Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Church: Reformed and Reforming
St. Matthew 13:33-35Rev. Christopher Phil DanielSt. Stephen’s Mar Thoma Church, New Jersey

33 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”

As we all known, yeast or leaven (a small portion of fermented dough) is a substance that promotes fermentation; it is a catalyst that makes something undergo a radical change.  When yeast or leaven is added to dough, although we may not see an immediate change, it will indeed, over time cause the whole batch of dough to come to ‘life,’ allowing it to rise and grow.  And after this leavened dough is baked, we get bread that is soft, porous, tasty, and good to eat, but bread baked without yeast or leaven is often times hard, dry, and unappetizing.

Through the Parable of the Yeast or Leaven, Jesus tells us that the kingdom of heaven, His rule, and His will is like leaven that is added to this world which works in and through it to change and transform it. In contrast to the teaching of Jesus, often times in Scripture, leaven is used as an image of a corrupt, evil, or unrighteous influence. In St. Matthew 16:5-12, Jesus warns His disciples of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees which included their false teachings and hypocrisy.  However, this is not how leaven or yeast is to be understood. Jesus uses leaven in this context to underscore the fact that just as leaven permeates, so too will the kingdom permeate and spread and grow throughout this world.

We should remember that the spread of the kingdom will continue to take place wherever the Good News is being sown and reaped.  However, first we must allow the “leaven of the kingdom” to permeate our own hearts by being willing to receive the Word of God and applying it to our own lives.  We must be receptive to the Word so that it produces fruit in our lives so that we too become leavening agents for the kingdom of God. 

As believers, we represent the kingdom of God. Our purpose is not just to get to heaven or to get others to heaven, but to be instruments in God’s hand to bring about His reign in this world by working to transform our society.  The purpose of the church is essentially to be a transformed and reformed community which continues this process of transformation and reformation through its mission and ministry.  We have to remember that as the church, we are a called-out community which is designed to glorify God through our good works so that we can ultimately influence the world for good as well.


Loving God, help us to understand that just as the woman in the parable mixed yeast into the dough, that Your hands have kneaded us into this world as leavening agents to work for the growth of Your kingdom.  Enable us, O Lord, to faithfully respond to Your Word and to Your will with humble hearts and with a steadfast desire to serve You each and every day of our lives.  In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, we pray. Amen.

Let us recognize that we are the leaven of the kingdom of God, and let us work for the continued transformation of the world. 

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