by J. Gerald Harris

This content is part of a series.

The Parable of the Leaven (3 of 4)
Series: Parables in Matthew 13
J. Gerald Harris
Matthew 13:33

There are two ways that we can look at the parable of the leaven. We can look at leaven as an evil influence, or we can look at it as a positive influence. I really like to put a positive spin on things when I can -- like the fellow who operated the Ace Hardware store over in Alpharetta where we used to live. He had a sign in the window that read ''keys made while you wait.'' Business was slow and he tried to figure out what the problem was. He finally decided that people just don't like to wait, so he changed the sign to read ''keys made while you watch.'' Do you know what? His business picked up considerably. He put a positive spin on his key- making operation.

The story is told of a man who lived on the border between Wisconsin and Minnesota. He assumed he lived in Minnesota, but a new land survey showed that he lived in Wisconsin. And he said, ''Thank goodness, I never could bear those cold Minnesota winters.''

Now, I want to put a positive spin on this parable. It is true that there are many biblical scholars who contend that the leaven is a symbol of the presence and growth of evil. In the New Testament the word ''leaven'' is used by our Lord to refer to evil doctrine.

Jesus speaks of the leaven of the Pharisees, which represents the evil of legalism in religion. He speaks of the leaven of the Sadducees, which represents the evil of skepticism in religion. And He speaks of the leaven of the Herodians, which represents the evil of secularism in religion. There are those who contend that leaven is a type of evil.

But in our text Jesus seems to be making a new use of the concept of ''leaven.'' And He says, ''The kingdom of heaven is like leaven.'' Here He uses ''leaven'' to represent not an evil influence, but a good influence. I believe you could argue this either way, and I would not disagree with you if you said that leaven represents that whic ...

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