Today Pastor Brad taught from the passage where Jesus miraculously fed 4000 people (Mark 8:1-21). This was the second time that Jesus had fed a crowd gathered to hear Him teach; the first being the earlier feeding of the 5000. The people had now been with Jesus for three days and they were hungry. So hungry that Jesus was concerned that they might faint on their way back to their homes. He calls his disciples aside and says,
“I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat” (Mark 8:2)
It is amazing to see what moves the heart of Jesus in this moment. The God of all creation, the one Who literally spoke everything into existence, feels tender, loving compassion for people… for those who are made in His image.
After dismissing the crowd, Jesus gets in a boat and crosses to the other side of the lake where the religious leaders of the day, the Pharisees, argue with Him and ask for a sign. Jesus’ response here is very different from that of the earlier crowds who had been eager to hear Him speak. Knowing their hearts, Jesus assured the Pharisees that no sign would be given to them.
Crossing once again back to the other side of the lake, the disciples realized they had forgotten to bring enough bread for their journey. Surely they remembered the 5000 hungry people, who did not have much bread yet Jesus provided for them; or, the 4000 hungry people, who also did not have much bread, yet Jesus provided for them. Now, the 12 disciples were hungry and did not have much bread. Surely Jesus would provide for them, too. How many times we, too, forget to remember the faithfulness of God in our lives.
In response to the disciples, Jesus warns them to beware of the “leaven” (yeast) of the Pharisees. The Bible often uses leaven to refer to evil (false doctrine, unconfessed sin, hypocrisy, etc). Like yeast in dough, it spreads working its way through the all areas of life.
To discuss as a family
It’s interesting that the crowds wanted more to be with Jesus than they wanted food for their bodies (Mark 8:2). If you were honest, would you say that is true of you? Is there anything, even something as good and necessary as food, that you crave more than being with Jesus?
In what ways are you living as if Jesus were the source of your life? In what ways are you not? Are you filling your mind with the Scripture that is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Tim 3:16-17)? Or, are their other voices, which are speaking a message contrary to the Bible, that you are allowing to speak into your life?
Pastor Brad warned us against adopting a “policy of containment” in our struggle against sin. We may be tempted to put an imaginary border around that particular part of our lives assuming we can contain it and keep it from hurting us or those around us. However, Jesus warned that the false teaching of the Pharisees, like leaven, would work its wall completely through the dough. How are you intentionally pursuing holiness? Are there any areas of compromise that you or your family need to confess and turn away from? What practical steps will you take to do so today?