Learning from the Mustard Seed
Part 1: Surrendering to Transformation
“The kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field. 32 It is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the biggest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air can come and shelter in its branches.” Matthew 13:31-32 (New Jerusalem Bible)
Jesus paints a wonderful picture of fruitfulness in this parable. This and several following posts examine the steps towards fruitfulness implicit in this parable.
The first is to let go and let God transform us. The mustard seed must germinate before it can grow into the fruitfulness Jesus describes here. A time lapse view of a seed germinating shows the seed losing its previous nature. It loses its dryness by absorbing water, swells, and breaks far beyond the shell that was its outer limit. In other words, the seed is transformed, its old nature is replaced.
That is essential. As Jesus explained in John 12:24 “unless a wheat grain falls into the earth and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies,” i.e. surrenders its previous existence via germination, “it yields a rich harvest.”
That is not an easy process. Human nature rebels against it and Jesus Himself struggled with it. See John 12:27, Matthew 26:37-44, Mark 14:34-39, Mark 15:34.
But we can get through it; God promises that. 1 Corinthians 10:13. Jesus modeled several specific techniques for dealing with the difficulty involved. He focused on the tremendous good on the other side of the process. John 12:24, Hebrews 12:2. He asked God to help Him through it, and the Father honored that. John 12:28, Luke 22:41-44. He directly faced the difficulty involved without delay or evasion. Matthew 26:45-46, Mark 14:41-42 , John 18:3-5. He focused on how He could help others as He was going through it. Luke 22:49-51, Luke 23:34, Luke 23:39-43, John 18:7-8.