This parable is short and sweet. Nothing difficult nor complicated. Just my type!
33 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.”
Questions to Consider
Who were the audience?
When did the Lord give this parable?
Where did the Lord teach the parable?
Why did the Lord give this message?
If you have been following this series, you will remember the previous parable (Parable Surprises – The Mustard Seed) and the teaching the Lord gave on the extent of growth, no better yet the unexpected relative growth of the Kingdom.
A tiny seed that grows to become larger than all the garden plants and eventually a tree, providing protection, even a home, for the birds of the air.
This parable also teaches about the growth of the Kingdom, but not the eventual size and purpose of the Kingdom, but of the power of the growth. The leaven in the flour is mixed in until all the flour is affected, till all the flour has been leavened.
What was the message for the original audience?
The Lord gave us a direct link as to what the leaven is equal to in this parable. The Kingdom of Heaven is like leaven.
Ok – So I was recently asked a great question (thanks Andy) about the birds of the air in the previous Parables post and what they represented. I provided an answer that included discussing the leaven of our current study, and leaven’s association with sin throughout much of the Bible. I concluded how I am reluctant to find direct associations beyond the parable’s intended point.
With that said, what does the flour represent? I realize the point of the parable is the continual growth of the loaf, but now I’m wondering what the flour represents.
Does it represent the future church? If so, I’m confused about what the church is comprised of. Is not the church, the body of Christ, all believers that have received the Spirit of God, been born from above. That would also differentiate the Church from the Kingdom of Heaven, which would continue my confusion. No, that ain’t right!
Ok, so it represents the world the church will be called out from, yet be in, affecting the world and providing the Kingdom’s influence throughout the world?
The implications of this are somewhat surprising.
The Lord stated that the leaven would be kneaded until the entire three measures of flour (entire world?) would be leavened. This parable speaks of the energy for the growth of the Kingdom, which we know after the resurrection and Pentecost that the Spirit of God is the One who provides life and growth. Will the entire world/flour be influenced by the Holy Spirit? Will the entire world eventually be the Kingdom? Am I going too far with the point of the parable?
What is the message for us today?
As with the previous parable, the message could be interpreted in a number of ways, depending on your eschatology. Suffice it to say, that this parable is to give us confidence in the outcome, the unstoppable growth of the Body of Christ. It is easy in our decadent, self loving North American church, to watch the church seemingly shrivel up, ready to die. And my fears are that is a present reality, but let us not be dismayed. Though many may decide through selfish ambition, pride or desire for comfort to abandon their faith, it is a personal decision on each of our parts to follow, to seek to hear His voice, to stand up for His ways, and to encourage one another, as we see the Day approaching.
The Kingdom IS growing. The Messiah said so. “The woman” is still kneading the flour, and that may not be a comfortable condition for the believer (speaking as a flour particle, that is!!!)
But we are to walk by faith, even when sight seems to be screaming at us that all is lost.
Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.