Lesson 158-June 10, 2018
Lesson: “The Parable of the Leaven”
Lesson Goal: To come to a better understanding of the influence and impact of what appears to be small and insignificant.
Introduction: Today I want to offer you words of insight from the NKJV Study Bible concerning Jesus’ use of parables. These words of insight are found in the commentary portion of the Study Bible entitled “Parables: More than Stories. “Although Jesus lived among a story-telling people, His approach to instruction was still unusual. His stories were memorable, but they were not transparent. People heard them but did not necessarily understand them. They are clearer to us (now) because of the apostle Pauls’ writings, but few of the first hearers of the parables understood them. Even though ‘with many such parables He spoke the
word’ (Mark 4:33), at one point the disciples asked in frustration, ‘Why do You speak to (the people) in para- bles?’ (Matthew 13:10). The disciples did not grasp the stories any better than the rest of the crowd. Jesus’ answer to His disciples reveals much about the purpose of His teaching. He quoted Isaiah 6:9,10 to demon- strate that those with physical sight and hearing may still not be able to perceive the truths presented to them. For Isaiah, the ’dullness’ or hardness of the human heart directly affects spiritual insight and understanding. People need to soften their hearts, humble themselves before God, and honestly seek the truth in order to find it.”
The NKJV Study Bible states that “Jesus’ stories are like wrapped gifts. The packaging of the story can either distract or captivate. But unless the package is opened, the gift itself remains unseen. Likewise unless one seeks the core of the parable-its truth and application-the lessons will remain hidden. Yet when discovered, these lessons prove extremely valuable. The testimony of millions of changed lives over two thousand years attests to this fact.”
Both Mark and Matthew tell us (Matthew 13:24-25, Mark 4:33-34) that Jesus continue to teach using parables as a primary method of instructions. This Jesus did in the fulfillment of prophecy (Psalm 78:2). Mark also shares with us an interesting point (Mark 4:33-34) that often times after the public sharing of a parable Jesus would take His disciples aside for a private explanation to them.
We must remember that just as we (Jesus’ followers) are growing in our faith and knowledge of the Lord, so too were the disciples. They, just like us, were a work in progress. They were learning and growing in what it meant to be a follower of Jesus Christ. They certainly did not then and as we do not now, have all the knowledge and wisdom for complete understanding. We must understand that we are learners in the class- room of Jesus for a lifetime. We never arrive at the finish point of study and learning. It is truly a life long pursuit.
Question: What do you think it would have been like to sit with Jesus in that private setting as He offered ex- planation to His disciples?
Following the Parable of the Mustard Seed, Matthew records Jesus’ Parable of the Leaven. Once again among the leading theological scholars of today, as well as, past generations there are two primary lines of interpreta- tion concerning this parable. Among the many parables of Jesus’ teaching this specific parable presents diffi- culty for us. Part of this difficulty comes from the fact that many of us are not that familiar with things such as “leaven”, “hid in three measures”, and “of meal”. To better understand these things it is helpful to simply read this verse using some various versions.
(v33) New King James Version- Another parable He spoke to them: “The Kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”
New American Standard Bible-He spoke another parable, “The Kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was leavened.”
English Standard Version-He told them another parable. “The Kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”
New International Version: He told them still another parable: “The Kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
Question: By reading the four mention versions, what are some observations that can be made?
Another parable spoke he to them Like is the kingdom of the heavens to leaven which having taken
a woman hid in of flour measures three until of it was leavened all.
We must remember that there is a specific truth to which Jesus speaks. We must also remember that Jesus is not offering a mathematical discussion concerning exact proportions and ratios nor is He speaking to the sub- ject of chemical reactions.
As we read, observe, and study this rather brief parable, we can conclude that a point of emphasis found within the parable is that small things can have great influence just as a small portion of leaven can affect or influence a large portion of dough.
Please speak to this statement: what may appear small can have a great influence.
“In Jewish expectation the Kingdom of God would come with awesome power and catastrophic results, strik- ing down the wicked and vindicating the righteous. That it came in a tiny baby and manifested itself in one who rejected all militaristic means and who saw himself as the Suffering Servant of God was contrary to the extravagant ideas of many. But so came the Kingdom of heaven! It came in one who gave Himself to tax
collectors and sinners and who began His mission with a handful of ordinary people.” Broadman Commentary
Please read Acts 17:6.
From a manger with straw to a throne where He will reign FOREVER AND FOREVER!!! I close today lesson with the lines of an Old Hymn published in 1905 “He Lifted Me”
He Lifted Me
In loving kindness Jesus came, My soul in mercy to reclaim, And from the depths of sin and shame Through grace He lifted me From sinking sand He lifted me, With tender hands He lifted me, From shades of night to plains of light, Oh, praise His name, He lifted me.