A Home In the Mustard Tree

Guest Post: Nimmy Koshy

We had these two huge trees in our backyard – a weeping willow and an oak tree. I loved the weeping willow tree because how it was planted created a great little reading nook right by its roots. I loved growing up and spending the long summer afternoons curled up underneath its shade with a good book.

The oak tree became a favorite of mine due to the fact that the branches of the tree met my bedroom window. I loved waking up to the sound of the birds – to be reminded of the new start to each and every morning. I loved hearing the woodpecker, the chipmunk and all the squirrels busying about their day all from my bedroom window.

This past year both trees were cut down. Those two trees I had come to love and I had many memories with were no longer a source of refuge or a source of joy for me. The cold Minnesota winter melted away and as the springtime noises start to return, I no longer hear the bustle of birds outside my window, no longer hear the woodpecker hammer away at the oak’s strong trunk, and I no longer have front row seats to the squirrels jumping from branch to branch. The willow tree is no longer there to provide shade in the hot summer afternoons, and nature’s perfect reading nook is not present to rest on. Most of all, I miss how the trees created a sense of safety and shelter in my life.

Those trees reminded me of a parable that the Lord Jesus shared:

He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field.  It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” | Matthew 13:31-32

What did the Lord Jesus see in the mustard seed? What made it so sweet to Him? Why would the Lord consider the mustard seed to be a picture of Himself?

The mustard seed died in the soil.
It was only useful when it died. 

Only through the mustard seed’s death did it bear life. That life was then poured out again for others. The mustard seed’s death gave birth to a tree, and that tree gave refuge to creatures in need. What a picture of our Lord Jesus!

He was that mustard seed — the son of a carpenter, from Nazareth, a nobody’s nobody – someone that society would call absolutely useless. Even Nathanael said to Philip,

“Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” | John 1:46

The Creator of the heavens decided to be emptied of Himself, of His worth. He took the form of a servant and was born in the likeness of men (Philippians 2:6-7). 

He chose to become the human equivalent
of a mustard seed – the smallest of all seeds.
The Lord Jesus Christ chose to become Jesus the Nazarene.
It was Christ’s  d e a t h  that gave us eternal  l i f e  in Him. 

The mustard seed was taken and sowed. How does a plant grow? A plant grows only by the seed dying and being buried. Beloved, while we were far gone, the Lord Jesus died for us. Before the birds of the air knew that they would find refuge in the branches of the mustard tree; the mustard seed had to die. The only way the Lord Jesus was able to provide for us was through His death.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly… but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us… For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled shall we be saved by His life. | Romans 5:6-10

Friends, He died for us. He died for us so that we might have abundant life through Him. We have this Savior who longs to give us an abundance of grace and open the storehouses of heaven for us.

For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. | Romans 5:17

Our Lord even said while He was on earth,

…I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. | John 10:10

Not only does He give us life, not only did His death allow Him to create the way for us to have life, but our Jesus made Himself our home. 

Our Jesus is our  r e f u g e .

The birds of the air came into the branches of the mustard tree and made their homes.

We, beloved, are called into the inner safety of the arms of the Lord Jesus, 

so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf… | Hebrews 6:18-20

The Lord Jesus is the anchor of our souls. Just like the birds of the air flee to the mustard tree for refuge, we who have fled for refuge can cling to the promises of the Lord, the provision of the Lord, simply because of the work of Christ.

Unlike the mustard tree that only has a certain amount of branches, the provision that that Lord Jesus has is for


He is the perfect mustard tree. In His branches, there is always room to come and find rest. And He continues to promise that:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. | Matthew 11:28

Beloved, come into His branches, make your home there,
rest upon the branches of the mustard tree.

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