The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus.
To test him, they asked for a sign from heaven. Mark 8:12
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.” Mark 8;13
“‘Be careful,’ Jesus warned them.
‘Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and
that of Herod.'” Mark 8:15
What a powerful passage this is. It documents the struggle not just of our Lord meeting the needs of the people gathered, but dealing with the critiques and criticism of those in power, and monitoring and managing the personal relationship with the 12.
Jesus walks on to a dark stage, not with a spotlight soloed on Him, but as the Light peering through the darkness. Misunderstood by those who walked with Him, envied, frightened and threatened by those in power, Jesus safely navigates every situation, keeping Himself in a position to lead others, and complete His mission.
Jesus, though I felt He should be bothered by the irresponsibility of the disciples (forgetting the bread, yet again), Jesus is concerned about the heart of those who are following Him. He speaks to the 12 who are discussing the irresponsible action, and gets to the heart of the matter. Though their action looks like simple irresponsibility, it is really more closely tied to what Jesus is encountering with the Pharisees, and initially with Herod.
Though walking with Jesus, the disciples still had some doubts. They were unsure no only about who He was, but what His true purpose was. The reality was that their faith was being built as they were walking with Him. Though they recognized the wisdom from Him, and the potential in Him, they belief and acceptance of who He was remained fragile.
These miracles performed, though for the crowd, had a great impact on the disciples, who held the miracle in their hands; participating in what they couldn’t understand, testifying about what they could not explain. Though Jesus explained what He could, that which could not was relegated to just faith!
Their initial steps were from faith itself, and now these miracles
which aide in building their faith, now could become
the focal point of their faith!
Jesus says, this is yeast! And this is dangerous! Brothers and Sisters,
I saw us in the twelve!
God has revealed Himself to us. He has protected us and provided for us, directed us and disciplined us. Amidst our walk with Him, He pours favor onto our lives, measuring out grace and mercy along the way, and allowing our life to receive blessings as we trust Him.
The miracles, we discover in Jesus’s dialogue,
were not to build their faith, but to ensure they would trust in Him.
Yes, this is a fine line, but faith strengthened by miracles can prove to be dangerous. Mind you, Jesus was fresh off the heals of two major miracles, but the Pharisees wanted to test the Lord and request further proof of who He was. Jesus knew that this perspective could become the perspective of the disciples, and one lack luster performance or failed miracle could result in a ship wrecked faith.
I know what you are thinking? I’m betting on black! All chips in, but remember, Jesus was unable to perform miracles in His home town (except for a few healings) and he had to put the unbelieving crowd out to heal the young girl. And there are many more instances of the importance of faith in the performance of miracles, thus anyone’s faith based on miracles is in danger of faltering.
Jesus says, “‘Be careful…Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.'” He warns them. How many people have suffered from the yeast of doubt. Walking aimlessly, looking for signs and proof to validate what has been given to them through revelation. Though God verifies and validates His existence, we have those who will yo yo in and out of belief because their faith waivers because their request for proof was denied.
Jesus refuses to give them a sign. Though requested, He replies to them that enough has been taught and displayed to garner their belief. He removes Himself from the constant burden of proof, knowing that there will never be enough proof for a heart that is hardened and or looking for a reason not to believe. To those that doubt, even the proof provided will be challenged and put to the test. They attributed His miracles to demonic influence at one point. He knew that further proof wouldn’t make the difference.
Sadly, many have suffered this fate, and have shipwrecked finding reasons to doubt, as opposed to resting in the security of the relationship they have developed with the divine. Where are you? Is the yeast beginning to rise? I like Jesus, hope this blog speaks to the doubt in your life, so that you will survive and not become the yeast of these.