by Mike Winger
The problem here is that Jesus’ warning is a puzzle. But, looking at the passage in context it’s not that hard to see what it’s about. We’ll cover the meaning of “the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod”. We’ll also find out why Jesus healed a blind man in two stages and how it relates to the disciples understanding of Jesus. This is a verse by verse study of Mark 8:13-26 and it is part of a larger verse by verse study through Mark, available here If you love this ministry and want to (and can afford to) help support my continued production of free content then please click here.

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I think that it's kind of a true principle in life that when people warn us about something our fear is directly related to how much respect we have for that person you know so like if a four-year-old warns you that there's a monster in the closet you're not you're not as you're not as worried right but if you have this like friend you really respect and really trust and they warn you there's something scary in your closet you you may be more serious about it in this case Jesus is warning us about something that you otherwise might not be worried about I think that our concern for the thing Jesus warns us about in this passage should be very high we should take this warning very seriously we should consider very thoughtfully but there's one problem and that is that Jesus is warning is a riddle and here's Jesus your guy says he does this sometimes he gives them a warning that is a riddle it's meant to be riddled out thought through pondered on it were meant to sort of absorb it's you know slowly as we think about it it's a puzzle so this is the mark series part 28 where in mark chapter 8 verse 13 and we're doing our verse by verse study through the Gospel of Mark trying to understand it in context apply it into our lives simply and hopefully effectively to guard our own selves against these types of warnings so here we are verse 13 a spiritual danger that Jesus warns the disciples about and us mark 813 leaving them he again embarked and went away to the other side and they had forgotten to take bread and did not have more than one loaf in the boat with them and he was giving orders to them saying watch out beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod they began to discuss with one another the fact that they had no bread and Jesus aware of this said to them why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread do you not yet see or understand do you have a hardened heart having eyes do you not see having ears do you not hear this is interesting okay so that so mark tells us right hey they get in the boat they're crossing over they don't have enough bread Jesus at that point he warns them about the leaven of the scribes and the Pharisees the disciples because of the context they're like oh I don't know he's talking about it probably cuz we don't have enough bread and Jesus is like you're dumb that's not the point you're blind and then he explains to them as we read on that it's the leaven of the scribes and the Pharisees that's the the scribes in Herod or the Pharisees inherit excuse me there's I'm mixing all the Gospels versions of the same story in my head together but it's beware the leaven of the Pharisees in the leaven of Herod so what's up with leaven let's first just understand what's eleven because in our culture we're not really thinking about leaven too much unless you watch the great british baking show like i do i think you think about things like things like lemon that's a I like that show so what's up with leaven leavens is something that on a human on a natural level not speaking symbolically but just in a simple practical fashion it causes decay that produces gas inside of dough right and it causes the dough to rise and we like this I like I like bread with leaven in it this is a good thing it's not a bad thing it's good in bread but symbolically it speaks of a type of corruption in a person's life not always but frequently in the Bible when the word leaven is used symbolically it often is used in a negative sense not every single time the Bible doesn't have to use the same things the same ways every time but most the time it seems to be used in a negative sense it refers to say pride when we read that knowledge puffs up this may be a reference to like a leavening effect right it's like I'm puffed up or that sin itself is is like leaven is like leaven and I'll get to some scripture about that um but in the Old Testament leaven was not allowed in most of the sacrifices when they brought the sacrifices to God in the law the Levitical law they weren't allowed to use leaven so this is to say that leavens like has a symbolically negative impact because their sacrifices are all about the symbolism and representation that goes on there generally it's in it's in a negative fashion so here's the big question that we have with that in mind what is the leaven of the pharisees and the leaven of Herod and that's the that's we're gonna focus on right now for the a large part of the study today we're gonna get into Jesus then healing a blind man and that relates to what he just said to the disciples here's a cool connection that goes on but what is the leaven of the Pharisees and leaven of Herod note I noticed this that I think and I'm not 100% sure I think that this means there's two different Levin's he's talking because he doesn't say the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod he says the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod I think this is two different kinds of leaven that he's talking about they're related but they're different things so we'll talk about that in just a minute but first we'll just say what it's not it's obviously not an issue of natural food or natural leaven that was what the twelve thought and Jesus rebukes them for so we know that already Jesus's fixed that for us it's not an issue of natural food natural leaven that's not the problem it seems that Jesus though just doesn't explain in detail what he's talking about and so we're left to riddle it out Jesus does this several times in the words that we have recorded of him in the Gospels he often says things and you're meant to puzzle it out now this doesn't mean that his words are impossible to understand