Luke 13:20 – 21
And again he said, “To what should I compare the kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”
Jesus gives another parable – What is the kingdom of God like? People of Jesus’ day thought the kingdom of God would mean a Messiah who would overthrow Rome, armies that would make Jerusalem the center of an eternal empire. You see that idea in some of the Old Testament prophets and Psalms. We think of a “kingdom” and we think of fantasy worlds with kings and queens and wizards and fairy godmothers. Or, perhaps, of royal weddings and castles. But Jesus is saying, in parables, that is not what the kingdom of God is like!
In verses 18 & 19, he said the kingdom of God was like the tiniest of seeds, that grows into a tree. Today, he says it is like yeast – a woman puts yeast into a little flour and it leavens the entire loaf. It is like one Christian, who lives and loves others, spreads the word until it catches on and all the village or town is leavened. Yeast is a living organism – we know that today – but that only makes the analogy Jesus is using more real; it is through the living people, through our own presence and willingness to be kingdom people, that the kingdom grows. The kingdom is not a place – not a ruler with an army; the kingdom is “Among you” – it is you. The Kingdom is in your heart.
But Jesus has used the analogy of yeast elsewhere – he has told the disciples not to be contaminated by the yeast of the Pharisees, for that too can penetrate the entire loaf. That yeast is self-righteousness and living by rules so one can be better than his neighbor.
The yeast of the Kingdom is love, love for God and love for neighbor. It is not always the easy way – but to live in the kingdom it is necessary! Anyone who has baked bread knows that yeast can also be killed – get the water too hot you dissolve it in, keep the package in the cupboard too long – and the yeast does not leaven, the bread is flat. think about that – do we sometimes stay in the cupboard too long? Do we fail to love? Do we fail to make the bread rise – are we sometimes flat?