Matthew 13:10-17, 31-35 (CEB)

10 Jesus’ disciples came and said to him, “Why do you use parables when you speak to the crowds?” 11 Jesus replied, “Because they haven’t received the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but you have. 12 For those who have will receive more and they will have more than enough. But as for those who don’t have, even the little they have will be taken away from them. 13 This is why I speak to the crowds in parables: although they see, they don’t really see; and although they hear, they don’t really hear or understand. 14 What Isaiah prophesied has become completely true for them: You will hear, to be sure, but never understand; and you will certainly see but never recognize what you are seeing. 15 For this people’s senses have become calloused, and they’ve become hard of hearing, and they’ve shut their eyes so that they won’t see with their eyes or hear with their ears or understand with their minds, and change their hearts and lives that I may heal them. 16 “Happy are your eyes because they see. Happy are your ears because they hear. 17 I assure you that many prophets and righteous people wanted to see what you see and hear what you hear, but they didn’t.

31 He told another parable to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and planted in his field. 32 It’s the smallest of all seeds. But when it’s grown, it’s the largest of all vegetable plants. It becomes a tree so that the birds in the sky come and nest in its branches.”

34 Jesus said all these things to the crowds in parables, and he spoke to them only in parables. 35 This was to fulfill what the prophet spoke: I’ll speak in parables; I’ll declare what has been hidden since the beginning of the world.

Matthew 13:33(CEB)

33 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast, which a woman took and hid in a bushel of wheat flour until the yeast had worked its way through all the dough.”

DEVOTION –  Laila Geitz (Akershus, Norway)

A Young man I know well gave his life to Christ and became a diligent reader of the Bible.  Like many Christians, he had difficulties with some of the parables Jesus told.  The parable about the yeast in the dough was hard for him to accept.  In his opinion the word yeast sounded negative because yeast cannot be eaten.  “I don’t understand this,” he said, “because the Bible also says, ‘Taste and see that the Lord is good’ (Ps. 34:8, NIV) – and yeast is not good!”

I was able to help him with this by explaining that yeast is necessary to make bread airy and good to eat.  Also, I told him about World War II when Norway was occupied, and it was impossible to buy yeast in the grocery Stores.  I told him that my mother used to make her own yeast to bake into the dough by taking grained rye and mixing it with lukewarm water and a little sugar.  After several days this started fermenting and became like a type of yeast.  Then she took a lump of this homemade yeast and put it into the dough.  The result was tasty loaves that remained soft for a long time.

Jesus meant that we should be like that, like yeast among our neighbors so that we can spread our faith in Christ.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: To be a witness for Christ require perseverance.

PRAYER: O Lord, help us every day to seek you for strength and love so that we can lead other people to you.  Amen.