but they're often sort of something like a parable or and we think parable we often think of the stories Jesus told there was a man or the kingdom of heaven is like but he spoke parabolically or at least in riddles in other times when he says things like if anyone doesn't come after or comes after me he doesn't take yes to take up his cross and follow me we take up his cross what does that mean now post cross right we all know what this means but you understand to the disciples when they first heard this they would have been like I mean it would have been a long time before they would have figured out what Jesus was talking about take up my cross what am I supposed to do or you for gonna come after him you have to hate your father and mother Jesus says this this is one of the favorite verses that that I see from like atheist websites when they want to show how bad the Bible is you know and they take verse like this from Jesus and I'm like well you know I get it I get it out of context you ignored the fact that Jesus also says honor your father and mother and and that when he speaks he speaks of hate here he doesn't mean you're actually hating or your mom and dad it's a riddle he's trying to get you to understand that he is the highest priority in your life above anyone and everyone else but of course because God's our priority in my life I love my mom more I I don't think I know of any true genuine Christians who love their parents less as a result of following Jesus but they may have to make a choice between obeying a parent and obeying Jesus and then that choice is clear and even if that parents like hey you hate me you're like think what you why I can control that but I got to obey the Lord okay so that now it becomes clear so it's like a riddle but the parallels the parallels from the other Gospels help us understand Jesus's words here so we're gonna look at a couple of those first we'll start with Matthew so we read in mark that short short story now here we get it in Matthew verse chapter 16 Matthew 16 yeah I'm gonna flip over there we're gonna be in verses 5 through 12 we're just gonna read through it and get the same passage because Matthew has more information than what we got a mark so I'll give us more details Matthew 16 verse 5 and the disciples came to the other side of the sea but they had forgotten to bring any bread and Jesus said to them watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees they began to discuss this among themselves saying he said that because we did not bring any bread but Jesus aware of this said you men of little faith why do you discuss among yourselves that you have no bread do you not yet understand or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets full you picked up or the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets full you picked up how is it that you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread but beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees then they understood that he did not say to beware of the leaven of bread but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees ah beware of their teachings ok so this is this is good ok not such a hard riddle because we just were given an answer right there it's not going to be that challenging to figure it out the application will be important for the understandings a little bit easier because of this so the teaching of the scribes and Pharisees what did these guys do they taught traditions as as if it was the commands of God and they used their traditions to sort of downgrade the commands of God or get people to be distracted from real obedience to God through obedience to mere traditions so they're to watch out for their teachings watch out for their teachings but then we have one more verse all read this is Luke chapter 12 verse 1 they're just going to be one verse from Luke but this gives us another element of what the leaven is and it says under these sir stances after so many thousands of people had gathered together that they were stepping on one another he began saying to the disciples first of all beware of the leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy so we haven't interpreted two times specifically though the interpretation we're getting is the leaven of the scribes and Pharisees or the leaven of the Pharisees it's their teaching and their hypocrisy that's the interpretation nothing mentioned about the leaven of Herod here I feel I think the leaven of Herod we only have mentioned in mark that may have a slightly different connotation to it we'll come back to that in a minute so what is it it's their teaching and their hypocrisy I think to understand this better we just have to understand the general context for the scribes and Pharisees which at this point if you're you know working through the gospel markets like we've already seen a lot about the scribes and Pharisees we've already looked at them a lot so I'm not gonna try to rehash all that let me just remind us of Matthew 23 where Jesus offers a number of woes to the scribes and Pharisees and he's like woe to you woe to you woe woe well over and over again woe meaning like bad news for you there's bad stuff coming your way and he gives him a number a number of reasons why in Matthew 23 verse 3 he says woe to them because they say and they do not do they say and they do not do so this is the hypocrisy right you're you're gonna say you're doing something but you're not actually doing it they say that they're obeying God's law but they're not really doing it in verse 5 he says that all their works they do to be seen by men so it's about how they look not how they are this is a huge issue that I think we all have to face in an internal battle in our lives we all want to be real Christians godly Christians but that desire to be a godly Christian can be replaced with the desire to look like a godly Christian and that's it that's a big temptation I think for all of us and this is where part of that warning comes up watch out for this leaven that will get into you it'll spread through you and it will be that desire to look godly instead of that desire to be godly there's a big difference there's a big difference one is humility the other is pride he also goes on and talks about how they have how they have works they have lots of works but they don't have service to their fellow