Summary: Jesus describes his Kingdom as a pinch of yeast and a mustard seed. But it is the empty tomb that makes these useful.
Over the past few weeks we have spent a great deal of time discovering truths about the Kingdom of Jesus. We have discovered that it lives within us and empowers us to do great things for him. We have discovered that we are to co-exist in a world filled with sinners and influence them without allowing them to influence us.
Psalm 78: 1-2 “O my people, listen to my instructions.
Open your ears to what I am saying, for I will speak to you in a parable. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past—” We discovered that we have been given the privilege of learning the hidden secrets of the Kingdom but were warned that if we did not heed these instructions, we could lose what knowledge we have.
Today we will discover the truth about the growth of the Kingdom. Let’s begin with Matthew 13:33. “Jesus also used this illustration: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.”
To understand this parable we must first understand what yeast is and how it works. Yeast is a tiny plant-like microorganism that exists all around us - in soil, on plants and even in the air. It has existed for so long, it is referred to as ‘the oldest plant cultivated by man’. So our first conclusion is the Kingdom exists all around us and has for a very long time. That’s agreed upon.
The main purpose of yeast is to serve as a catalyst in the process of fermentation, which is essential in the making of bread. What is fermentation? The answer is “Any of a group of chemical reactions induced by living or nonliving ferments that split complex organic compounds into relatively simple substances.” So our second conclusion is that the Kingdom serves as a way to take something that seems complex and make it simple. We are to present the Gospel in a simple way as to be understood by everyone. Jesus said “The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” (John 6:33) We know that He is speaking of himself in this passage but when He returned to his Father, He left the Kingdom in our hands. We now represent the One who “comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” We represent the bread of life to those who are lost.
Yeast feeds on the starches in flour, producing carbon dioxide
The carbon dioxide expands the gluten proteins in the flour
The gluten proteins cause the dough (of which flour is a main ingredient) to expand and rise. Our third conclusion is without yeast the bread stays flat. The yeast interacts with the flour to cause a chain reaction that result in fresh bread. The Kingdom must interact with the world to produce growth in the Kingdom. Notice the scripture said “she put in only a little yeast” but it impacted the entire batch of dough.
There is the revelation. You do not have to be a world known evangelist. You don’t have to be a pastor of a mega-church. You don’t have to have a weekly television spot. You only have to be that small influence of the Kingdom in the arena you have been placed in.
I remember when there was a local bakery that had a plant by a major interstate. You could drive by that location at 65 mph and still smell that aroma of fresh baked bread. Ephesians 5:2 tells us to “Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.” When we do our small part for the advancement of the Kingdom of Jesus, there is an aroma that reaches the nostrils of God and He breathes it in.
My wife use to make something called “friendship bread.” It was a recipe for sourdough-type bread that you had to feed and it would grow. The recipe begins with a mixture of yeast, water, flour, sugar, and milk. You stir this mixture for three days then add more flour, sugar, and milk. You stir this mixture again for 4 days then add more flour, sugar, and milk. From this mixture you remove one cup to make some bread and give two cups to a friend along with the recipe. You take the remaining cup and start the process over again.
As I looked over this recipe I noticed that you added a lot of flour, sugar, and milk. However, you only added yeast at the beginning. This recipe could continue for years if you had enough friends but that one dose of yeast is all that was needed. When you mix yourself into the world like yeast and cause positive reactions to those with whom you come into contact, you might never know how that will grow from person to person. One sinner saved leading another sinner to be saved because you were yeast.