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.”
Matthew 13:33 New Living Translation
We have done our share of bread making in our house since buying a bread machine at a garage sale a few years ago. I have always been fascinated by the work of the yeast. I’ve learned you have to be careful with yeast, though. When I first attempted to make bread in our machine, I didn’t concern myself with the order I used to put the ingredients in. The yeast and the salt ended up touching each other and the salt killed the yeast. The end result was a hard and dense lump of cooked dough that had very little resemblance to bread. When used properly, though, the yeast permeates the flour mixture and creates a lighter, larger, and more airy loaf that is a pleasure to eat.
Throughout His time on earth, Jesus used many everyday illustrations to explain to His followers what the Kingdom of God was like. In the verse quoted above, He uses yeast as His illustration. This image points to how people who are living by the principles of the Kingdom of God can change the environment around them through influence. In a way, it contrasts the harsh religious system of the Pharisees seen in Chapter 12. The Pharisees tried to control behavior through external controls. The way of Jesus was to change hearts from the inside out. His approach would create healthier growth for people in an environment that nurtures and doesn’t crush.
We have the opportunity to bring the presence of the Kingdom of God to a variety of environments every day. The call of the followers of Jesus is to change environments from the inside out, not to control outcomes through external pressure. When we are faithfully present in people’s lives and follow the example of Jesus, we have the opportunity to influence positive change in the lives around us.
Jesus, help us to be people who influence others for good the way You do.