man real true service and this is in Matthew 23 verses 6 through 12 so I'm just gonna read this - to us the warning about these particular hypocrites Jesus says they love the places of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogue's they love to sit in the nice places right they like being looked at and appreciated and respectful greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by men like they like they really like it now this is a good warning for those of us who might call ourselves pastor or Deacon or whatever and you like it when people hey I like when people call me pastor pastor like I always it's a red flag to me in ministry when I've had people I'm just being honest who they're not even ordained as a pastor but they're serving in ministry roles and people around them just start calling them pastor because they don't know one way or the other and when they let them call them that and they like kind of allow it I'm like worried about them and I'm like oh you like that title do you that made you feel good you really like that time and I just think it's concerning to me because hey man we all struggle with pride we all struggle with pride I mean other than me you I really mean you you all struggle with pride I obviously have already got that totally mastered now of course we do we all struggle with this stuff and so he's like watch out for these things and lo and behold Jesus gets to give us some really good bad examples the scribes the Pharisees so the like being called rabbi by men Jesus says in verse 8 but do not be called rabbi for one is your teacher and you're all brothers now some would say so then no one can call you pastor for that because pastor is a teacher so you can't call him rabbi can't call him well no I don't think that's the case I mean they would still use titles like apostle they would still use titles like elder or Bishop or you know pastor in the New Testament times I think the point is that you don't you don't you don't elevate people with these titles above other Christians their jobs within the body they're not jobs like hierarch heart hierarchy Oly hierarchically you know I'm trying to say hierarchically is that the right word they're not they're not giving a hierarchy of Christians that are above others like here's the here's the clergy here's the lady above and below rather we're all just different members of the body that are equally valuable right and so it's it's fine to be like okay there's a pastor okay there's a worship leader okay there's this there's that there's this there's that but they're all perfectly equal that's important do not call anyone on earth your father for one is your father who is in heaven do not be called leaders for one is your leader that is Christ but the greatest among you shall be your servant whoever exalts himself shall be humbled and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted in the shocking thing is that Jesus really really means it you want to be great well you didn't get a title no you want to be great like be called by men into the Oh Jonah sit here get recognition it's it's actually one of the weird things about doing this online ministry is the amount of recognition I get that I don't deserve that's weird and awkward and and and probably a temptation in my own heart to be honest you know that there's like some sort of hierarchy thing happening there that is not godly that is like people when I do talk to people they're like I just can't believe I get to talk to you right now on the phone and I'm like oh please don't do that yeah just just just a normal guy you know like like actually really look it's not that's not humility in the sense of like aw shucks you're so humble Mike no that's just reality this is like reality you know I stubbed my toe and I spilled my coffee on my books and still like it just a normal anyway I remember our pastor saying one time his wife was our senior pastor pastor gray saying Denise was shopping in the supermarket and a lady from the church saw her there and quirky people sometimes you know let's go to your church that's cool they're welcome we're welcome all but she saw Denise there shopping and said Denise you do your own shopping you know it's just you're just thinking like what was going on in I mean that wasn't Denise's fault she never put up errors to try to create a situation like that that was just a weird thing people do but the point for us is to take seriously Jesus's call don't seek to be elevated above others seek to serve others seek to bless as many people as you can I liked the the pyramid example for Christian leadership so based on the words of Jesus you know leadership is often thought wrongly as the number of people you have under you serving you that makes you a higher leader so you go up the pyramid and the pyramids a lot of people on the bottom less people on the top finally you have hardly anybody at the very top and in a sense all these people work underneath this one guy up on the top and they're serving them that would be that the world's service pyramid right and then Jesus he's like taking the pyramid he's flipping it upside down and he's saying whoever is gonna be serving the most they're the ones I'm talking about right there glorifying God they're walking in humility they're blessing the largest number of people with no concern for their name either either to stay unknown or to be known it's just not a concern right just serving people as much as possible that would be our call so the red flag or the call for us to say am i more about doing things to gain status or am I just truly serving God and others pride even in my service is like leaven in my life that's the idea now there's something common throughout the woes that Jesus gives him Matthew 23 as he warns about these things and it is appearance without substance appearance without substance right you look like leaders but you're not you're not really serving you know you look like you're godly but you're not you're full of dead men's bones you you like to be called rabbi and teacher and all these types of things but you're not really doing that job the way you're supposed to so its appearance without substance and I think that outer religion or outer righteousness with where we have minor obedience but not hearts after God is exactly what the Pharisees were looking like what