Mark 8:1-21; 2 Samuel 19; Daniel 12
When Christians have grown strong in society it is because they have been counter-culture. Society imposes certain rules and mores upon us as Christians and Christians have fought the culture with the power of God’s Holy Spirit. Whether it be picking up babies abandoned by the Roman fathers who did not find them worthy of life or fighting for the freedom of slaves here in America; when the church sought out God’s will and followed that when the culture ran contrary to God’s purposes and design, the church flourished.
Jesus dealt with this issue in many different ways. After feeding 4000 people the disciples were headed across the Sea of Galilee. Jesus was talking with His disciples: “Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.” They discussed this with one another and said, “It is because we have no bread.” 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? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember?” Yeast is often used as a symbol of sin, and Jesus used it that way here to look at spiritual truths. The disciples took it literally, focusing on their physical needs. Jesus reminded them that their physical needs were cared for, but their hearts were too hardened to focus on the spiritual situation. The Pharisees were the religious leaders. Herod was the political leader. I believe that this can be interpreted to mean that Jesus was warning them about following either the religious or political fads of the day. Those who follow Jesus must put Jesus first in all areas of their lives.
Often, staying true to Jesus will mean ridicule from the powers that be. Sometimes it may mean persecution and in some extreme cased it will mean death. Nevertheless, we are called to follow Jesus and stay true to Him in all we do. I fail in that daily, and I seek God’s help to follow Jesus in all I do. Christians have failed in that in the past including during the issue of slavery when some thought it was biblical to enslave people and mistreat them horribly. Even today we see large groups of Christians who would follow the popular culture, who would put convenience ahead of obedience, rather than follow the teachings of Jesus. I pray for myself, that I might always follow Jesus, and I pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ who have made their faith in Jesus secondary to getting along in society. May they rediscover the joy of following Jesus.