Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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Hey Pastor John!
I have a question. I've been reading in Matthew, and as I was going through chapter 13 where Jesus tells several parables and the disciples ask him why he speaks in parables to the people, etc. I understood the gist of most of the parables, because you've taught us about them, except the one in verse 33 that reads:
"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."
That was all . . . I expected it to keep going. I read it over several times, and I don't understand it. Do you know what it means? Thanks!
It simply means that the holy Ghost will take over the life of the person who yields to it and will keep that person happy and free as long as that person remains yielded. The Spirit of God does not decrease in power or joy over time; on the contrary, as the years pass, it increases in power and joy and love and wisdom. Isaiah told us, "Of the INCREASE of his government there shall be no end." The holy Ghost in us is like leaven; it is continually increasing inside of us until we are completely re-made, the same way that leaven slowly changes unleavened bread into something else.
If you see a person who is not as excited about Jesus and is not as happy and free in Jesus today as he once was, it is not the Spirit's fault. Rather, that person is not as happy because he has become hardened by some kind of sin, and the leaven that is in him can't expand in his hard heart to increase its joy and peace and love and power and faith.
Incidentally, it is important to note that if we push certain of Jesus' parables, we can make too much out of them. Let me give you an example, taken from that same chapter 13 in Matthew, verse 44. In that parable, the kingdom of God is compared with a treasure hidden in a field that a man has found (not the owner of the field). Then the man hides the treasure in a new place, goes home and sells all that he has, and then goes to the owner of the property and purchases the field from him without telling the man that his field contains a very precious treasure.
Now when you think about it, isn't that a little dishonest? Yes, it is a little deceptive, but the point of the parable was simply that the kingdom of God is worth giving our all. So you see, if we push the parables beyond the simple points that Jesus was trying to make, we become "over wise" and "religious over much", and Solomon said that a person who is like that will destroy himself.
With the parables, as with life itself, keep it simple.