Mark 8:14-21
God takes no pleasure in them that draw back, withdraw, run and/or quit. Faith causes us to stick with God in the midst of problems. Quitters have a track record of dysfunctional episodes. What obstacles are causing you to run from God? What people are convincing you to capitulate to their paradigms? What circumstances are causing you to acquiesce to a down spiral of emotional instabilities?
Jesus had a real knack for using everyday objects to teach us about spiritual things.

In this New Testament narrative, Jesus talks about things that we are familiar with and people we can relate to. He talks about yeast when describing the teachings of the Pharisees, the Herodians, and the Sadducees. Bread made with yeast (leaven) was a regular part of the diet of ancient Israel. The bread was made to rise by putting a piece of sour dough from a previous batch of dough in the flour, and this dough brought on fermentation of the whole loaf.
Now Jesus uses yeast in a figurative sense here when he says, “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”

The significant thing about yeast is its power. This power can become a source of good or evil.
In the parable of the leaven in Matthew chapter 13, Jesus used yeast to symbolize the pervasiveness of the kingdom which eventually transforms the world. (good use of yeast). Yet in Mark chapter 14, Jesus says “Watch out for the yeast…” because it is a bad thing.

Jesus warns us about 4 clear and succinct obstacles that will derail our faith.
Four things He classifies as yeast that if accepted by the Christian, can destroy his /her faith.

The yeast of the Pharisees was:

1. YEAST OF TRADITIONALISM
The Pharisees were traditionalists. They often held their own traditions above the law of God. They lifted up the teachings of men so high that they were not able to recognize Christ when He was in their midst. And Jesus says “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees.” There are a couple of reasons why traditionalism is dangerous.

Traditionalism says “I’ll do it the old way even if the new way is better.”

For centuries people believed that Aristotle was right when he said that the heavier an object was the faster it would fall to earth. Aristotle was regarded as the greatest thinker of all times and surely he could not be wrong. All it would have to take was for one brave person to have taken 2 objects, one heavy and one light, and drop them from a great height to see whether or not the heavier object landed first. But no one stepped forward until nearly 2,000 years after Aristotle’s death. In 1589, Galileo summoned learned professors to the base of the leaning Tower of Pisa. Then he went to the top and pushed off a 10 pound & a 1 pound weight. Both landed at the same time. But the power of belief in the conventional wisdom was so strong that the professors denied what they had seen. They continued to say Aristotle was right, even though they knew in their hearts he was wrong.

In the text preceding the one we’re studying today Jesus fed 4,000 people with 7 loaves of bread and a few small fish. After performing this miracle the Pharisees came up to Jesus and asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. They were so caught up in their tradition that even this sure sign of the Son of God could not convince them that the new way (His way) was better.

Traditionalism says, “But we’ve never done it that way before.”
That phrase is used over & over again in churches that are slowly dying, and can’t figure out why. Let me ask you something, “If you’ve always done it a particular way but have never gotten any results from it, don’t you think it’s time to do it a way you’ve never done it before?” The traditionalists didn’t like Jesus because He did a lot of things in ways that had never been done before. Jesus wasn’t concerned with the traditions of men; He was concerned with the advancement of the Kingdom of God.

If we want our faith to progress; if we want our church to grow; if we want to do great things in the Kingdom — we need not be so much concerned with how things were done before — but with how God wants them done now. Now does that mean that everything done in the past was bad, or should be forgotten? Certainly not! We build on past traditions that have been beneficial to the Kingdom, and replace the traditions that detract from the Kingdom. There is nothing wrong with having traditions. But tradition becomes traditionalism when we place preeminence of it over the commands of God………….Part 2 will be posted next week.

We welcome your comments.

By: John F. Lofton