I mean by minor obedience well Jesus gives an example of the Pharisees they had minor obedience but not a hard after here's the example Matthew 23 27 woe to you scribes and Pharisees hypocrites for you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness so you too outwardly appear righteous to men but inwardly you're full of hypocrisy and lawlessness what was the outward righteousness well Jesus gives examples you tithe you tithe on your mint and cumin you tithe on on your spices you go to your garden and you pluck and you've got like ten leaves of mint and you're like one goes to the Lord now you might mock this but Jesus never mocks them for doing that what he's getting at them with is like here you are you're tithing the tiniest little thing but you're not giving God righteousness from your life you have minor obedience in some little particulars that you've turned into habits in your life but you don't have a heart to just yield it to God just seeking a lord just obeying him going after him that's the leaven that's the fear I've got a few things in my life that I do hey man I'm still doing my my daily devotionals I should be fine right I make sure I go to church I even give financially but I'm not really loving to my family members who irritate me okay okay well hold on that's minor obedience but not obedience in the even bigger areas that's exactly what that is so how do I check myself here well my concern is that we often we bring up the Pharisees we misunderstand Jesus's criticisms of the Pharisees and we use it to criticize people who love God a lot instead of people who are fake actually fake in other words we say see Jesus's rebuke on the Pharisees is telling me that I don't need strict obedience to God right you don't need to do the little tiny little things of obedience God just cares about big-picture stuff and that that's that's kind of like pharisaical it's fair say achill if you're like worried about obeying God and every little thing you worry too much don't worry about that's actually not right and so Luke 11 42 let's let's read this passage I was mentioning it earlier he says woe to you Pharisees for you pay tithe of mint Andrew and every kind of garden herb as I mentioned earlier and yet disregard justice and the love of God but these are these are things you should have done without neglecting the others wait Jesus wanted to do both right he's like yeah the tithing was good especially because they're under the Old Testament law we're not under the Old Testament law I think you need to tie your mint and cumin I'm not saying you're a roux whatever that is like I'm not say you need to do that rather Jesus though is not rebuking them for obeying in the little things he's rebuking them for using the little things to ignore the fact that they were disobeying God in the big things that to me that to me is a big deal so what is what is my check its am i walking in full obedience as opposed to selective obedience that makes me feel like I'm obeying God there's like just a real spiritual checkup for me to ask not to condemn yourself but to have your eyes open to see your life boy are there really obvious areas where I know I'm not in obedience here and it's really big and obvious I should be seeing it but I kind of closed my eyes to it a while ago and I feel better because I'm doing XYZ and those are easier areas to obey for me but I'm ignoring this love and justice right loving God total obedience because God is constantly looking at me this maybe is a little freaky he's constantly looking at me and seeing all my motives and all my actions and all my attitudes in every single tiny detail about what I'm doing I'm amazed by his incredible grace every day I really am but Psalm 51 6 tells us this behold you desire truth in the innermost being and in the hidden part you will make me to know wisdom or in Ezekiel way he says he's gonna write his law in our hearts alright cuz I want your heart to be obedient to me I want you to love me with your heart soul mind and strength love your neighbor as yourself so yeah okay I go to church good that's good you that's part of loving your neighbor right but that's only part it's not the whole thing there's so much more that goes on in our full obedience to God so that's what I think this described in Pharisees is a minor obedience to ignore major disobedience ultimately I think that's the thing we have to watch out for what about the leaven of Herod what could that be now I'm just gonna assume because I could be wrong here but let's assume that it's a different kind of leaven that it's not the same thing as the leaven of the scribes and Pharisees I think it's different also because Herod's like a whole different animal than those guys Hera's not like the Pharisees and scribes he's not like in this minutia obedience to God or something like that right you guys remember Herod this is the guy right who had his stepdaughter danced seductively for him and his his his party guests and then made an obnoxious promise to her that resulted in him decide him having to cut the head off John the Baptist yeah that guy not doesn really sound like a Pharisee to me this is like a whole different kind of he's a worldly and ungodly man that I think might be the connection with Herod if it's a different leaven it's the leaven of having status but being ungodly it could be a warning against ungodly ambition or thinking that we should respect position over godliness this is a constant issue a constant issue we deal with it all the time we have people who are in high positions all the time that are just very ungodly in our culture and I don't mean to feed the part where we're overly critical of people who are like say politicians well as a culture we're cruel to our politicians we really are like overly cruel like mean or just jerks even even when they have legitimate issues we have legitimate issues with them we just freaked out and overreact and we're becoming a bunch of cancerous people I think it's really toxic we're becoming very toxic the online community angry gripe and gossipy stuff about everybody that's really unhealthy for us but but um but there's the flip side which is that when that same person you're complaining about walks in the room you're like oh we just and we just flip over and become or you have some really ungodly celebrity who's just horribly