Summary: How can we create sanctuary for those around us.
26 He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28 All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. 29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”
30 Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. 32 Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”
33 With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. 34 He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.
35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. 40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
I think most of us are familiar with both stories that I have read. Of course the first part of this scripture is the parable of the mustard seed and the second part is the story of Christ calming the storm at sea.
The scripture helps for this week recommend just the parable of the mustard seed, yet I believe both of these narratives relate very well to today’s theme, Create Sanctuary.
In the second half of our scripture, Christ and his disciples are in a boat on the Sea of Galilee along with several other boats, when a great storm erupts and begins to rock the boat. As the boat rocks with the waves, the disciples become frightened and wake Christ in an effort to be saved. Jesus, of course, uses this as a teachable moment. That is one of the things I like about Jesus, he never lets a good crisis go by without turning it into a valuable lesson.
However, back to the boat. It is rockin’ and rollin’ and the disciples have turned to Christ to save them, once again, from certain death.
With a word of rebuke, Christ quiets the storm, creating sanctuary.
Sanctuary, defined as “any place of refuge”. That, I believe is an accurate description of Jesus Christ himself. Whether it be in person or in spirit, Christ is sanctuary. His disciples learned this and we have been taught it as well. Any time we find ourselves in need of shelter from a storm, be it real or metaphorically, we are able to turn to Christ and, with a word of rebuke, his is able to quite our troubles.
Christ not only created sanctuary that day on the water, but it exuded from him like steam from a tea kettle. Think about all the stories and parables Jesus shared. Think about all the different people who heard these stories and had their lives dramatically altered for the better.
Never did we see Christ refuse someone, never did we see Him tire of the stream of requests for his blessing, never did we see Him not offer exactly what the individual person needed at that moment. That sounds an awful lot like a place of refuge to me.
The parable of the mustard seed, in relation to the theme, gives us a kind of road map or diagram of how our actions might affect those around us.
You might be thinking, “Chris what are you taking about?”
Bear with me. As we read the verses, we know that the mustard seeds are spread out. The seeds represent other people. These seeds are spread out on the ground, which represents us, the followers of Christ.
Now, as that dirt, we play a huge role in the outcome of those two or three seeds that are close to us. If we are toxic ground, those seeds wither and die. If we do not provide water and nutrients those seeds with not take root. Yet, if we are rich and fertile, not only will those adjacent seeds take hold of our nutrients, but they will blossom and erupt into, as verse 32 says, “the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade."