BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 14, Day 2: Matthew 13:31-35

Summary of passage:  Jesus told them a parable of the mustard seed and the yeast where he compared the mustard seed to heaven and although it is the smallest seed it will yield the biggest tree that birds will perch in.  He also said the kingdom of heaven is like yeast mixed into flour and worked throughout the dough.  This fulfilled prophecy in Psalm 78:2.

Questions:

3a)  The kingdom of heaven

b)  Heaven starts out small inside of you but as you grow so does heaven.  Heaven or the church will grow, sheltering humans in the process.

c)  I would bet there is a significance because all of Jesus’ words hold meaning.  I can’t imagine Jesus just throwing birds in a parable for no reason.  I would say the birds are humans who land in heaven and are sheltered by God.

4a)  Heaven is everywhere and all of heaven is mixed inside of believers.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I don’t see yeast as evil because that would be saying “the kingdom of heaven is like evil”.  I just can’t see comparing heaven to evil and I can’t see Jesus doing so ever.  The only interpretation would be that evil or corruption is spread throughout people and will threaten his kingdom.

Conclusions:  Didn’t like this lesson.  I think the parables are merely saying heaven (or evil or corruption) is everywhere in and amongst us.  These parables aren’t as impactful as others and frankly BSF didn’t do a good job in unpacking their meaning in my opinion.  I left today with the same level of understanding of these as I had before.  It was only when I did read the commentaries that I saw the other interpretation of evil.

Parable of the mustard seed:  Commentaries say the mustard seed represents the church and how it will one day grow and spread throughout the earth and provide refuge for animals.  The other interpretation is that the seed is corruption within the church and that the birds were a symbol of corruption, nesting amongst Christians.  In the previous parables, birds were the devil.  Revelation 18:2 has birds unclean and detestable.

In reality, mustard seeds are not trees but about the size of a bush so whichever interpretation you choose, the seed has grown supernaturally large.

Parable of the yeast:  Again, same basic two interpretations.  One is that yeast or Christianity will be worked throughout the world.  The second is yeast is corruption that will influence the world.  Yeast is typically a picture of sin (Exodus 12:8, 12:15-20) and hence the Jewish emphasis on unleavened bread.

End Note:  I fundamentally disagree with BSF about the use of commentaries during Bible study (always have and always will with this respect).  When I read a passage and have no idea what it is saying, I get help to know what it is saying and at that moment.  Truly, how many of us go back over the passage after lecture?  I don’t in most cases.  I read the notes and move on.  Hence, my belief one should (and definitely shouldn’t be ‘banned’ from reading commentaries) in the midst of study.  Otherwise, the moment will be lost, you won’t remember in a few days what the passage was about or what you originally thought about the passage, and you won’t have the time to re-visit it either when life keeps charging ahead.

The word scholar comes from the Greek “scole” meaning leisure, free time.  These are people who have studied the Bible for years and have a much better grasp of it than me.  I see nothing wrong with using the cumulative knowledge of generations of scholars so I can get a tiny bit more knowledge of God.  The more I know, the better of a person I am.  And whatever helps me in that respect should not be prohibited.

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