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He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened." Matthew 13:33

I recently made a pizza crust; the directions said to pour the flour into a bowl and add warm water, eggs, oil, and yeast. Each ingredient served a purpose: the flour for volume, the eggs to hold it together, and the oil to make the mixture more manageable to knead. But the yeast played the most crucial role; without it, the dough would not rise, and the mixture would only be pancake batter. Also, when it comes to measurement, it takes very little yeast for the leven reaction to happen.

Today's parable is the shortest that Jesus told and follows the second shortest and perhaps more well-known Parable of the Mustard Seed.

Frequently, when yeast is mentioned in the scripture, it has negative connotations and is a symbol of sin. And it is true that only a little sin, like yeast, affects the whole. Once the yeast is in the flour, it is an impossible human feat to separate it; that is a job only God can do.

But in this instance, Jesus, as he often does, turns conventional thinking upside down. In expanding the kingdom of heaven, the gospel acts like yeast to our souls–it takes only a little for it to make a lot. A natural spiritual reaction happens when we hear the good news of Jesus Christ and accept Him as our Savior.

There is also a story of evangelism here. In accepting Christ, we become yeast. Several years ago, a friend gave us some Amish friendship bread batter. You would take some from the batter as you made bread, but always keep some in reserve. Our experience with friendship bread was you always had an abundance. You would bake loaves for yourself and friends and give away starter batter, but you always had plenty left. Our sharing of the life-transforming message of Jesus is like that; there is plenty to give away, and we needn't fear running out–there's plenty to go around.

God, thank you for the yeast of your kingdom. Help us receive from it what we need to grow in you and share it with others. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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