Mark 8:14-21: Why Jesus Warned us about the Pharisees?
14 Now they had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. 15 And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” 16 And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. 17 And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” 20 “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” And they said to him, “Seven.” 21 And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?”
After Jesus’ conversation with the Pharisees, he and his disciples went to shore and the disciples forgot to bring some bread for the journey. They started worrying again about their provision for the trip and when Jesus heard of this, He gave them a teachable moment.
“Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”
What did Jesus mean when he said to watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees. Jesus was telling the disciples that they need to watch out for the teaching of the Pharisees and its effect on them. Since the Pharisees rule the religious world at that time, they were in some effect affecting how people who worship God think and live. Jesus knew that what the Pharisees were teaching could have an effect on their hearts.
Just like a bread which is made of yeast. The yeast is a rising agent. When it is added to bread it is mixed and worked through the entire dough and it combines the whole lump. When we receive false teachings and legalistic teachings of the Pharisees, it would affect how we live out our faith.
And then Jesus also mentioned about Herod’s leaven which stands for worldliness. Herod, the mighty ruler at that time, hoarded the treasures he could see. Jesus was saying that once we start loving the things of this world, we would start living for the things of this world.
Jesus was telling the disciples that the reason you still worry about your provision after being with me for months is that such kind of teachings have affected you that you didn’t even consider how I can supernaturally move to provide for you after all the miracles I have shown. He wanted to open their eyes to the reality of where they are and teach them to be in a state of surrender and worship unto Him.
Lord, guide my mind and my heart from teachings that would take your place in my life. Guard me against a Pharisaical spirit and a worldly attitude of wanting more when I have you already. Lord may my faith in Christ grow deeper this year as I see it transform my decisions and actions.