Leaven or yeast is an active agent that causes change and corruption of the original ingredients. That is why yeast often symbolizes sin in the Scriptures. A little of its influence goes a long way.

Yeast is the same ingredient that causes fermentation in alcoholic beverages. The expansion pressure causes the wine cork to pop when opened.

This is not a rant against what you eat or drink, but about what influences your spirit. When we do not deal with sin in ourselves or in the church, there is a corruption causing change to the original substance.

How has sin changed the purity of your faith? Jesus warned his followers about corrupting influences.

Mark 8:
14 The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. 15 “Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”
16 They discussed this with one another and said, “It is because we have no bread.”
17 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”
“Twelve,” they replied.
20 “And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”
They answered, “Seven.”
21 He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

At first read we are struck with the inability of the disciples to understand what Jesus is talking about. They are being warned about bad influences and instead they think Jesus might be talking about their lack of bread.

They are doing what we often do when we hear warnings. We interpret and do what we think is best. The speed limit is posted at 100 kph, but we have heard that the police will not bother you unless you are more than 15 kph over the limit. So we set our cruise control to 117 kph. We see the warning and we think it does not apply fully to us. We even resent those who obey the speed limit, since they slow us down.

Don’t accept the limit—set your own. Our attitude toward authority is suspect.

The discussion began because the disciples had a bread shortage. Someone was responsible for the oversight and thoughts of hunger were creeping in. When Jesus warns about the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod, they focus on what is bothering them, not on what concerns Jesus.

It is often in our nature to defend and minimize our responsibility when we are warned or corrected on some matter. This is our sin sickness that Jesus persistently speaks to. What has influenced us so that we are incapable of understanding the words of loving correction? Why do we feel the need to be defensive and explain ourselves away?

The disciples did not see what Jesus saw. The lack of bread was a cause for them to assign blame, be worried about their comfort and be dull in hearing Jesus’ concern. Jesus saw dangerous mindsets that affected their daily life. There were two influences in particular that they needed to be aware of.


Joe said…
There is a lot of truth here and if I may humbly add to what you have shared Kevin. The bible speaks of a plumb line a few different times. Those references are concerning measurement of perfect vertical to horizontal lines or also known as a 90 degree angle. They also use the plumb line and compare it to righteousness. 2 Kings 21:13, Isaiah 28:17, Isaiah 34:11, Amos 7:1, Amos 7:7, Amos 7:8. If we start at 0 degrees and follow it up plumb to perfect 90 degrees there is no straighter line or perfect angle or tighter corner. However, if we start with even the smallest measurement off 0 degrees, lets say 1 for instance, the further we travel up the plumb line the worse it gets. Our line starts out looking OK but it becomes further and further away from plumb. Just like sin in our lives, when we allow even the smallest to influence and change us the further we go with it the further we are away from truth and righteousness. When I ask my children what that means they don't always understand but I give them another example. I ask them if they like eating dessert. They say yes. I ask them if cake would be a good dessert and they agree, "yes daddy." So then I ask them, "what if while I'm making the cake I take only one small piece of rabbit poop and put it in the mix and bake the cake. Would you still want it?" They emphatically say "NO" and we laugh. Then I tell them, "so it is in life even the smallest little poop and make something great disgusting!"

In Christ Grip
Joe Ritchie