In this season of remote learning, I’ve been relearning high school chemistry so I could help my fifteen-year-old daughter understand her coursework. This past week, we’ve studied heterogeneous and homogeneous mixtures. A heterogeneous mixture has visible layers or parts and can be separated, such as sandy water or cereal in milk. A homogeneous mixture is a mixture that cannot be separated. For example, lotion, milk, and bread dough are homogeneous mixtures.
Simple bread dough consists of flour, water, salt, and yeast. The ingredients, once mixed together, can no longer be separated. In this homogeneous mixture, the yeast performs a drastic chemical change, metabolizing the sugars and producing additional chemical by-products. As the dough is kneaded, air becomes trapped within the folds, warming the dough and aiding the formation of a stretchy protein complex. When left in a warm place to expand, the volume increases as the network of tiny pockets of gases enlarge, due again to the yeast. The dough continues to rise while baked into the springy, fluffy loaf.
The yeast in the mixture not only alters the chemistry of the dough, but also performs physical changes, allowing for a complete and total transformation of the product.
Jesus used bread-making to express truths about the Kingdom of Heaven. Let’s read Matthew 13:33 together:
He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”
Like leaven (or yeast) added to flour, the Kingdom of Heaven, when introduced and received into our hearts, changes us in every way. The Kingdom expands and we are transformed more and more into the image of Christ with each “fold” of the “dough.” As we wait upon the Lord and meditate upon His truths, His life bubbles up within us. Infiltrated by the Gospel, our lives become fully intertwined with the Kingdom from the inside out. Our sin is burned away by the Refiner’s fire, and we are made new.
Further, Jesus mentioned three measures of flour. Why three measures? Perhaps it’s a reference to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus did identify Himself as the “Bread of Life.” Or, the Gospel transforming the individual heart, the church as a whole, and eventually the world. Habakkuk 2:14 says that the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord. Maybe it’s a representation of the characteristics of the Kingdom discussed by Paul in Romans 14:17—one loaf being righteousness, another peace, and the third joy in the Holy Spirit—each working respectively in transforming the hearts of the believers. Or, possibly each loaf represents the body, soul, and spirit of individual believers.
Regardless, it’s important to note that the transformation of dough to bread with the application of yeast is not a quick process. It’s laborious, occurs in stages, demands time, and requires temperature changes. Likewise, when we receive the Kingdom of Heaven into our hearts, the transformation of our lives, our culture, our world, will take time, patience, endurance, and the working of our faith. Fiery trials will occur, but the glory of God will be revealed, as Peter exhorts us in 1 Peter 4:12-13.
Friends, let’s not be heterogeneous Christians—surface Christians—where the Gospel is only a layer in our lives that can be stripped away. This type of “mixture” is unstable and “double-minded.” Instead, let’s be homogeneous Christians—inseparable, indivisible, and completely unified with the Kingdom of Heaven. Let’s open our hearts to the “Leaven of Heaven,” and allow God to cause us to rise in truth, strength, righteousness, peace, and joy through Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Holding Fast to Hope,