Read Matthew 13: 31-32
There’s nothing special about a mustard seed, and that’s coming from a guy that loves mustard. That strong, peppery, potent flavor is welcome on any sandwich, burger, and brat I eat for the rest of my life.
But on its own, the mustard seed is very humble. At 1-2 mm, they’re among the smallest seeds in existence, and their pale yellow color is far from beautiful. They’re also quite mellow in flavor; ironically enough, mustard seeds are actually the third ingredient listed on a bottle of mustard.
So why would Jesus compare the grand kingdom of Heaven to this seemingly insignificant speck?
On top of that, mustard seeds generally only grow into small flowering plants, maybe a bush at best. So why would Jesus say, “when it grows, it is the largest of the garden plants and becomes a tree,”?
Though some of His listeners may have thought Jesus could use a few horticulture lessons, He knew exactly what He was talking about.
A mustard seed is rather small and unestablished, which was similar to the present situation for believers at that time. But Jesus used this parable to compare the now to the future; the present wasn’t all that impressive, but what’s coming is greater than anyone could imagine. Jesus’ ministry was just beginning, but it would grow far beyond what even the most optimistic believer would have expected. It would eventually blossom into a tree that was unexpectedly and dramatically different than any other mustard seed had previously produced.
And when it reached its maturity, the tree would serve as a home for believers: “so that the birds can come and perch in its branches,” Jesus concluded His parable (Matthew 13:32). Trees are everything to birds: shelter, a resting place, an area to raise children.
That’s what Jesus’ ministry, which began as a puny mustard seed, would become.
That mustard seed hasn’t become a tree yet, but it’s growing, and we as believers can rest in it.
Mustard is a highly divisive condiment; some can’t stand it, while others (hand raised) will slather it on just about anything. But whatever you think of the final product, this passage ensures there’s no doubting of the mustard seed, no matter how humble its beginnings. That seed has the power to change the world.