Matthew 13:33, another parable spake He unto them, “The kingdom of Heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.” This helps us understand how we receive the kingdom of heaven. When we receive it into our lives this is how we become part of receiving the kingdom of heaven.
Luke 17:21, “Neither shall they say, ‘Lo here!’ Or ‘Lo there!’ For, behold the kingdom of God is within you.” A woman had three measures of meal and put leaven in it and waited for the whole to be leavened. When we receive the kingdom of Heaven, it has to do with the spirit of God. As we are willing to receive this into our lives something is going to happen. Before the leaven was put there, meal was made. A broken and contrite spirit. In order for meal to be made it takes a crushing. Would there be any point at all for a woman to take three measures of wheat that had not been crushed? The leaven needs meal. It needs grain that has been crushed and made into meal in order for there to be any evidence of it working. A broken and contrite spirit is what takes place.
Matthew 5, the ones that were blessed: what was happening that they could be blessed was things happening in their lives. Crushing going on was preparing them for something very special for them to receive the kingdom of heaven like leaven. “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Is there anything more crushing than when we feel how needy and helpless we are? This is the kind of attitude when the leaven of the kingdom of Heaven can work. When that leaven is put into the meal, then she can see what is going to happen, and she can see what she wants to do with it. God wants us prepared to spend eternity with Him. There is going to have to be some work to be done in our lives in order for that to happen. Being poor in spirit helps us to seek God, and then the leaven of the kingdom comes and life takes on new meaning. God does have a purpose for my life. “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” The loss of someone, or the loss of health, or whatever loss very often a loss will cause us to mourn. This is a crushing experience that can cause us to think about life and what God has in mind for us. “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” Meek people experience the crushing and know what it is to have a broken and contrite heart. It seems so opposite to the way we think of the way we should be blessed. True blessing of God comes as we have that broken and contrite spirit that God can begin and do a work in our hearts that will bring forth his purpose for our lives.
What could limit the leaven working in the dough? When a woman is making bread, you hope everything will turn out okay. You worry about enough water or flour, and then you put it in a warm place. The dough needs to get warm, not hot, but warm. Some experiences can cause us to understand the love of God for us. To think of the way God’s care and concern for us can help us to understand God really loves us, and this begins to warm our hearts so that the leaven of the truth can work in our hearts. Jesus made us aware there is more than one kind of leaven. There is the leaven of the scribes and Pharisees and the leaven of Herod. Hypocrisy could be working in our hearts. Trying to appear one way outwardly when you feel differently inside is hypocrisy. The doctrine of Herod is like leaven: they could speak wonderful words but they didn’t do what they were speaking. This is a terrible doctrine. Trying to appear something we are not is a terrible leaven because it will bring spiritual death to us. Be sure it is the leaven of the kingdom that we are receiving – the truth of God. Anything we receive from Jesus is truth. This is a safe leaven, a true leaven.
Matthew 5:25, “And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years.” There was an issue of blood in this woman’s life. The leaven hadn’t been working in her life. So often people say they have an issue they need to be taken care of. She knew it would bring death to her. In order to get help with it, she touched Jesus’ garment. This was a disease that was working in her. In a spiritual way, this can take place in our life, also. Some of the things that could be working in our hearts would make it impossible for the leaven of the kingdom to do its work within us. This was something that needed to be taken care of.
Contagious diseases that would destroy the leaven: (1) murmuring. When God’s people started murmuring against Moses and Aaron it caused death amongst them.
(2) complaining. Always complaining about things. What could we do in place of complaining? If we had the spirit of contentment it would do away with the complaining.
(3) Spirit of criticism, a very contagious disease. What do we do when we have a disease and feel like we can’t overcome it? We need to do what this woman did. She knew Jesus could help her with this. This is exactly what we need to do. Then our heart can be like three measures of meal and God’s purpose can be seen in us as the leaven of the kingdom is working in our heart. Three measures of meal.
I Thessalonians 5:23, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” To me, these are the three parts of that meal. Jesus wanted every part of each of those. Every body, soul, and spirit would be affected by this leaven of the kingdom. Every part of our soul would be affected and our whole body affected by the leaven of the kingdom. When we receive this, it will be manifest in our spirit, soul, and in our body. Every part of our being, our countenance, the way we behave, what we do will give evidence of the leaven of the kingdom working within us. This leaven will not leave any part of our being untouched. This means I need to stay soft and warm to the God of heaven. Yield to His touch so that leaven can continue working and accomplish what God has in mind for us.
Sometimes other things will be added to bread and make it really tasty like dried fruit, nuts and seeds. But have you ever noticed that the leaven does not change the nuts or the fruit or the seeds that aren’t crushed and ground? It is just there in the dough. It keeps its identity. Could we have something in our lives that would keep our own identity that would mark us as being a little different from our brothers or sisters, something of our own thoughts and ideas that we have that is a little bit different from others? The leaven hasn’t affected it. Jesus was not like that. He did not have anything added to His life. Jesus was crushed and made into that living bread that we love and partake of. Keep soft that contrite spirit – that broken, contrite spirit that would make it easy for God to continue to work so the leaven can be accomplished, and we will be identified with heaven when the end of our life will come. I hope our hearts will be open to receive the kingdom of Heaven, and we receive truth, and we receive Jesus.
Hymn 203, “With Childlike Trust, O Lord, We Come”