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February 11 | Mark 8:14-21


 

DAILY READING

 

REFLECTION


Yeast - Good or Bad?

by Elaine Pierce


As usual, the disciples again miss the point as they struggle to understand Jesus' teachings. In today's passage, Jesus warns them to watch out for the "yeast" of the Pharisees and Herod, and they figure that he's pointing out that they don't have any bread with them. (Mark 8:14-16) Remember, they had just seen Jesus turn a few loaves and a few small fish into a meal for a huge crowd - thousands of people - with loaves and fish left over after everyone had eaten. In some ways, it seems logical that they would think he was talking about physical bread.


But Jesus has a deeper meaning when he combines yeast and the Pharisees and Herod. Though the Pharisees were small in number, just as yeast is small when combined with a large amount of flour, their teaching can do a lot of damage. It can expand and take over, and before you know it, you have left the path of truth and righteousness and veered into a theology of works and laws. (See Matthew 16:5-12 for a similar message.)


Yeast is not always viewed negatively in scripture. Of course, we all know the story of how the Jews fled from Egypt and didn't have time to bring yeast with them, and how to this day on Passover and through the eight-day holiday, observant Jews eat unleavened bread to remind them of how God brought them safely out of Egypt to the Promised Land. (I think a thick slice of yeasty bread smothered in butter and strawberry jam would taste even more delicious after eight days of no yeast!)


In Matthew 16:33, Jesus uses yeast in a positive fashion:


"The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough."


That is the kind of yeast I want my life to look like! Take time each day to spend time in the word. Enjoy fellowship regularly with other believers. Share your life in a small group, where you will be lovingly held accountable and enjoy the privilege of praying for others. Worship the Lord in spirit and in truth. Beware of false teaching - look for the yeast that brings the fruit of the spirit, not the yeast that leads you astray.


PRAYER

Lord, it's easy to lose track of what is good, what is pure, what is honorable, what is right. Help me to focus on you and your kingdom. Thank you for the body of Christ, and help me to lean into brothers and sisters who will pray for me and help me to grow in my faith. Amen.






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