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March 2: The Yeast is Chaos



Scripture: Mark 8:1-21


The Yeast is Chaos

In Mark 8:1-21, we find two significant events: the feeding of the four thousand and Jesus warning his disciples about the yeast of the Pharisees and Herod. Let's focus on verses 14-21 where Jesus discusses the yeast of the Pharisees. In these verses Jesus uses the feeding of the 4000 and 5000 to remind his disciples that while the miracles were great, they weren’t about bread.

 

In these verses, Jesus uses the metaphor of yeast to illustrate a spiritual truth. He warns his disciples to beware of the teachings and influence of the Pharisees and Herod. The yeast, in this context, represents the corrupting influence of their hypocrisy, legalism, and worldliness. In all truth, we know that just small words of descension and mob mentality spread as quickly as yeast corrupts flour.

 

The Pharisees were known for their strict adherence to religious laws and traditions, but they often neglected the weightier matters of justice, mercy, and faithfulness (Matthew 23:23). They were more concerned with outward appearances and earning the approval of men rather than cultivating a genuine relationship with God. Essentially, yelling to whomever they could gain influence with, “LOOK AT HOW RELIGIOUS I AM!” Obviously, not authentic or what we are called to.

 

Similarly, Herod represents the secular and worldly influence that can lead us astray from God's truth. Herod was a ruler who prioritized his own power and pleasure above all else. His values were shaped by the culture of his time rather than the kingdom of God.

 

Jesus' warning is just as relevant for us today as it was for his disciples then. We live in a world filled with competing ideologies, false teachings, and distractions that can lead us away from the truth of God's Word. If that isn’t hard enough, they happen from all side’s secular, religious, and personal. It's easy to become influenced by the values of society or the expectations of others, rather than staying grounded in our faith in Christ.

 

So, how do we guard against this yeast in our own lives? Jesus gives us the answer in verse 15 when he says, "Watch out." We must be cautious. We need to be intentional about what we allow to shape our beliefs, attitudes, and actions. However, I think Jesus would like us to remember his teachings on compassion and grace.

 

How are we to be cautious? To be cautious we must have a foundation which leads us back to our spiritual disciplines. We need to be grounded in scripture. We need to be spending time in prayer because it opens a personal relationship with God. We need to fast because it helps to eliminate what is separating us from God. We are also called to be in worship and service because those lead us to community. As good as these things are, we are called to surround ourselves with a community of believers who will encourage us in our faith and hold us accountable. Iron sharpens iron, and having a community of believers can help us stay grounded in our relationship with Christ. In all these things we ask What Would Jesus Do (WWJD).

 

Questions:

1. In what areas of your life do you see the influence of the Pharisees and Herod, whether in attitudes, beliefs, conspiracies, or behaviors?

2. Is there anything in life that you are contributing "yeast" maybe on purpose, on accident, or as a group?

3. Are there specific practices or habits you can implement to ensure that you remain grounded in God's truth and resistant to the temptations of worldly influence?

 

Prayer:

Dear God, as we heed Jesus' warning to beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Herod, may we be intentional about cultivating a faith that is genuine and rooted in the truth of God's Word. May we be discerning in our beliefs and actions, and may we continually seek to honor God in all that we do. Amen.

 

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