Mark 8: 11The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. 12He 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." 13Then he left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other side. 14The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. 15"Be careful," Jesus warned them. "Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod." 16They discussed this with one another and said, "It is because we have no bread." 17Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: "Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don't you remember? 19When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?" "Twelve," they replied. 20"And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?" They answered, "Seven." 21He said to them, "Do you still not understand?"
“Do you still not understand?” Jesus asks his clueless, befuddled disciples. No, they don't. They don't even understand what the general subject matteris that they are supposed to understand something about.
After all the times I've read this passage, I'm still not sure I do, either.
But I know it has something to do with yeast. And with that my preaching series on the kingdom of God in Mark's Gospel ends, for now, where it began: on the subject of really small things that can have very big impacts. One is the mustard seed of faith, or the mustard seed of the Kingdom of God, at least when it enters our world and our lives. The other is the yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod. Understanding what this yeast is seems to be pretty important to Jesus. So check out last Sunday's message (Nov. 9, 2008) at Emmanuel Mennonite Church, at Download poisonous_yeast.doc to see if I have this right or not.
Pastor Mathew Swora