Mustard Seed

What does it mean to have a mustard seed of faith? Will we plant it so it can grow or keep it on the table wondering why it isn’t doing anything? What does it mean to walk by faith and not by sight?

John 9:6-12
6 When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went away and washed, and came back seeing. 8 Therefore the neighbors, and those who previously saw him as a beggar, were saying, “Is not this the one who used to sit and beg?” 9 Others were saying, “This is he,” still others were saying, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the one.” 10 So they were saying to him, “How then were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered, “The man who is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash’; so I went away and washed, and I received sight.” 12 They said to him, “Where is He?” He *said, “I do not know.”

Let’s look at the ridiculousness of this story: First, Jesus makes mud out of spit and puts it in this guy’s eyes. Frankly, that would gross and weird me out. Maybe if my eyes were dead to me, I wouldn’t have cared as much, but either way, that’s a bit strange, isn’t it? Secondly, He tells this man to go to a city and wash it off. Now, I don’t know about you, but couldn’t the blind man have just washed it off wherever he was? No, Jesus told him to go walk somewhere with mud smeared on his face. “Ok, so you not only put spit and dirt in my eyes, now you want me to walk around looking like an idiot?”

What’s the miracle in this story? Many would say that the guy could see. I say the man’s renewed sight is but a distraction from the real miracle: the witnesses who wanted to find Jesus. Let’s look at the elements of this story:

Our iniquities aren’t a curse, but rather an opportunity.

We discussed last time that perspective is everything. If we look at the things that we think are wrong with us as a curse instead of understanding that God made us this way for a specific purpose, then we are missing the point. I recall Marine Corps boot camp and what helped me get through what I thought was a bunch of power trips and control mechanisms. For anyone who has been through some sort of military training, you will nod your head as you recall the numerous “games” that were “played” with us. Running back and forth to pick up my hygiene kit and put it back or getting dressed and undressed 12 times before breakfast because we weren’t fast enough was really a pain in the neck and a test of one’s own sanity. I started realizing something though: these guys only had but 12 weeks to make me a Marine. 12 weeks to teach me everything I needed to know not only to survive this new way of life, but to survive combat. Why would they be wasting time to do this? They weren’t. Similarly, God doesn’t waste time on us. In Celebrate Recovery, we talk about how “God doesn’t waste a hurt.” This man’s blindness had a purpose, although the majority of us (and even himself) would think that being born blind is a cruel joke by the Creator.

Our healing is a result of action based on faith that He can and will heal us.

Sometimes it takes us being at a place of having nothing left to lose. We read that this man was a beggar, so some random guy putting mud in his eyes may not have been much of a deal to him. I think we have all been at a place in our lives where we are willing to try anything. Maybe concerning relationships, maybe some kind of physical pain we are experiencing, maybe an addiction or habit we are trying to kick. We read in the bible about having faith the size of a mustard seed. I believe this is exactly that kind of faith. That simple “what if” in the back of our minds that says what this crazy guy is saying to me could actually be possible is the mustard seed that has the potential to grow into a giant plant. We can’t just let a see sit around and expect it to grow though, can we? We have to do something with it. Generally, we know what to do with a seed to make it grow, but the knowledge comes from somewhere. We need direction, and Jesus gave the man this direction. “Take that ‘what if this works’ thought in the deepest part of your mind and soul and go. Go to this place and do this thing.” The man went and did it and what happened? His faith made him well. Someone told him “put the seed in soil and dump water on it.” It may just work, but the only way you will find out if it does is by doing it.

The purpose is not for our own benefit, but for the benefit of others.

Certainly, it is clear to see here that acting in response to God’s direction leads to blessings. In this man’s case it was sight, certainly the biggest thing that has happened to him since he was born (that we know of from the story). What was the point though? I mean, if Jesus wanted all blind people to see, He could just blink and make it happen, right? The point here isn’t for physical sight, but rather spiritual yearning. It’s that mustard seed of faith that needs to keep being planted. Isn’t it ironic that now that the man can see he couldn’t see the man that made him well? It wasn’t about physically seeing Jesus, but rather experiencing His glory, wonder, and power. I think this adds a new twist to “seeing is believing”. The man doesn’t believe because he saw Jesus perform a miracle, but rather he believes because Jesus made him see. Made him see that He is God, that He is the great physician, that He does love us. As a result of this, that tiny mustard seed of “what if” was planted in all who witnessed the man walking with sight. God makes us believe the unbelievable.

What mustard seed in your life is waiting to be planted? Is it sitting on the table? Why don’t you look into how to plant it or ask around to find out how to make it grow? Is someone asking you what they should do with their seed? Have you lost the seed altogether or thrown it away? Maybe you should start looking for another one.



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