Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Parable of the Leaven

Scripture: Matthew 13:33

He spoke another parable to them, "The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened." 

Insights:  Now, we've already looked at the parable of the mustard seed and we've learned three lessons from it.  One, the kingdom will start small.  Two, it will become large.  Three, the nations will ultimately enjoy its benefits. But now we're going to look at a very similar lesson in the parable of the leaven.  As always, our Lord picks His parables out of common life experiences.  As a boy growing up, Jesus would have seen His mother make bread many, many times and to make bread one uses yeast or leaven.  To make bread you take a new batch of dough which is all prepared and kneaded.  You then take a piece of sour fermented dough from a former loaf, which is called a starter, and you place it in that new loaf.  At that point the yeast or leaven begins to foment.  Fomenting was a new word for me this week and it means to stimulate, to provoke, to agitate and to generate growth.  As this fomenting process begins the yeast is bubbling and permeating the whole loaf and as a result the loaf rises.  Now let us look at this parable more closely.  Notice the leaven is a very small piece, but you will also notice that it is hidden in three pecks of flour. Three pecks of flour is a massive amount of dough.  Three pecks of flour is equal to one ephah which is equivalent to 4.8 gallons or 19.2 quarts or 38.4 pints of dry substances.  It was not uncommon for them to prepare that much bread because it was the staple of life.  With this bread they feed their families, the servants in the house and often times others as well.  Now, the large amount of flour is indicative of the tremendous enormity of the task accomplished by a little bit of leaven.  In other words, you have the little tiny piece of leaven ultimately extending its impact and affect to a massive amount of dough.  Let me make just a couple more observations about leaven.  Leavened bread is far superior to unleavened bread. Unleavened bread is flat, hard, dry, and unappetizing.  Leavened bread is soft, spongy, warm, and tastes good.  The leaven influences a massive amount of dough positively and makes it better.  Leaven also has to be hidden in the loaf.  In other words, the leaven has to be inserted; it can't sit on the counter and yell at the bread.  It must be inserted. 

  1. Is your life fomenting the world around you?
  2. What kind of large affects are you having on it?
Prayer: Father, I desire to have a powerful influence on the world around me.  Grow me in Your grace and fill me with boldness that I may stir on those around me.  Amen.

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