Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Multiplying Good

I own a bread machine, and it never ceases to amaze me how much dough comes out when all the processing is done.  For example, two weeks ago my son and I made some bread pretzels.  We put in all the ingredients with a few cups of flour and only a teaspoon and a half of yeast.  In comparison it seems like that would be an insignificant amount of yeast, but if you have ever baked with yeast you know that is plenty of yeast.  That little bit of yeast took the dough that was made and more than doubled it.  So, what originally looked like we would get about six pretzels became about twelve pretzels.  And then during the baking, the dough rose even more.  Something I have learned about using yeast is that there are certain types of flour that works better than others.  Whole wheat flour has a lower amount of gluten in it which creates a denser and less elastic dough while bread flour has more gluten and creates a very light elastic dough.  That is why you add some bread flour to the whole wheat flour when making bread.

Jesus used many different examples in His parables to explain what He called the "Kingdom of Heaven."  Jewish prophecy said that the Messiah would establish a new kingdom and many of the Jewish scholars thought this meant that He would rescue them from the Roman rule.  But Jesus was showing them that God had a different kingdom in mind - the Kingdom of Heaven.  Jesus used  parables to explain what the Kingdom of Heaven was.  Please read Matthew 13:24-43 to see three different examples Jesus used to explain the Kingdom of Heaven.

The three examples Jesus uses is a wheat field, a mustard seed, and yeast.  They don't seem to be related, however consider the idea that Jesus was trying to give us different ideas about the Kingdom of Heaven.  First, when reading those verses we see that Jesus explains the wheat field.  The farmer is Jesus who plants the good seed in the world.  But He explains that the evil one planted weeds in His good field which will be sorted out when it is time to harvest the field (the end of this world).  We do not get an explanation for the others, but consider what I think He was saying.  Jesus is the one who plants the seed, and the result of the seed is so much greater than the original seed.  This is the same with the yeast; Jesus is the baker who puts the yeast in the dough and work it in so that it multiplies the end result.

Jesus ultimately is the one who planted the original seeds of His followers.  He is the one who started the movement of believers - keep in mind that it started with His handful of disciples.  But it has spread throughout the world and over time has multiplied beyond what any human could have ever expected.  But it doesn't mean that it is all perfect - there are still problems.  We still have the evil one planting seeds to try to choke out the original seeds of hope Jesus planted.  Jesus assures us that in the end, He will sort out everything and we can continue to focus on Him.  So, we can easily recognize the evil in this world because it causes so much pain; however, remember that God multiplies His good and we get to be a part of it!

Do you choose to focus on the hope we have through Jesus?  Do you choose to follow Jesus and be a part of multiplying the hope?

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