Mark 8:14 – 21 “The 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.” 16 They discussed this with one another and said, “It is because we have no bread.” 17 Aware 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? 18 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember?19 When 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.” 21 He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

I love the Message translation: “Why are you fussing because you forgot bread? Don’t you see the point of all this? Don’t you get it at all?”

Here is a picture of the disciples falling out with each other because no one had thought of bringing lunch. All they had was one loaf. They had all been there at the feeding of the 5,000 and the 4,000 which started with a small amount of food and which resulted in basketfuls left over. But now, later, it is like they had forgotten that whole experience as they argue and discuss what they should do for lunch. Jesus was on board their boat. He is always enough. But for some reason they hadn’t understood that the miracles Jesus did for others, he could do for them.

Throughout the Bible yeast is represented as sin. The celebrating of the Passover was to be done with the Feast of Unleavened Bread with the removal of yeast from their houses for 7 days. It all pointed to Jesus being the Bread of Life who was without yeast/sin. On the boat Jesus warns of the yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod. The disciples begin to argue again about them having no lunch because clearly Jesus was referring to their food, wasn’t he?


In short:

  • The yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod is the hidden sin that pervades throughout their life. On the surface they appear religious and successful but underneath are attitudes and motives that are not true and that are failing. Eventually they will consume the house they are in causing it to collapse.
  • This yeast can cause even the disciples not to see or hear what is right in front of them. They can see the miracles and hear the teachings but fail to see who Jesus is and He is right there in the boat with them.
  • For us today, don’t let the unseen attitudes of the heart, the yeast, block you from recognising the hand of God in your life. He is right here with you, in your boat. Every miracle you have ever known that He has done for others, He can do for you now. So don’t worry about how little you have or what the future may hold. He is here, the Bread of Life, with you!


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