Have you ever opened your front door and been engulfed in a mouth-watering aroma from the oven? I often experienced this as a young girl after school. Mama would bake immense loaves of bread that bulged from their pans, begging to be sliced. Nothing smells better. It’s my all-time favorite treat, especially with butter melting on a hot slice.
The memory came to mind when I read from the book of Luke.
Jesus said, “Do you want me to tell you what the kingdom of God is like? It’s like some yeast which a woman hid within a huge quantity of flour; soon the whole batch of dough was rising.”Luke 13:20-21 The Voice
I love the way Jesus used common everyday objects and experiences to teach biblical truth. The Gospels in the New Testament—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John— are full of His clever and impactful parables. Read them and be blessed.
I wanted to learn why Jesus compared the kingdom of God to yeast.
Women in Jesus’ day couldn’t run to the nearest grocery store to pick up a loaf of bread. There wasn’t even packaged yeast available. In those days, a woman would save a small piece of dough from the last batch she made, and add it to the new dough. She’d mix a small amount of the saved dough, which served as yeast, with a large amount of dough. The yeast permeated the dough and caused it to grow in volume.
How does this apply to the kingdom?
Yeast begins small.
The kingdom of God began with Jesus. The small bit of yeast spreads through the dough and after a certain amount of time, the whole batch rises and expands. Jesus’ kingdom began when He taught His disciples the good news and they spread His message in their communities and throughout the world. The message is still spreading today.
Yeast begins to work in the middle of the dough.
The kingdom of God spreads from one person to another. Someone has a change of heart followed by an outer change. Ever since Jesus manifested His kingdom, Christians within a culture have been agents of change as they model godly lives and share the good news with others.
Yeast is invisible.
Yeast is unseen, like the kingdom, but once you take a bite of bread you know the yeast is there. It’s tastier. Our presence ought to enhance our communities. We Christians should make our society more flavorful.
Some Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God would come. The Kingdom of God comes—but not with signs that you can observe. People are not going to say, “Look! Here it is!” You want to see the kingdom of God? The kingdom of God is already here among you.Luke 17:20-21 The Voice
Yeast’s purpose is to grow and change whatever it contacts.
The kingdom of God will spread into every corner of the earth. When we follow Jesus, we receive His grace and He changes us from the inside out. The gospel transforms individual lives and it pervades the whole world.
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.Habakkuk 2:14 NIV
You need to plan ahead when you bake bread. You have to allow time for the dough to rise before it can be baked. I wonder if we also need to be intentional about how we connect with people and how we influence them for the sake of the kingdom of God. I love to bake bread. I’ll never watch dough rise again without thinking of the kingdom of God expanding across the earth through regular people—secret ingredients— like me.
Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen.Psalm 72:19 NIV