ungodly they're just really famous maybe even for doing horrible things and they walk into a room and everyone's like respect respect respect and I'm just like I I mean I give you I wanna give you respect as human I'm not gonna look look down on you but I cannot respect the things that others are respecting whether they're respecting that you're famous so but we can do this right we can we can / we can just basically were seeing through through the wrong lens we're seeing through the wrong lens Herod was had a party and who was there the leading men of Galilee why cuz he's he's this ungodly leader but he's the leader so they go and they respect him and they come and they I don't know whatever their attitude towards him there's like a sense in which as Christians we should salute proper Authority and give proper respect to proper authority but not transfer that as approval to the ungodly behavior of those authorities and that I feel like is our balance I properly salute whether whatever the president we've had throughout my whole life I've always had reasons to have issues with the president's right but I should properly salute the authority and the role and the rank and acknowledged it and even walk in obedience as much as my obedience to God will allow but to think that their ungodliness is therefore okay is that's that's a danger so what's going on with Herod I think it's it maybe is about conformity to the world conformity to the world he is outwardly wicked he's outwardly worldly there may be a New Testament connection here 1st Corinthians 5:8 talks about leaven in this regard it says let us therefore celebrate the feast not with the old leaven nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth and so the speaks of the leaven of malice and wickedness that Herod was like this he was like a malicious and a wicked individual he was just just ungodly so perhaps the leaven of the pharisees is religion that is not pleasing to God it's a self-righteous religion that covers up for huge areas of disobedience with small areas of obedience perhaps the leaven of Herod is this worldliness creeping into the church where we just become ungodly we're you know what's what's normal ungodliness in the world becomes ungodliness in the Christian life and it's considered not that big of a deal because that's just the way we are in both cases they're both unrighteous but in different ways this is why I think first Timothy 4:16 tells us well tells Timothy Paul writing to Timothy but listen to the order Paul is concerned that Timothy he's a young pastor effectively young leader in the church and he's concerned that he has like good instructions so that he can successfully obey God and bless the church and this is one of the things that he says that Timothy that haunts me he says pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching persevere in these things for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who you hear or who hear you so he's told to pay attention to two things his self and his teaching I think our tendency is to pay attention to the second one right for us a pastor's my teaching why because when I get up and teach you're all watching me but paying attention to myself when no one's even watching me that takes integrity what I do in the dark what I do when no one's around what I do when I'm not around any influences who might be evaluating what I'm saying or doing thinking about it from Christian principles you know well then I'm more ins more likely to be godly if nothing else because of peer pressure but we're to take heed to ourselves and to our ministries or whatever God's called us to do we tend to think about I think sometimes obeying God in our duties but not in our person or character as much so this is just a good reminder for us go back to the character you're gonna find character flaws of course you're not perfect you're not so pay attention to that be aware of that be be laying that back down at the altar of God be growing in some fashion be even if it's even if it's just inch by inch and millimeter by millimeter be growing in the Lord in those areas of your life a lot of issues stem from this kind of stuff I reminded of Ecclesiastes 10:1 I probably don't quote Ecclesiastes enough please yes these 10:1 which says dead flies it's always good to start a verse the phrase dead flies dead flies make a perfumers oil stink so a little foolishness is weightier than wisdom and honor I find the poetry of that really compelling actually personally um so you may have this beautifully smelling perfume but there's like some sort of dead bug in it and so it becomes rancid it's it you open it in it smells this otherwise wonderful pleasant thing was totally ruined by this one bad element and so he relates to our lives so a little foolishness is weightier than wisdom and honor maybe you're known for wisdom and honor maybe you try to walk in wisdom and honor yet there's these areas of foolishness that have just been allowed to fester in your life the scary thing is we reap what we sow I I'm worried about that and we ought to be I think the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom that foolishness that we allow to carry through our lives that little leaven can undo so much good and so much service to God in your life so he says to Timothy take heed to yourself answer your teacher but take heed to yourself watch yourself be careful with yourself because our ministry our service to God it flows from us like we're the vessel through which this ministry happens and so the vessel must be clean it's got to be clean now I mean if I have to constantly be cleansed I have to constantly come back to the Lord and give him my dead flies so to speak I would get this out of me please before it becomes worse before it causes bigger problems and bigger issues in my life but it's that constant place of humility and growing and openness and real introspection looking at the honest issues of my life trusting in the grace of God to meet me right there so that it's conviction but not condemnation you know but let me read to this passage this is 2nd Timothy chapter 2 verses 19 through 26 this is about vessels the term vessels in this passage is referring to not just your physical body but but you as a person you're you're the vessel God's filling and using for purposes right so it says