Matthew 17:20 - And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
Faith has been always compared to a mustard seed because of the parable that Jesus narrated. Many preachers and evangelist give the example of the mustard seed which being the smallest of seed dies and becomes a great tree, which houses birds of the air. I too use too take this example, until someone questioned me 'mustard seed does not become a tree?' So I checked up the scriptures and was amazed to find, how we ignore scripture verifications and take human word at face value.
Firstly mustard seed does not grow into a tree. Even Jesus knew it therefore He said Mark 4:32 - 'greater than all herbs'. Mustard is an herb and grows into a large shrub, which can be maximum height of 8 feet / 3m (only specific variety of mustard do that, else it is a very small shrub) but still does not become into tree nor big enough for birds to lodge in it.
Secondly mustard is not the smallest of seeds, there are many variety of seeds smaller than mustard.
Thirdly the mustard seed example is used in two parables - one for faith and the other Kingdom of Heaven / God. The example of mustard seed and tree is nothing to do with faith, but with the Kingdom of God.
So why did Jesus use the mustard in both His parables. There is one property of this seed for which it was specially selected for the parables (in this mail I will stick to the faith example).
If you open or dissect a mustard seed, it is a compact seed which has no air chamber in it, unlike most seeds. Air (symbolically) in the Bible has been associated with evil and not with God. Therefore mustard seed can be identified as a pure seed.
What Jesus wanted to teach us is that, even if your faith is small what matters, is it's purity - without doubt. Doubt is compared to air, which goes against God's Kingdom. To receive or achieve anything in faith, more than size - purity matters.
So let's make our faith perfect by exercising it regularly, taking the promises from the Bible and helping people in need. As we keep seeing it work, the air will come out and it will start to become perfect.
[ Prayer Starter ]
Father God, You have called me to be your child by sowing a seed of faith in me. Help me Father that I help grow it and keep it pure by not letting doubt come into it. I ask this prayer in Jesus' Name, Amen.
[ Reference Scripture ]
31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth:
32 But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.
18 Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it?
19 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.
2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
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