Mustard Seed and Yeast
24 March 2018
GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Scripture: Matthew 13:31-35 (Click link for scripture in Bible Gateway)
31 Here is another illustration Jesus used: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.” 33 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.” 34 Jesus always used stories and illustrations like these when speaking to the crowds. In fact, he never spoke to them without using such parables. 35 This fulfilled what God had spoken through the prophet: “I will speak to you in parables. I will explain things hidden since the creation of the world.” (Matthew 13:31–35 NLT)
Jesus told two brief stories for those whose ears could hear and whose hearts were teachable. The mustard seed is small, and the mustard plant is large. This isn’t the same as an acorn and oak tree story. Acorn and oak is a multi-decade story, the mustard seed story is a quick, one-season story. Takeaway for me: The growth is not organizational, not mechanical, not military, not political. It’s all organic. The life is in the seed. When it’s planted, life does what life does, it grows.
Yeast is usually a negative illustration in the Bible—in Jesus’ other stories and elsewhere. Here it’s entirely positive. The yeast is proportionately a very tiny amount (a half-teaspoon) mixed into a very large amount of flour (between five and ten gallons). Takeaway for me: The life is in the yeast, but for the life to get into the bread, it must be mixed in thoroughly. It won’t work to put yeast in one pan and flour in another. You’ve got to mix it in and let it do what yeast does!
The simple stories Jesus told to the crowds were alive with truth. Even if the people were dull-hearted and didn’t have ears to hear, they remembered the simple stories. Like a seed, the truth contained in the story was alive, so when people’s hearts were ready and they remembered the story, the truth came alive and hearts and lives changed. The truth is in the story, ready when you are! Are you ready?
Father, Thank you for the stories. I’m not always ready for the truth in the story when I first hear it, but the truth in the story is alive and your Spirit is patient. I’m thankful for every truth that has come alive in my heart and life. I’m anticipating more and more in the days ahead. Jesus, I commit to follow you all the days of my life! Amen!