Keele: The Kingdom Of God In This Life Is Paradoxical

And again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? It is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.” (Luke 13:20-21)

A similar dynamic is brought out with the next comparison. The kingdom is also like leaven or yeast. We typically think of leaven in the Bible as negative imagery, but it can also be positive, as in this case. In fact, where unleavened bread was called the bread of affliction (humble contrition) in the Old Testament, leavened bread was the height of joy and peace. Yet, leaven itself is known for its power; just a pinch goes a long way. So in this parable, leaven is taken by a woman and hidden in a batch of flour, and the whole batch is leavened.

This is no small batch of dough. The woman puts the yeast in three seahs (a unit of dry measure) of flour, which comes to 39 liters or 78 pounds of flour. According to one bread recipe, this would make 54 large loaves of bread. If you made Italian pizzas, this much flour would make 270 pizzas! Imagine kneading this much bread—this is one hard-working woman!

Jesus’ point is that the kingdom’s power is massive. It starts out small, but it can leaven the whole, huge batch. Thus in the end, the kingdom will leaven the whole world. The kingdom will swell to encompass the whole of creation in the resurrection. In Christ’s second coming, the kingdom of this age will become the kingdom of God and the Lamb.

Yet, the glorious end is contrasted with the mysterious working of leaven. The leaven is hidden in the flour. Once you mix in the yeast, it is invisible. The yeast works mysteriously, unseen, and powerfully. This is the way of Christ’s kingdom. The kingdom works powerfully and mysteriously until it has raised all of this creation into the glory of the new creation. Read more»

Zach Keele | “Why Did Jesus Compare God’s Kingdom to a Mustard Seed and Leaven?” | Apr 29, 2022


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