Matthew 13:33 (context, vv. 33-35)
“He told them another parable.”
“The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”
One version says 50 lbs (or 40 liters for your metric fiends) of flour. Crazy, why that much is beyond me–some figured it out and it would be enough bread for 100 people at least. Far more flour and yeast that was close to normal use. The parable that Jesus taught would certainly be humorous to the listeners. I suppose their imaginations were in overdrive.
What Jesus taught in these stories was the truth that engaged the listeners. They would leave and the stories would stick.
These parables, or stories, were like bombs that would eventually explode in the hearts of the people. Sooner or later, maybe when they least expected it, these parables would suddenly make sense. A lightning strike. Very seldom did they connect immediately. We can see this by the disciples’ desire to have them explained. They didn’t get it at first. But when Jesus illuminated them, they understood.
Back to verse 33. Lots and lots of flour, and just a bit of yeast (leaven). It doesn’t take much to make bread rise.
Notice she “hid” the yeast. Perhaps she didn’t realize the power they had when they mixed–and why the secrecy? What was going on with that?
I’m starting to think that the kingdom of God has a definite power. It works secretly, it’s not visible to anyone. It just does its stuff. The yeast, combined with the flour is a hidden process–something that isn’t observable. Perhaps that’s the way God’s kingdom comes, quietly, secretly but powerfully. Once the flour and yeast have come together it’s pretty difficult to stop it.
The kingdom is working in our lives.
And most of the time it’s a hidden work. We can’t understand the process or grasp how it’s happening. We seldom know what God is doing. We may concentrate on being a witness to our neighbor, (which is a good thing, please do) but perhaps the Holy Spirit is working instead on our patience or love.
What we think is going on escapes us. I’ve been in ministry for almost 40 years now, and I’ve tried to be faithful and worked on my discernment. But it seems I don’t quite grasp yet what the Father is doing inside of me. And I admit, I’m not really sure what’s going on in the lives of those I teach and counsel. Most of the time, I have no idea what he’s doing.
And that’s alright. I know he loves me very much and I trust him to work in me.
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”