Another parable spoke he to them; The kingdom of heaven is like to leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal…
The yeast used in making bread is by no means the dead, inoperative thing it seems. It is a plant as much alive as the snowdrop that has just burst its way through the soil, and foretold by its graceful bell the coming of the spring. It is a vegetable growth, of enormous energy for its size, multiplying itself at a rate incredible to any but the scientific mind; feeding its active life, as it grows from spot to spot, upon the material into which it has been introduced, until there is nothing left for it to feed upon and assimilate to itself. The change it effects in its progress is described by the chemist as a decomposition of the sugar contained in the dough, and a liberation of carbonic acid; but the principal fact revealed by the microscope is that you have a congregation of living cells, gathered about a living central nucleus, all charged to the full with that subtle and supreme force, which we, in our ignorance, call LIFE. Like that, says Christ, is the kingdom of heaven — the rule of a living presence, of a living God. The gospel is the power of God at work for the salvation of souls. Christianity is itself a living, breathing presence, not a mere dull, dead thing; a life. It is characteristic of leaven to show an almost insatiable greed of activity. It is a type of stupendous increase. With a rapidity that is marvellous, it passes on from particle to particle of the meal in which it is placed, until the last stroke of work is done. Give it an appropriate temperature, and favourable materials, and an express engine will stop sooner than it. In no point is the teacher's simile better sustained by facts than in the unspeakable and irrepressible activity of the gospel. It is a living force: and action is essential to its life, as air is to the life of man. Only with tremendous difficulty can it be checked.
(J. Clifford, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.