Read Mark 8:14-21.
Jesus is pondering his interaction with the Pharisees and he uses it as a teachable moment for his disciples. In verse 15 he says to “beware of the leaven”. Some translations will say “beware of the yeast”. There is very little indication as to what Jesus is referring to other than a general warning about how the Pharisees and those loyal to the puppet King Herod are responding to Jesus’ Gospel. This is part of that ominous theme that something bad is going to happen if Jesus and his disciples keep doing what they are doing. But, the disciples are worried about their next meal because Peter thought John had the bread, and John thought Peter had it, and now they have nothing to eat. So Jesus starts talking about yeast and who knows what else, and the disciples think he is worried about what’s for lunch too. Jesus loses it.
In verse 17 he goes off: Why are you worried about lunch? Are you ignorant? Are your hearts hard? You have eyes but can’t see and ears but can’t hear? Don’t you remember!?! With the 5000 there were 12 baskets left over and with the 4000 there were 7 baskets left. And then he asks this question of them that just cuts to the heart. “Do you not yet understand?” They had seen him do so many things, yet they still weren’t sure what was going on. This is a question that surely challenged the first disciples and should challenge us today as well. If we look at the course of our lives, undoubtedly we can see the hand of God bringing us even to this point in our lives today. God’s sovereignty may not cancel our responsibility in our choices, but if we look at the choices we have made, good or bad, we can see God’s hand orchestrating our lives toward a purpose. We may not yet know that purpose, the reasons, or the destination, but one thing we cannot question: God loves and cares for us. In spite of our lack of understanding, our doubting and our continual turning away to lesser things, God is compassionate and has remained faithful to us. He continues to lead us, to teach us, to call for us to follow him. And in spite of their incomprehension and their hard-heartedness, Jesus doesn’t abandon his disciples. He doesn’t deny them the opportunity to see a sign like he did the Pharisees. So he will once again demonstrates that the Time has been fulfilled and God’s Kingdom has come.
He doesn’t abandon us either, but continues to call us and lead us to himself. Through prosperity, through happiness, through loss, and through suffering the God who loves us continues to call us to himself in Jesus Christ.
2 Timothy 2:11-13 says,
11 The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; 13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.