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Have you heard the parable of the mustard seed in Matthew 13:31-32? “The kingdom 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.”(NIV)
Why did Jesus tell this parable? I think he wanted to encourage his disciples. Remember he told several parables on the same day. The first one, the parable of the sower, indicated that 3 of the 4 responses to his message would ultimately fail. Then he told the parable of the weeds. In it, an enemy sows bad seed in the field.
If you were a disciple of Jesus, you might have been discouraged at this point! First, a lot of effort would produce nothing. On top of that, Jesus’ kingdom would be opposed. So, the third parable, which he told to the crowd and his disciples, indicates that Jesus’ kingdom will grow far beyond the few who followed him that day. It would grow tremendously, even in the face of opposition.
This is a good parable to keep in mind. When you’re discouraged because others don’t want to follow Jesus, or because many oppose him, remember the mustard seed! Jesus’ kingdom has grown, and will continue to grow!
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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.