Key Verse: Mark 8:18 “Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember?”
This chapter gives us a fascinating insight into the frailty of human nature. Beginning in verse 14 we have a story of the disciples forgetting to bring bread on a boat trip. All they had was one loaf, and they were obviously concerned. Jesus saw their concern and made the most unusual comment. He says, “Beware of the leaven (yeast) of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” The disciples were somewhat flummoxed by this and tried to figure out why Jesus was scolding them. They thought it might be because they’d failed to plan ahead. But that wasn’t the problem. The problem was that they had forgotten how Jesus had miraculously provided bread for them, and thousands of others, before. He looks at them and asks if their hearts have become hardened, or their eyes blind, or their ears deaf. “Don’t you remember?” Jesus asks. Or better yet, “Don’t you see?” Then He recalls the feeding of the five thousand and recounts the baskets of bread left over.
It’s in this context that the word “yeast” comes into play. The yeast of the Scribes, the Pharisees, and Herod had something to do with a secular mind set. The natural or carnal way of looking at things can effectively block Christ’s provision. Jesus’ yeast not only makes bread rise, it multiplies bread! He then reemphasizes the point by reminding them of the feeding of the four thousand; but the disciples don’t get the point. The fact is that Jesus can supply the need. His track record proves it. And to be able to trust Him in a simple way for one’s daily bread is perhaps the bottom line, the litmus test, to being His disciple. This isn’t to suggest we do away with the means He has provided us in terms of daily work and wages to supply a need. Nevertheless, even in that we must recognize that any good thing we have has come from God.