Tags: commentary on Mark, doubt, feeding the multitudes, Jesus Christ, leaven, Mark 8, Pharisees, Sunday School lessons on Mark, unbelief
Jesus had twice fed large groups of people by miraculously multiplying a few fish and loaves of bread. After proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that those who followed Him by faith would have their physical needs met according to His will, the Savior was experiencing grief upon being confronted by persistent disbelief.
And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation.
The skepticism which caused Him to sigh was par for the course for the Pharisees, but Jesus’s concern was that their attitude would infect His disciples.
And he left them, and entering into the ship again departed to the other side. Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf. And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.
Leaven is a substance which is small and unseen, but which will quickly permeate an entire loaf of bread. Here, Jesus compares it to the false doctrines of the Pharisees and the followers of Herod. But the disciples, who were foolishly worried because somebody had forgotten to bring bread aboard the ship, thought the Lord was making an underhanded comment about their failure to pack food.
And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have no bread.
I am not sure I want to describe Jesus’s attitude as that of “frustration” here, because that, in one sense, implies a discouraged surrender to circumstances. When we, as fallen creatures, experience “frustration” because of the failure of others to live up to our expectations, we almost always, if not, in fact, always, commit the sin of unrighteous anger. Jesus never sinned. However, we can surely see His holy grief in His response:
And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened? Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?
How quickly we often forget the blessings the Lord has given us, and the miracles He has done in our midst, when we are faced with unexpected inconvenience or the possibility of bearing someone else’s blame! The warning of Christ was right on target, and we must heed it even today. If we are not careful, a little lack of faith will cause the dough of our life to rise into a big loaf of questioning God, and a burnt crusty mess of unbelief. We must beware of a little leavenly bout of heavenly doubt resulting in a satanic rout.
Tags: commentary on Exodus, congregation, Exodus 12, feasting, first Passover, Lamb of God, leaven, nation of Israel, Sunday School lessons on Exodus
Exodus Chapter 12 features the institution of the Passover.
And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:
The reference to “the congregation of Israel” is significant because it is the official proclamation by God of the uniting together of the Jewish people into a nation.
Let’s look at some the central features of the “Passover.” This was not going to be something they were going to do once; it was given to them as something to be done every year from that point forward.
1. The killing of the Lamb
Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.
The deliverance of the children of Israel was going to come by death – for both believers and unbelievers. For the Egyptians it would be a judgment-death. For the Israelites it would be a substitutionary sacrificial death.
2. The purging of leaven
Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land.
Leaven is a picture of sin. It starts small, but it permeates a whole loaf. It works in secret (although the results are ultimately exposed). It “puffs up,” which is a picture of pride. Christians today are not commanded to observe the Passover as a religious ritual, but certainly the principle of purging spiritual “leaven” – both sin and false teaching – from our homes must be an ongoing activity.
3. Eating a feast (my favorite!)
Could you imagine if Christianity required taking a vow of hunger? How would we get people to come to Sunday School without donuts!
And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire.
They were to eat the lamb, along with the unleavened bread and bitter herbs, so, while we are to take joy in feasting, we must remember the call not to burden ourselves down with physical pleasures – because we have work to do.
Tags: 1 Corinthians 5, Christian love, communion, Communion devotions, Lamb of God, leaven, Lord's supper, Lord's supper devotions, Passover, sin in the camp
Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
I Corinthians 5:7
The Passover feast was Christ’s appointed time – the time when the spotless Lamb of God would shed His blood for the sins of the world. A little over 2000 years later, under the New Covenant, we remember this occasion by observing the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper.
At the Jewish Passover there was to be no leaven in the lump of dough used to make the bread. Leaven is a picture of sin in a congregation. Leaven may be small, but it is powerful. It works secretly. It “puffs up.” It spreads.
But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
I Corinthians 5:11
Sometimes the Lord’s Supper is called “Communion,” a word which speaks of common unity. When a group of New Testament Christians assembles to observe the ordinance of Communion, one the worst instances of “leaven” would be feelings of hatred among different members of the body.
Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
I Corinthians 5:8