nevertheless second Timothy 2:19 nevertheless the firm foundation of God stands having this seal the Lord knows those who are his and everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels but also vessels of wood and earthenware some to honor and some to dishonor now to their culture they would have understood this well the earthenware vessels were like you might have put unclean things in there that you just throw the vessel away when you were done with it but if you had like a gold vessel or something you would only use that for special things right so you had vessels furred like icky stuff in vessels for really nice stuff that's the idea verse 21 therefore if anyone cleanses himself from these things he will be a vessel for honor sanctified useful to the master prepared for every good work now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness faith love and peace with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart but refuse foolish and ignorant speculations knowing that they produce quarrels the Lord's bondservant must not be quarrelsome but be kind to all able to teach patient when wronged with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth and that they may come to their senses and escape this from the snare of the devil having been held captive by him to do his will the bottom line I just want to say is this I'm not gonna teach verse by verse through the whole passage that's more like absorb it here's the idea I want to present to God a vessel I don't just want to do stuff for him that maybe is the difference one of the differences between the Pharisee and the non Pharisee in this analogy Lord I want to be a vessel for your glory i underst want to do stuff for you that's a different perspective this is relational lord I want to be a vessel okay let's let's go on here the universe 18 mark back to mark 8 Jesus says to them do you not remember do you not remember when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand how many baskets full of broken pieces you picked up they said to him twelve when I broke the seven for the four thousand how many large baskets full of broken pieces did you pick up and they said seven and he was saying to them do you not yet understand you know the the discussion they just had you could like feel the tension in the moment where he's like do you not yet understand and they're all just looking at him and he's looking at them you know you ever been you ever had that teacher he just does that he's like you get it and you're like I want to get it you know it's a drug-eluting I'm trying and I think it was something they probably understood over time but let's just note this why did they miss the point because they were thinking about daily practical needs and Jesus was talking about spiritual truths that's why they missed the point and this might be why we're missing some of the points in our lives right well I'm just thinking about today in the things I have to do today get my schedule done I got to get to work I got to go here I got to go home time to do some dishes cuz I can't eat off anything anymore and you've at least various things you have to do but we're not thinking about the spiritual things there may be a lesson there is that we should be thinking more quickly about the spiritual things are going on than we do now here's a side note after all that some people think that I'm working too hard to look for deep meaning in the Bible just read it man just study and for hours and hours and you come and try to bring all this stuff and just read it them now there is great value in just reading the scriptures immeasurable value or even just listening to them I love the fact that we Bible apps now that like read the Bible to you like a hundred years ago like you would have had to like hire somebody to do this for you like like it just reads the Bible to me I think this is amazing and we should try to take advantage of it it's a blessing but statements like this sometimes show us show us something when Jesus says to them do you not yet understand what's he doing he's the if you read you know his him his implication what he's saying is there's more to my words than what a casual reading is gonna give you you have to think about it you have to study it you have to ponder it do you not yet get it think about not just what I said but think about the context remember I fed the loaves think about how that applies think about everything else I said about the scribes and Pharisees now I'm giving it to you watch out for their 11:00 and and so we're having to ponder this through and think it through the Bible my point is the Bible is meant to be studied and and Mark along with the other writers intend for us to dig deep to puzzle it out what does Jesus mean who is Jesus it's important for for people who miss mark they read mark into like well where's the deity of Christ and mark and all like well did you read it or did you study it right you study it you get the deity of Jesus in lots of places you just casually read through it without pondering I don't know what you'll get you may or may not notice those things this is the way that the book of Hebrews treats the Old Testament it's like mining the Old Testament for these incredible gems of Christian truth we get that in the book of Hebrews it's how Paul decides he's gonna prove that we're saved by grace alone through faith alone he's gonna do this by showing us Abraham wasn't Abraham righteous by faith apart from works and he goes to Genesis think about this he goes to Genesis to prove the gospel of Jesus it's meant to be thought about it's meant to be studied it's meant to be pondered the Bible's meant to be studied not just read because it's genius because it was inspired by the ultimate genius the brilliance of scripture which is I think a parent to anyone who studies it in depth is either due to the brilliance of a whole bunch of different authors working together and think about how complicated that is or it's due to the brilliance of one inspiring God who has given us his word to ponder and to think about to meditate on as the scripture says but context is key context is key and I'll mention really quick we'll do a slight applause of a quick apologetic moment for tonight's study and here it is um it's one thing to say you have to really puzzle out what Jesus is saying it's a riddle to