September 17th, 2021 – Matthew 13:33

Verse of the Day Devotion  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 meal, until it was all leavened.” 

Today we will look at the Parable of the Leaven.   It is one verse long, which we have as our focus verse, therefore we will not put it here again. He repeats the formula of verses 24 and 31 where He says, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like”. This time He gives us a picture of a woman at work preparing food. Bread was commonly made at home and was not purchased from a store or bakery, and therefore Jesus uses this idea, describing a woman working at home to perform this task.

This parable of Jesus is similar to the Parable of the Mustard Seed, and in fact comes right after it.  There are some who look at leaven as always describing evil or sin, however, to use the phrase “The Kingdom of Heaven is like leaven” discards this idea.  In this parable it refers to the unperceived power and efficacy of the gospel, pervading, transforming, and renewing the mind, heart, and life of people. In fact, Moses refers to it as used in sacramental bread. “‘With the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving, he shall present his offering with cakes of leavened bread.” Leviticus 7:13. That in some contexts it may be used as a symbol for evil forces does not mean that in others it cannot stand for what is good.

Jesus speaks of the woman as putting her piece of leaven into three measures of flour until the whole was leavened. The leaven was but a small amount, but in time it changed the large quantity of flour by causing it to rise; just as the mustard seed, which is smaller than all other seeds, “when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants, and becomes a tree, so that THE BIRDS OF THE AIR come and NEST IN ITS BRANCHES.” Matthew 13:32b.  This parable, as does the parable of the mustard seed, brings out the contrast and the continuity between the small beginnings of the kingdom and its great consummation. The little group of disciples might be despised as preaching a kingdom too insignificant to be noticed, but as surely as a tiny piece of leaven had its effect on a large mass of dough, so surely would the kingdom have its effect throughout the world. The parable also makes the point that the power that effects the change comes from outside the dough; the mass of dough does not change itself.

What we can take from this parable is that the effect of God’s Kingdom will be complete, just as the leaven works until the dough has completely risen. The nature of leaven is to grow and to change whatever it contacts. When we accept Christ, We grow in the grace of God and our heart is changed from the inside out. As the gospel transforms lives, it exerts a pervasive influence in the world at large. As we reflect the Lord’s glory, we are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. “But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

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