Now they had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. 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? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? 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.” “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” And they said to him, “Seven.” And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?”- Mark 8:14-21 ESV
Do you still NOT understand? What is Jesus talking about? There are 2 clues to help us figure this out: 1) Leaven, or yeast, is never a good thing in the Bible. It is not allowed to be eaten with the Passover meal and those who do eat it are considered cut off from the community. Leaven spreads contamination- see Galatians 5:9. 2) What the “leaven” or contaminant of the Pharisees and Herod is? The Pharisees have DOUBT, they want to SEE PROOF, constant PROVING of who HE IS! They want Jesus to conform to their expectations- to perform FOR THEM. They want to MEET THE STANDARD! They are relying on THEMSELVES, on their political power and influence rather than righteous conduct and trust in God to advance HIS KINGDOM and HIS WILL.
Leader, when we let go of our MISUNDERSTANDINGS we allow GOD to be GOD! Is this not always the temptation – to go one’s own way, to insist on one’s own rights, and to expect God to conform to our expectations rather than be willing to release one’s claims and expectations in order to hear and follow God? Surrendering one’s deeply cherished expectations of GOD and OTHERS, is a kind of dying- and it is difficult to do, even when the result is receiving God’s coming kingdom. The disciples have seen him do so many things, yet they still where worried about WHAT TO EAT. This is a question that should challenge us today as well. If we look at the course of our lives- we can see the hand of God bringing us to this point in our lives today- yet we still worry about what to eat, what to wear, what to do! (Matthew 6:25-34)
Conduit, Jesus basically said to them and is saying to us: Why are you worried about lunch? Are you ignorant? Are your hearts hard? You have eyes but can’t see and ears but can’t hear? Don’t you remember!?! With the 5000 there were 12 baskets left over and with the 4000 there were 7 baskets left. And then he asks this question of US: “Do you not yet understand?” Despite OUR lack of understanding, OUR doubting and OUR continual turning away to LESSER THINGS-God is compassionate and has remained faithful to us. He continues to lead us, to teach us, to call for us to follow him-IN SPITE of OUR incomprehension and OUR hardheartedness, Jesus WILL NOT abandon US! If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself. 2 Timothy 2:11-13.