Beware the Yeast of the Pharisees


Still considering Jesus’ seemingly off-hand comment “Watch out–beware the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of the Herodians.”

Reporters didn’t follow Jesus around recording every word he said in hope of a “gotcha” moment where they could make him look bad. That type of “journalism” (and I use the word loosely) only happened recently in history.

No, the gospel writers took these little vignettes and recorded them because they moved their stories forward. So consider that whenever they record a comment, it is important.

So, we were looking at the spiritual meaning of the sentence, since Jesus obviously points us to the spiritual significance later.

Considering we–as in each one of us–are the “dough” in the story. And consider that yeast is a reactive agent that enters the dough, permeates throughout it, and then creates a chemical and physical change in the dough.

As we are the dough, and we are to beware letting the “yeast” of the Pharisees into us, then what does that mean?

Let’s look at how the Pharisees are represented in the gospels. They are rule followers. Empty on the inside. Remember the metaphor of the cup–clean on the outside and corroded on the inside?

Or seekers of loopholes–that is how all of us rule-followers are. How can we make the rules favor us rather than someone else?

Or lovers of comparison. “Lord, I thank you that I am not like that sinner over there.”

When we allow these thoughts and attitudes to permeate us, then our entire being is changed.

We are no longer kind, empathetic, loving, serving people of God–the sort of people who inherit the Kingdom. We become negative, cynical, separate, hard-hearted.

Perhaps we think back to Paul’s description of people of the flesh and people of the spirit in Galatians. Which do we want to be? Beware the yeast of the Pharisees lest it change your character!

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