beware the yeast of the pharisees…

‘Are you still so dull?’ That is one of my favorite quotes from Jesus in Matthew (NIV). I wished it carried over into Mark. Instead the author (or should I say translator) chose to simply state, ‘Do you still not understand?’
And that is what hit me when I was reading through Mark 8. ‘Do you still not understand?’ No, actually I don’t understand, can you please enlighten me. Those were my thoughts, and I must say, He certainly did enlighten me.

While reading through Mark my ear was itching, so I took it as a sign of God wanting me to stop and listen. I sat up and stopped thinking. As I was not thinking it occurred to me that there was a voice saying ‘chapter 8’ over and over. Sooooo, I did what you might guess, and re-read chapter 8, as I think you should do right now.

The disciples and the Teacher were in a boat after feeding the 4000 when Jesus warned the disciples that they should beware the yeast of the pharisees.  They were dense about the situation and thought he was referring to the fact that they had only brought with them only one loaf of bread.

16They discussed this with one another and said, “It is because we have no bread.”

17Aware 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? 18Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? 19When 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.”

21He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

It seems to be that what Jesus is talking about is an increase. That the yeast of Jesus is an increase, and the yeast of the pharisees and herod is a decrease. Think about it, when Jesus had the five loaves it became an abundance that supplied the needs of thousands. But in the hands of pharisees, it can only be what it is, when you eat the five loaves those loaves are gone.

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