Matthew, Chapter 13
Matt. 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."
Leaven is usually spoken of in the scriptures in a negative way. For
instance, it is compared to false doctrine (Matt. 16:6 "Then Jesus said
unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of
the Sadducees."), to pride (1 Cor. 5:7 "Purge out therefore the old
leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ
our passover is sacrificed for us:"), to malice, and to wickedness (1
Cor. 5:8 "Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither
with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread
of sincerity and truth.") But it is not to the negative connotation that
the Lord is referring, but to the quality of leaven in meal: 1 Cor. 5:6
"Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?"
Leaven mixed with meal will cause the meal to rise when it is cooked.
Leaven is pervasive, that is, it will spread throughout the whole of the
mixture to which it is added. A very little bit of leaven will spread
throughout a whole bowl of meal so as to make the whole leavened.
Figuratively, the woman is sometimes used in the scriptures to represent
covenants. An example of this is found in Galatians: 4:22 "For it is
written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by
a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the
flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. 24 Which things are an
allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai,
which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25 For this Agar is mount
Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in
bondage with her children. 26 But Jerusalem which is above is free,
which is the mother of us all." Thus Hagar represented in type the old
law covenant and Sarah represented in type the covenant of grace.
In the scriptures, the Kingdom of heaven is presented to us in three
forms. The first was God's covenant with the children of Israel, which
he made with them on Mt. Sinai. This covenant embraced the children of
Israel and God made them a nation over which he was the supreme King.
The second is God's covenant of worship in the New Testament and
embraces a small remnant of God's chosen people among both Jews and
Gentiles. In this covenant, God reigns in his Church as a King over his
subjects according to the New Testament pattern. The third is the glory
world in which all that are embraced in the covenant of redemption will
reign with God for eternity. This covenant is set forth in Rom. 8:29,
30: "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed
to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many
brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and
whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he
Notice these three measures of meal began with only a single nation,
then progressed to a small remnant of people among Jews and Gentiles,
and then went to a great multitude of people among all nations, peoples,
and tongues: Rev. 7:9 "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude,
which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and
tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with
white robes, and palms in their hands; 10 And cried with a loud voice,
saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the
Matt. 13:34 "All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in
parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: 35 That it might
be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my
mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from
the foundation of the world."
As we have previously noted, the Lord spoke unto the people in parables
for the express purpose that the things he spoke would be hidden from
the multitude, but revealed unto the disciples. Now, we further learn
that with parables the Lord is revealing to the disciples things that,
heretofore, were kept secret from the foundation of the world. The
disciples are indeed a very blessed people in that God has revealed to
them things that are hidden from the multitudes and that were kept
secret from men for thousands of years. This also illustrates to us the
sovereignty of God. It was according to God's sovereign will that he
kept some things secret from men for thousands of years. It is also
according to God's sovereign will that he reveals these secrets to a
select group of men known as his disciples and still keeps them secret
from all others.
Someone may ask, "Why does the Lord keep some things secret from men and
then reveal some things to only a small remnant of men?" The answer is
that it pleases God to do so. This answer should be sufficient for us.
Matt. 13:44 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a
field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof
goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field."
When a born-again sin sick and weary traveler has his eyes opened and he
sees the kingdom of heaven, it is with great joy that he finds such a
place and with great rejoicing he presses into the kingdom. It is with
joy that he finds the kingdom and presses into it. There is a price,
however, he must pay in order to be a part of and enjoy the benefits of
that kingdom. While we do nothing and pay nothing to get eternal life
and live in heaven's glory world, yet we must sell all that we have if
we are to enjoy and be a part of the kingdom of heaven on earth. The
Lord refers to this price in several verses:
1. Matt. 6:33 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his
righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
2. Luke 14:26 "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and
mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his
own life also, he cannot be my disciple."
3. Luke 14:27 "And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me,
cannot be my disciple."
4. Luke 14:33 "So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not
all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple."
5. Luke 9:59 "And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord,
suffer me first to go and bury my father. 60 Jesus said unto him, Let
the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. 61
And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid
them farewell, which are at home at my house. 62 And Jesus said unto
him, No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit
for the kingdom of God."
6. Matt. 19:21 "Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and
sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure
in heaven: and come and follow me. 22 But when the young man heard that
saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. 23 Then
said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man
shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say unto
you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than
for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."
7. Luke 9:23 "And he said to them all, If any man will come after me,
let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 2 For
whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his
life for my sake, the same shall save it."
In conclusion, while there is much joy in seeing and hearing and
participating in the kingdom of heaven, there is also a price to be paid
for being a part of that kingdom. It is the joy that encourages us to
pay the price.