be discovered it's you could say that but you could easily go way off the rails right like you could then invent all kinds of crazy stuff and but my answer here is based on context the context of the feeding the context of Jesus's words the disciples the context of what he says about scribes and Pharisees the context of Levin's use in Scripture it's all context giving us meaning it's not coming from just me but there are those who go out of the Bible it's not about the context of the Bible it's about the context of other things so I read this week about some scholars who think that the book of Mark is giving us ancient or early Gnosticism in the life of Jesus and they believe here that Peter in the in the Gospel of Mark Peter is the messenger of a different God inferior to the father called the dim I urge this is Gnosticism they believe that there's like this this this one ultimate God that is so far away from you could never contact him and then there's these imitations of these other gods that come out from that God finally you get to one that's really far from him it's it's called the dim I urge and that's the one that actually created the earth that we're living on right and he's he's kind of like not that great of a guy of a God and you're and this is not this is not Judaism this isn't Christianity this isn't this is weird Gnosticism and so what some people do instead of taking the Bible in its actual context is they find some weird context from the first entry that doesn't apply to the Bible actually this Gnosticism is like I don't know if you even find it the first century it's really second century stuff and then they just try and slam it onto the scriptures but these are scholars who do this some scholars it's a minority but stars they're actually they could be like I have credentials look at my PhD and I just think you're rescued from this because you're actually studying the ancient book yourself it was a big turn in scholarship recently when they realized shockingly that the New Testament is Jewish not Gnostic right it's not a Greek it might be written in Greek but it's not a work of Greek thinking it's Jewish and that context sets everything I mean you open Matthew and you're reading a genealogy a Jewish genealogy it was quoting the Old Testament Scriptures all the way through you read mark and you have these subtle allusions to all varieties of passages throughout the Old Testament this is not a Gnostic work it's a Jewish book about a Jewish Messiah there's no Gnosticism there so yes we want context we want to study the scripture but we're gonna make sure that the context comes from the scripture and not go crazy with it okay we're gonna look at this miracle quickly that happens after this incident with the warning about the leaven because it relates mark 8 verse 22 it says and they came to Bethsaida and they brought a blind man to Jesus and implored him to touch him taking the blind man by the hand he brought him out of the village that's interesting huh and after spitting on his eyes and laying his hands on him he asked him do you see anything and he looked up and said I see men for I see them like trees walking around the knee again laid his hands on his eyes and he looked intently and was restored and began to see everything clearly and he sent him to his home saying do not enter the village so there's a bunch of really interesting elements that are here but one of the things that I puzzle on is why here why is this blind man being you know happening here in the middle of this section and Mark that doesn't seem to be about these kinds of miracles like earlier he's already established Jesus performing miracles well notice verse 23 he takes the blind man by the hand and he brings him out of the village out of Bethsaida brings him out he's not gonna heal him there in the village this is not normal for the work of Jesus he does happen occasionally but it's not like the normal thing come follow me let's leave these these crowds it has happened but boy this scene it seems to be even more extreme he's leaving a whole village area so this may have been to get away from those who were asking for signs in sincerely which is what we just dealt with last week people in sincerely show us a sign but they don't really mean it and so he's like I'm not gonna give him the time of day and he takes him outside the lesson is they get what they want this is actually reinforced by verse 26 because in verse 26 after he heals him he tells the guy don't go back into the village just go to your home he apparently didn't live in Bethsaida so he says just go home Bethsaida had plenty of miracles already Bethsaida had plenty of miracles already which is why he tells him what would you Bethsaida right because if the miracles that have been done in you were done in sodom and gomorrah they would have repented by now so this is this is I think judgment upon them so now it's on them and I think the lesson here is perhaps that before we ask for more evidence we should stop and ask what evidence we've already received is something that little kids do really poorly right I didn't know what to do why did I tell you to do well you told me you told me to do this did you do that no I didn't do that but you didn't tell me anything after that well you should have just done what I told you to do when I told you to do it without making me tell you to do it again this is like the you know the battle that you have with kids I think that this is the battle cod house with us he's like I already showed you but show me again why I don't know I just don't really want to think about but you already showed me I just went more I want more on something else and that I don't wanna be flippant about it but there are at least some people that are in that scenario okay not everybody is but some people are in that exact scenario and to them I think you need to stop and you go back and look at what God's already revealed to you so this healing though is pretty interesting um let me dispel a misconception on it some people said well Jesus he couldn't heal the man completely like he tried he healed me Gandhi sees trees walking around or even worse some people think he saw trees like he opens his eyes he sees trees like ants you know the answer marching broom you know if they're going around doing their thing no really what we're seeing