The basic ingredients for bread are flour, water, and yeast. Once these elements are mixed together, the yeast is activated and begins releasing air bubbles that expand the dough. As a result, the bread dough will expand to more than twice its original size. Yeast makes dough rise. Jesus used this process as a parable for the growth of the kingdom of heaven.
“He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.” Matthew 13:33 (NIV)
Once the yeast is mixed into the dough and begins working, nothing can prevent the dough’s growth. The process is steady, continuous, and irreversible. Jesus wants us to understand that Christians are empowered by the Holy Spirit working from the inside out, just as the yeast works in the dough. Like the yeast, the Holy Spirit is an invisible force that generates a profound change that radiates outward to impact our whole life.
Jesus used these graphic illustrations to help bring to life the supernatural elements of His plan for our lives. Just like the prophets that came before Him (Psalm 78:2), Jesus used parables to reveal secrets and mysteries in a way that only His followers would easily comprehend.
“Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet: “I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.” Matthew 13:34-35 (NIV)
When asked by His disciples why He taught in parables, Jesus essentially said that he was speaking in a sort of code that His followers would understand (Matthew 13:16). Jesus did not want to offer these important truths to those who had hardened their heart against him (Matthew 13:15). For this reason, we can surmise that the parables are some of the most important lessons delivered by Jesus.
Parables are like a locker room talk by the head coach intended only for team members. A lot of inside information is provided that would be difficult, if not impossible, for outsiders to understand. Jesus used parables to help us understand that God’s work is visible all around us in everything we do. Jesus did not teach some theoretical doctrine. He turned on a light to reveal the inner workings of God’s Creation. Those who take the time to listen to His instruction will develop the ability to see God’s meticulous details constantly churning away like the inner workings of a fine Swiss watch. Like yeast in bread, this process is steady, continuous, and irreversible.
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