Mark 8

“And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.” (v. 15)

Jesus had just finished performing a miracle in the feeding of the four thousand. Here, on a ship with His disciples, He taught them a great Bible Truth. Though speaking allegorically, as Jesus often did, He cautions them, and us, to be careful of the doctrines of men’s religion, or false doctrine. You have two groups in authority at the time, though there were a few other sects also, these were the religious group and the political factions. That much has not changed a lot it seems. Christ was constantly the teacher. A teacher is a teacher all the time, and not only in the classroom. He took every opportunity to instruct the disciples who followed Him everywhere, and seemed eager to learn; a good teacher uses his time well, lest he waste time and fail to “redeem the time” as commanded in scripture. Jesus was, of course, an excellent teacher.

There is something more for us here though, and that is in the “leaven of the Pharisees and…Herod.” Leaven, as we know is that which expands, as yeast does in bread dough, and causes it to rise. It is symbolic of false doctrine; of pride, which swells men’s hearts and minds, and puffs them up so that they appear much bigger than they really are. It represents more specifically, nowadays, the humanistic philosophy that this world seems to guide their lives by, whether political or religious, or both. Paul has said “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (1 Cor. 5:6 and Gal. 5:9), and Christ, in Luke 12:21 plainly states that this “leaven” is hypocrisy. We must be careful that we do not pattern our thinking after this world’s philosophies, and that we focus on Christ. Again, Paul puts it this way, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” (Col. 2:8). There are several other “warnings” for us along these lines in Scripture, but this verse makes it quite clear. The message for us is “Beware of false doctrines” whether “religious” or secular, we are to carefully and diligently study the Word of God so that the false will be exposed, and shunned. You do not need to study the false doctrine of Mormonism, or the Jehovah’s Witnesses, or any other, but study the Truth, and the error will be revealed. We are often tempted to study the evil for the sake of the good.

No comments: