we find Ezekiel using the analogy of a tree as I mentioned a moment ago. In verse three, we read that
Assyria was a cedar in Lebanon with fair branches, standing tall. Than in verse six we read that the fowls nest in its
branches and the fowl rest on the ground under the tree. It goes on to say that all the great nations dwell in its
In the parable of the Mustard seed, Jesus is showing us how the Kingdom of Heaven began very small,
illustrated by a Mustard seed, but in the end, there will be many nations gathered to it, which is illustrated by the
birds resting in it’s branches. Throughout history, one fact remains, all great things started from a very small
Ideas that have change civilization began with only one man. In the British Empire, a man named William
Wilberforce was responsible for the end of slavery. The idea of liberation came when he read “An exposure of the
slave trade” that was written by Thomas Clarkson. Wilberforce was a very close friend of Pitt, the Prime Minister of
Britain. While sitting with Pitt in his garden one day, before them was a scene of great beauty, but, Wilberforce’s
thoughts weren’t on the beauty, they were on the evils of Slavery. Suddenly Pitt turned to Wilberforce and said to
him, "Why don't you give a notice of motion on the slave-trade?" suggesting that Wilberforce present a motion in
Parliament to disband the slave trade in Britain, and do away with slavery all-together. That suggestion came from
the mind of one man, and it changed life for thousands of others. In order for an idea to take root, no matter how
large or small, one person has to possess the idea, and than become possessed by it. When an idea finds such a
person it is unstoppable.
Cecil Northcott tells in one of his books about a group of young people who came together from nations
around the world to discuss among themselves, how the gospel could be spread. Some of their ideas were the use
of propaganda, and literature, as well as many other ways they could think of to spread the gospel in the twentieth
A girl from Africa spoke up. "When we want to take Christianity into a village, we don't send books. We send a
Christian family to live in the village. By their living there, they make the village Christian simply because they’re
Reformation starts with one person. One of the great stories of the Church is the story of Telemachus, a hermit
who lived in the desert. One day, something told him – apparently God – that he must go to Rome. So, to Rome he
went. Rome was nominally Christian, but even in Christian Rome the gladiator games were fought, with men
fighting each other to death, and the crowds roaring with a lust for blood. Telemachus found his way to the games.
Eighty thousand people were present in the arena that day watching the fights and the killing. As he watched, he
was horrified. Weren’t these men slaughtering each other children of God? He jumped from his seat and down into
the arena where he took a stand between the two gladiators who were fighting. He was tossed aside, and the
gladiators started fighting again. Again he came and parted the two as he stood between them. The crowd was
outraged; they began throwing stones at him. Still he struggled to stand between the two gladiators. The prefect's
command rang out; and a sword flashed in the sunlight. Telemachus was killed. Suddenly the arena got very quite
as the people realized a holy man had been killed.
That day something very good happened in Rome. Never again would there be gladiators fighting in an arena
to thrill the crowds. By his death, one man loosed something that cleaned an entire empire. It takes one person to
start a reformation. It doesn’t have to be the reformation of a nation; it could be in one’s own home or at the place
The parable of the mustard seed is was one of Jesus’ most personal parables. It’s not hard to imagine how
inapt the disciples felt as times. There was so few or them, and the world was such a large place. How could they
possible win converts and change the world? How could Jesus expect them to convert the pagan world when He
himself was crucified for trying? How could they fulfill the Great Commission to, “Go into ye all the world and preach
In the parable Jesus was teaching the disciples, and us, that there shouldn’t be any discouragement in
witnessing. We are only responsible for serving and being a witness where we are and to those around us. Our
testimony should become a small beginning by which the Kingdom of Heaven can grow.
I don’t know about you, but I often get discouraged wondering how I, a simply country boy with very little
education can make a difference in people’s lives. I wonder how I can do what Jesus told me to do and how I can
fulfill my part in the great commission. I’m just one person. I’m not an evangelist, like Billy Graham, and will likely
never have an opportunity to preach before thousands of people. What good can I do for the world?
What can I do? I can work in the area Gods has given me. I can be a mustard seed in a world full of redwood
trees. There are people you and I know who are lost and on their way to an eternal hell, along with billions of others
who are alive on the earth today. I cannot reach them all. You and I together cannot reach them all, but we can
reach a few of them.
What I get from this parable is that even though I am only one person, I am to carry and plant the seed of the
gospel in others. My job is to preach and teach with every opportunity I’m given. My responsibility to God is to share
the gospel to everyone who will hear it. I am to plant the seed of the Gospel in others so it can and produce more
seeds, which can than be carried forth and planted in others. This process it to be repeated from one person to
another and the kingdom of heaven will grow larger and larger.
When Jesus returned to heaven, the seeds he had sowed in the hearts of his disciples were carried into the
world by them. Soon others started helping them. There was Silas, Luke, Barnabus, and many others, but it all
began with just one man, Jesus. It was then passed to the disciples. The church began to grow. Soon the gospel
spread over the known world and it continues to spread even today. Communist countries have fallen apart.
Christianity has made an impact. Missionaries go into all parts of the world, translating the bible and teaching the
unlearned about Jesus and it all started with one man.
How much could we accomplish if we were to catch the vision, and start proclaiming our faith to others. How
many souls could be saved from eternal destruction if we were to start proclaiming Jesus and witnessing to the
One man, Martin Luther, was responsible for the reformation of the Roman Catholic Church. He determined
that he would follow God instead of the teaching of the Church, and desired in his heart for others to do the same.
One man, Paul of Tarsus, heard the call of God and began preaching the Gospel in Asia, Turkey, Italy and the
surrounding areas. As a result, Christianity spread throughout Europe, and our forefathers learned about Jesus.
They handed down what they learned to the next generation and, they to the next until it was handed down to us.
Now it’s our responsibility to carry that same Gospel of Jesus to others and plant the seeds of salvation in their
Do you see how it works? Your church might not be an evangelistic Church. Maybe you sit in church thinking
that something needs to be done about the lost. You’re right, it does. God is calling you. He’s telling you to plant
seeds. If you are a follower of Jesus, you’re a disciple of Jesus. You have been called to spread the good news and
proclaim Jesus Christ to others.
Do you know of ministries that to be started? If so start them. Do you see needs around you? If so fill them. Do
you know people who are hungry? If so feed them. You can’t help everyone, but you can start by helping one. You
may never preach a sermon in church, but you can and should share Jesus, and be a witness for him every day
you live. If you reach one soul, you will be doing a great job for Christ.
In order for a tree to grow, a seed must be planted. If it is kept sealed up in a mason jar, nothing will happen. If
we keep the gospel of Jesus sealed in our heart, and never share it others, there may be people who end up in hell
because we never shared what we knew, and we refuse to plant a seed.
One seed is capable of producing hundreds, maybe even thousands more seeds. A seed is worth nothing if it
isn’t used. I beg of you, use what God has given you. Share the gospel with others.
As I close for today, I would like to invite you to drop me note telling me if these messages are helping you in
any way. If you enjoy them I would love to hear from you. I’m not asking for your money, just some assurance that
you are being blessed in some way. If you have been blessed, if you have questions, or if you would like prayer,
write to me. The address is: Pastor Don Guthrie, 6112 Cedar Run Trail, Broadway, VA 22815. Again the address is,
Pastor Don Guthrie, 6112 Cedar Run Trail, Broadway, VA 22815. I look forward to hearing from you.