Tuesday, February 15, 2011

2/15/11 - The Leaven of the Pharisees

Mark 8:14-21
The disciples had forgotten to bring bread,
and they had only one loaf with them in the boat.
Jesus enjoined them, “Watch out,
guard against the leaven of the Pharisees
and the leaven of Herod.”
They concluded among themselves that
it was because they had no bread.
When he became aware of this he said to them,
“Why do you conclude that it is because you have no bread?
Do you not yet understand or comprehend?
Are your hearts hardened?
Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?
And do you not remember,
when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand,
how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?”
They answered him, “Twelve.”
“When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand,
how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?”
They answered him, “Seven.”
He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

This reading provides a great lesson of how easy it is to take your eyes off the spirit.

Christ uses leavened bread as a metaphor for the dangers presented by the Pharisees, and of Herod. That type of leaven -- the leaven of the world that rejects Him -- will poison the bread that they are trying to make.

The disciples hear this teaching and completely miss it. Sitting here now, it seems amazing that they could miss it. They think Christ is worried about food, even though they have watched him feed 9,000 people with a total of twelve loaves of bread. They've seen him walk on water, and calm the sea. They've seen him heal a leper and a deaf man. It must have left Christ shaking His head.

On the other hand, I completely understand. It is so easy for me to allow the flesh to interfere with what the spirit is trying to teach me.  This is why it is so necessary to commit to putting the flesh to death in your life -- the flesh prevents you from understanding what God is truly saying to you.  You can't advance very far spiritually without taking that step.  Christ told us that we need to do it.  Paul told us that we need to do it.  Over the last 2,000 years, Saint after Saint after Saint has told us that we need to do it.

The testimony is strong and unanimous!

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