The Parable Of The Mustard Seed: Meaning and Lessons


From the smallest of seeds comes the largest of plants. The parable of the mustard seed is one that is pregnant with meaning for the believer.


Jesus used a lot of parables to teach people during His earthly ministry. Parables are stories used to depict a moral, or in Jesus’ case, a spiritual lesson.


One of His shortest ones is the parable of the mustard seed. The growth of mustard seeds into trees is quite spectacular, and has been a wonder under human eyes. But in retrospect, what did Jesus expect us to learn from this story?


What Verse Is The Parable Of The Mustard Seed?


The parable appears three times in the gospels of the Bible. The first is in Matthew 13:31–32 and the others are in Mark 4:30–32 and Luke 13:18–19.

Matthew 13:31-32 says,

 “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 seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches” 


What Does The Mustard Seed Represent?

Jesus uses a mustard seed to represent the kingdom of God. You see, the mustard seed is only about 1 or 2 millimeters in diameter, but the tree grows up to 20 feet in height.

You wouldn’t imagine that such a huge and majestic tree could spring forth from such a tiny seed.

Jesus used this parable to describe the amazing growth God’s kingdom would experience with time.

He tried to help the disciples understand that though they were little in number and seemed unqualified at the time, the Gospel of the Kingdom would spread everywhere from this minority and grow to become such a huge movement that couldn’t be stopped.

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Its influence and reach would be so mighty that every single person (birds as described in the parable) who came to it would find refuge.


How God’s Kingdom Grows In Us

Today, Jesus’ Words in the parable of the mustard seed have come to pass and the church has seen such an eruptive growth throughout the centuries despite all attempts to stomp it out.

This is because God Himself backed up His Words and was with the disciples to spread His rule and reign on earth.

Even today, God rules on earth through the believer. Psalm 82:6 tells us that we are God’s representatives here on earth, a reflection of God’s majesty and glory on earth. When we grow, God’s kingdom does too.


So how does this parable of the mustard seed apply to us as Christians in the present day? God has a plan and purpose for each and every one of us. Just like a mustard seed, we may seem insignificant or unworthy now, but there’s so much greatness inside of us because we are walking temples hosting God.


A mustard seed takes years to grow into a huge impressive tree. Before that, it lays in the cold ground, covered by dirt, not realizing that anything good could come out of it. In the same way, right now it may feel like there’s no hope in sight, but God sees the tree that we can become and not the little seed that we are right now.


Like the mustard tree gives more seeds to plant, He not only wants to bring shelter to many through our lives but to help us raise others who will in turn advance His kingdom. When we allow God to lead us as we grow, the Gospel grows too.


What Does It Mean To Have Mustard Seed Faith?

This kind of faith is mentioned twice in the Bible. The first time was in Matthew 17:14–20. Jesus’ disciples were unable to cast out a demon from a boy even though they had already been given the authority to do so.

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After Jesus had cast out the devil Himself, the disciples came to ask Him why they couldn’t and He said, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘move from here to there’ and it will move; Nothing will be impossible for you”.


The second time was in Luke 17:6. Jesus told His disciples plainly, 

“If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.” 


Jesus uses this to explain to His disciples that there’s nothing like “little faith”. It’s either you have faith or you don’t. Little is much when it comes to God’s power at work in the believer. There’s a difference between accepting something and believing it. Like the Bible says in Hebrews 11:1, faith makes us sure of the things we hope for. We have to trust God’s Word with our hearts even when it seems impossible.


Therefore to have mustard seed faith simply means that if we actually believe that God’s power can do something, and will do it, especially for us, it would happen. We don’t need a lot to move mountains or trees. We only have to be convinced that it will move, speak from that conviction and it will.


Prayer For Mustard Seed Faith

Prayer is important in helping us believe in God’s Words more, because even faith comes from Him. You can find more prayers and assistance to grow your faith to a mustard seed with some very resourceful Christian apps available in your app store.



Father, I thank You that according to your Word, when we pray, we only need faith the size of a mustard seed. And if we have the faith of a mustard seed, we could say to this mountain, ”Move from here to there” and it will move – nothing is impossible for You.

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Lord I do have faith, “please help my unbelief ”. Help my unbelief not to override my faith, help me to focus on your word more and not be so moved by my five senses. For you said Lord, that my heart would lie to me, for who can trust it?


Help me to believe with the eyes of faith. My desire, Lord, is to walk by faith and not by sight.

I don’t want to be like doubting Thomas and have to see before I believe. For even though I have not seen you, I know you exist, for you live in me. You said more blessed is he who believes even though they do not see.


I admit it’s hard sometimes to believe when there is so much going on around me. But God, I know that you are Omnipotent (all powerful) and you are Omnipresent (always present everywhere), and in the name of Jesus, I will exercise the amount of faith that I do have. With your help, the mountain will come down.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.


The Parable of the Mustard Seed

Faith makes the supernatural natural for us and makes the natural seem supernatural. Just like the mustard seed doesn’t grow overnight, our growth in faith takes time too. We must let patience have its perfect work in us.


Like it has been explained in this parable, we are also called to grow out of being buried in the ground to become a flourishing tree that gives life to all.


The same way the early disciples did so many years ago, we must get over our feelings of unworthiness and cooperate with God to manifest His greatness through our vessels. God doesn’t call the qualified at all but qualifies those who answer His call. 


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