"Beware, Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod! … Why are they talking about having no bread? Still do not see or understand? Do you have a dull mind? Do not you remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of pieces did you pick up? And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many baskets full of pieces did they pick up? And still do not understand? Mr 8: 14-21
This passage tells us that the disciples had forgotten to bring food and only had one bread in the boat. They were talking that they did not have bread. The Lord warns them about the leaven of the Pharisees and that of Herod; but they only think that they do not have bread. The Lord reminds them of the miracles of feeding the crowds so that they can understand. Their minds are dull. Their goal is to project them forward based on a principle they should not negotiate: "Be careful; Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod!
Yeast is the agent of fermentation, and in this passage, agent of corruption. It is bad influence, an element of corruption that penetrates any mass. Jesus is the bread but the religious represent the leaven. Jesus is the bread as was the mana that sustained the people in the desert, life in fullness. The leaven of religious is the morbid concern in maintaining control over the religiosity of the people through regulation.
Beware of religion that does not see the bottom. Beware when we are more concerned with being leaders but not with people being free in Christ. The leaven of the Pharisees represented hypocrisy, misunderstood piety turned into legalism, justice without mercy. It is to move away from grace, love, gratitude, respect for the other to fall into the abuse of power. Hosea 6: 6, Micah 6: 8, Matthew 12: 1-8, Matthew 9: 12-13, 1 Samuel 15:22.
The leaven of Herod represents a society without God, secular, without needing to depend on God, solving problems in his judgment, adding the values of the current or worldly system, lying, accepting as good what is bad, sexual immorality, corruption, power, debauchery, manipulation, successful results without God. That is to say, the "market mandates" and we follow its rules prostrating ourselves before its methods. Beware of the power of the empire. Be careful with the system.
The mere numerical growth has become an objective in itself, and for many, "the objective justifies the means". The great multiplication, numbers and percentages are not synonymous with "transformation". We are called to form "ecclesial communities" that reflect the spirit of reconciliation, acceptance, forgiveness and love. The exercise of leadership in the life of the nave churches should be marked by the model of the suffering servant and show a contrast with the caudillismo and other deformations caused by the abuse of power. Following Jesus means assuming his life and mission.
Jesus reminds his disciples that they should not worry about food, clothing and where to sleep. He projects us to be and do like Jesus when he said: "Let's cross over to the other side". The whole Church is responsible for the evangelization of all peoples, races and languages. This fulfillment demands the crossing of geographical, cultural, social, linguistic and spiritual borders, with all their consequences.
"Every man in every place has the right granted by God, to listen, at least once in his life, to the clear presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, in his own language and in a culturally sensitive way that allows him to make a decision to respect".
And still do not understand?
Author: Carlos Scott
Carlos is a member of the executive committee and mundial leadership council of the Missions Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), Resides in Buenos Aires.