is the man's vision is fuzzy and whether he was born blind or not I don't know but what he sees is he sees these fuzzy images and he sees them moving around it so he keeps he describes what he sees I see men it's it they're like trees like these nondescript big objects walking around that's what he says about the people so he had partial vision he didn't think that men were trees also Jesus had already healed a blind man using saliva and we talked about that in detail so I'm not gonna get into it so the question here is why is this one here why is this healing miracle here what's the message because mark has a message in the healings right what's the message in this one now I know that a repeated miracle can have additional teaching to it when he he cast out Jesus cast out demons in a Jewish context and he cast out demons in a Gentile context Jesus feeds the 5000 their Jewish context he feeds of the 4000 in a Gentile context so repeat a miracle but with different meaning so one had like a mosaic connection the other one had more of a messianic savior of the world connection but the context of this miracle is different and here's where I think we get maybe some subtle meaning that is in the text here that do just wants us to have which is this he just rebuked the disciples because they were not seeing he goes having eyes do you not see right that's what he says to them after he says watch out for the leaven he's like you still don't get it you still can't see you still can't see he just rebuked them verse 17 do you not see or yet understand so I think that the healing of the blind man has some parallels in what Jesus is doing with the disciples he's opening their eyes to understand who the Messiah really is and what he's really gonna do here's some of the parallels it's gradual the man was not healed right away there's the most striking thing about the guy right he was healed gradually well the disciples having total misconceptions of who the Messiah was going to be they see Jesus he's the Messiah but they don't really understand what he's about even during his ministry they just still don't get it he's slowly opening their eyes to understand better what his real mission is that it involves his death in his resurrection and guess what he's about to announce for the first time his death and resurrection so they're like the blind man who their eyes have been open but they see Jesus like a tree walking around you know like I see him that I don't really get what I'm looking at so I think there's a parallel here to their understanding of Christ it will become fully you know they'll see him clearly after his death and resurrection they'll fully get it so it's the gradual nature you know someone say well Jesus well he was just failing Jesus raised the dead right he raised the dead like he's not failing it's not like oh man I raised the dead I healed people from a distance with a word but you know this guy I just really couldn't handle it it was just too challenging I think I think Jesus is fully in control of exactly how long this healing takes place it's meant to teach us stuff and so we see this gradual healing and a parallel with the disciples gradually understanding the Messiah right after this healing Jesus then announces his death and resurrection they still don't get it right Peter's gonna be like no no no because he still doesn't get it he sees it but he doesn't get it I think there's a parallel there he announces it multiple times but they still don't get it until afterwards it's like they're gradually gaining understanding of who the Messiah is so they only see Jesus halfway I think is the point and I think to abruptly come to a stop because this is the end of my notes the the point is maybe application for us is while you see the truth of Christ and the truth of Christianity there may yet be lots of things you don't fully understand there may be plenty of stuff about God and his love about Jesus whether it's about theology or just about how to take the heart of Christ to put it into your life there may be plenty of things like that that you still just really haven't wrapped your head around me too and it's okay to be like okay maybe maybe I'm like that maybe you I get it better than the disciples did at this point but maybe there's still plenty I'm still learning about Christ plenty I'm still learning about the spiritual truths like watching out for the leaven of the scribes and Pharisees and how to put that in my life giving making my life into the vessel that would be used for God's glory then I'm still sort of just trying to wrap my head around still trying to learn still trying to grow in so I think the lesson for us is probably what it helped the disciples here's where they would have just said okay we only halfway get what you're talking about Jesus so we're gonna pay really careful attention and we're gonna be very reflective and we're gonna try and grow and try and learn and try be humble and try and be good disciples and I think that might be the application for us today be fully offered good disciples who are humble who don't think they know everything but they hold on to what they know and they keep seeking for a better vision of Christ let's pray Lord that is our prayer give us better vision of you God where we don't get it where perhaps we've had anger malice bitterness pride be part of our lives show us please God where we have had a bad theology incorrect beliefs mixed in with our correct beliefs about Christ show us that lord please where we've just thought of more about the appearance of godliness than actual godliness show us that Lord where we've adopted worldliness in any fashion show us that Lord open our eyes more and more Jesus we pray we ask that you would be glorified in us that we'd be vessels that are living for you Lord for your pleasure and for your glory because you are worthy God you are worthy of all that we are and all that we can do may your name be exalted in our lives and may our lives be reflective of the true work of your holy spirit Lord that we would be not only outwardly with the appearance of godliness or anything like that but rather we would just flow godliness would flow from our hearts and our lives with love towards you and love and service towards our fellow man we pray in Jesus name Amen

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