Summary: Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees- build your faith upon the Word of God, not signs. Pay attention to the works of God in our lives.
On Colorado’s Long Peak lie the remains of a giant 400-year-old tree. Age, storms, and avalanches couldn’t bring it down. What did? A tiny beetle you could crush under your foot. It ate right through the bark and devoured its heart.
Be careful of little things.
• Little attitudes; but if you practice them often enough, they become a part of you.
• Little indulgences; but if you give place to them long enough, they desensitize you to sin.
• Little wrong thoughts; but if you keep dwelling on them, they soon convince you it’s true.
Paul says in 1 Cor 5:6 “Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?”
• Jesus’ warning here: “Be careful, watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”
It started off when the disciples talked about not having enough food.
• There was only one small loaf in the boat and more than a dozen people onboard.
• The bible says they have forgotten – maybe one of the disciples has forgotten to stock up.
• It looked like any other ordinary event. People forget things. But to Jesus, it wasn’t.
Jesus saw a potential danger and gave the warning.
• It wasn’t about a lack of food – it was the way they think.
• Just before this Jesus did a miracle - miraculous feeding of a large crowd of 4000 people – and the disciples gathered up 7 baskets full of leftover bread.
• This was the 2nd time that Jesus did a miracle to feed large crowd – the first one was more than 5000 with 5 loaves and 2 fishes. They had 12 baskets of left over then.
• This time around, they had 7 baskets! Where did they go to? We do not know. The text was silent about it.
But critical in this story is this: Very soon after they collected so much, the disciples find themselves out of food and they were talking about the need!
• The past experiences with Jesus did not really change their perspectives of things.
• Jesus needed to remind them of His miracles of feeding the crowds.
• Have they forgotten? No! It wasn’t the problem of a loss of memory; it has to do with, according to Jesus, the “yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod”.
Yeast, or leaven, is a powerful fungus that can cause a lump of dough to rise into bread
• A very small amount and it can cause a huge change. The word is being used in the Bible to describe corruption or evil.
• It was not just yeast but the yeast of the Pharisees – Jesus was referring to the corrupting influence of the Pharisees.
• What kind of influence? Of unbelief.
The disciples did not suffer a loss of memory and couldn’t recall the miracles of feeding the crowds.
• They know but couldn’t understand. They have eyes but cannot see; ears and cannot hear.
• Despite what they have gone through, they were worried about not having enough bread.
That’s why Jesus responded: “Why are you talking about bread?”
• The problem wasn’t with the bread. It was their unbelieving mindset.
• They are acting and thinking like the Pharisees.
• Jesus warned them to be careful, not to let the ways and attitudes of the Pharisees corrupt their hearts and minds.
Look at verse 11 - the Pharisees had demanded that Jesus perform a miraculous “sign from heaven.”
8:11-13 11 The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. 12 He sighed deeply and said, "Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it." 13 Then he left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other side.
• The Pharisees had been following Him and saw all the miracles, yet they refused to believe.
• It was not a desire to know more about Jesus – I think Mark puts it straight to us that they were out to test Him (v.11). It was the attitude of unbelief.
The truth is - no matter what Jesus did, it would never be enough to convince them He was the Christ.
• They would always find a way to impeach His credibility.
• When He cast out demons, they said it was by the devil’s power that He did it.
• When he healed people in the Temple, the Pharisees complained he had broken the Sabbath.
• And so it didn’t matter what Jesus has done. To them He was a lawbreaker and a lawbreaker could never be the Messiah
Jesus was disappointed that the religious leaders – who should know better – were so hardhearted and spiritually blind.