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The Weekly Word: The measure of a mustard seed

By Rev. Daniel Larson, Cross Lutheran Church

Jesus told a parable:

“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.”

— Matthew 13:31-32

What is America’s tallest mountain? Which is our largest lake? Largest city? Most populous state? If you answered Mt. McKinley, Lake Superior, New York City and California, you must be among the many people who pay attention to big things. After all, we Americans like to live in big houses, eat big meals, and work longer hours than almost any other people in the world. So we tend to live by the motto, “Bigger is better.”

But Jesus takes the “less is more” approach. He says, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed.”

Have you ever seen a mustard seed? It’s so tiny that hundreds, and maybe thousands, of them can fit in the palm of your hand.

Why would Jesus speak this way? Because it is possible to be so focused on what looks big and impressive that we overlook God and His seemingly “small” blessings to us. And it’s a common mistake. After all, look at Jesus.

At first glance, there was nothing big or impressive about Him. When He came to establish His kingdom among us by faith in Him, He came as a child of a poor girl in a conquered country. He was born in a stable. He grew up in a small, obscure village. His followers were nobodies. He never wrote a book, held office, or possessed lots of money. He never lived in a palace or even a house of His own. After a few years in the public eye, He was crucified on a cross like a common criminal. And at that time on Good Friday Jesus looked very small, powerless, and defeated.

But do you see? When Jesus told the story of the mustard seed, He gave us a short story that speaks to us about our spiritual lives. The measure of the mustard seed is not found in its tiny size, but in the huge plant that it grows into.

In the same way, the measure of Jesus’ humble life and death is not found in how many people missed its meaning at the time, but it is found in what Jesus accomplished for the whole world. By His perfect, sinless life and innocent suffering and death, Jesus has freed all people from the guilt and punishment of sin.

Now countless millions who have put their trust in Him for salvation have become part of His eternal kingdom.

And when Jesus rose from His humble, borrowed grave on Easter morning, He proved that what seems small and weak can be amazingly huge and powerful.

Soon Eastertime will be here again. Why not celebrate by finding out what Christ’s life, death, and resurrection can mean for you in your life? You might be surprised!

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Come and join us at Cross Lutheran Church. Our worship services are Sundays at 9:30 a.m. Our Easter Sunday Sunrise Service will be at 7 a.m.

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