Preachers and Politicians

“Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and the leaven of Herod.” – Jesus (Mark 8:15)

Jesus is noted as making a similar statement in Matthew 16:12-13. Both comments that he made were seemingly out of context of the situation He and His disciples were in and both times He didn’t elaborate much on the meaning of the saying.

Maybe it was self-explanatory in their time. After all, leaven/yeast had a deep symbolic meaning then that has been lost in our time and culture. Yet even now this statement seems to ooze with meaning and demand attention.

Yeast/Leaven is a single cell fungus that can multiply and spread. Historically, it was made by fermentation. For baking, just a little can affect the entire batch. It can make a loaf of bread rise, giving it strength, making it larger, tastier, and more attractive. For the Passover Moses commanded all yeast be removed from the house. In other words, it has a way of affecting everything; It’s a living thing. Biblically, it mostly symbolized sin and evil, but occasionally it symbolized good (Matt. 13:33).

It seems to me that Jesus was warning the disciples about the effects of religious leaders, political leaders, and by proximity, religious systems and political systems. Both religious and political systems are unavoidable. They are a fabric of human existence, BUT especially for the Disciple of Christ, these two systems which can closely intermingle with the function of the Kingdom of G-d should be warned against. They can draw us away from the Kingdom, even intoxicate us.

These two systems have a way of getting into the fundamental perspective and heart of the people. They have a way of clouding perspectives, of making agendas seem important and meaningful that are in fact not.

THANKFULLY, Holy Spirit is our guide who can help us rid ourselves of religious and political leaven in our lives. Hopefully, we won’t waste too many years of our lives stuck in false narratives of importance fighting for causes and believing in hyped up organizations that we thought were Jesus’.


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