Politicians and Religious Leaders

Mark 8:11-15 (YLT)

The Pharisees came forth, and began to dispute with him, seeking from him a sign from the heaven, tempting him; and having sighed deeply in his spirit, he saith, `Why doth this generation seek after a sign? Verily I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation.’ And having left them, having entered again into the boat, he went away to the other side; and they forgot to take loaves, and except one loaf they had nothing with them in the boat, and he was charging them, saying, `Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod,’

Jesus says, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod. I was reading this morning and got an interesting insight that I think may be helpful to us. While doing a small word study on this passage I realized that although leaven has a negative connotation in the Old and New Testament, leaven itself is not a bad thing. Here’s a definition…


1. a substance, as yeast or baking powder, that causes fermentation and expansion of dough or batter.
2. fermented dough reserved for producing fermentation in a new batch of dough.
3. an element that produces an altering or transforming influence.
Leaven is what makes bread bread. It cause the batter to ferment and grow so that it is transformed into a scrumptious food. That’s good right?
To get to my point, Pharisees were religious leaders in the time of Christ- also not bad in and of themselves. Just misguided religious folks, kinda like us at times. And a Herod was a political leader, like a King or a President (hint hint-nudge nudge). There were multiple Herods, the one Jesus was probably referring to was Herod “the great”, King of Judea.
So, Jesus was telling His disciples, to beware of the seemingly good effects of the religious leaders and the political leaders. The fancy way that they seemed to “control” things and make things seem better. He was saying these guys seem like they are doing great things and many will be on board. A lot of folks will be all caught up with these guys, and place all kinds of hope in them.
He was saying to them and us don’t you do it. Place your faith and energy into God. Only He can satisfy, on He is truly in control. And He is not about hype and awkward self promotion. God does not compete, nor does He need to prove Himself. He is faithful and silently working on behalf of each of us.
In the earlier part of the passage Jesus is all frustrated because they were demanding a sign from Him, they wanted proof. They wanted Him to campaign for Himself. He sighs deeply.
Yeah, Jesus we get it. Thanks for that.

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