It was a simple error when the disciples forgot to bring bread for their journey across the sea. They had other food supplies, but someone left the bread. Jesus took the opportunity to launch a life-lesson that resonates yet today. He said, Mark 8:15 “…beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.” It was a double-edged warning. First, He warned of the religious who guide without humility or servant-hood. They talk about their spiritual insights, but are not submissive to authority or to the Holy Spirit. They do not pray or fast, but always have a “word from the Lord” to all who might listen. They criticized the church while pretending to care about the Body. They occupy pews and wait for opportunities to impugn leadership. Jesus said that even a little of that leaven is destructive to the whole.
The second leaven comes from Herod who represents secularism and worldliness. These seek possessions, money, status, and worldly pursuits. They mix God with their religious experience, but ultimately they are fully corrupted. They love the things of this world more than the things of God. Church is not the first thing on their mind. Worship revolves around their schedule as they seek out fun times, personal gain, or educational plateaus. This leaven causes carnality to rise while diminishing self-sacrifice. Sports might consume them. Careers take center stage. Even their physical appearance demands their attention and time.
Paul said a little destroys the entirety. Galatians 5:9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. A little judgementalism will cause all of it to be so. A little worldliness will affect the rest. A carnal spirit doesn’t overwhelm the Christian. It moves in incrementally. “Beware” Jesus said. “Take heed, and guard against the smallest of portions that destroy your faith and purity.”
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole