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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood



The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. “Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.” They discussed this with one another and said, “It is because we have no bread.” (Mark 8:14-16, NIV)

Jesus had just fed a crowd of 4,000 men even though the total resources at the beginning were seven loaves and a few small fish (8:6,7). At the conclusion, the disciples pick up seven basketfuls of the broken pieces.

Fast forward a few hours and the disciples are all worried again about food. They had forgotten to bring the leftovers and were down to one loaf for the Twelve plus Jesus. So, they are worried!

Isn’t that just like us! We too forget things. Did you ever lay down your cell phone, leave the house, and then have to double back to pick it up? That’s the disciples, except they’re already on the other side of the lake, and it’s too late to go back and get the plentiful leftovers. So they’re down to one loaf and worried about where their next meal is coming from. They had seen the Lord twice feed huge crowds with a handful of resources, and they’re already tensed up about their next meal! That too is like us! No matter what the Lord has done for us in the past, the present need worries us.

Not only that, but I suspect the disciples played the blame game with one another. Someone failed in his responsibility to bring the basketfuls of bread on board the boat. You can almost see them pointing fingers at one another.

The disciples focus on the temporal and physical. Jesus draws them to the spiritual and eternal. They’re concerned about bread. He’s concerned about yeast.

Recognizing they are distraught, Jesus seizes their moment of consternation to teach them. He transforms their discussion about bread into a lesson on yeast in order to anchor an important truth into the warp and woof of daily life.

Yeast transforms dough. “Watch what yeast you’re putting into your life,” Jesus says. The yeast of the Pharisees is rigid adherence to external rules without inward transformation of character. The yeast of the Herodians is the pursuit of power and privilege regardless of moral and spiritual responsibilities or conformity to God’s desires.

The Pharisees live legalistically; the Herodians live hedonistically. Jesus says, “Stay away from either lifestyle. Don’t let that yeast get into you!”

The disciples clearly are slow learners. They don’t get His point. Their minds are not fast enough to keep up with Jesus. This shows us that Jesus is not working with world-class intellectual students. But denseness is not a quality belonging to them alone.

How often do we not get the point as we read the Bible or apply God’s Word to our daily lives? We too can make the same mistake of focusing on the temporal and the external rather than the spiritual and the eternal.

There are all kinds of yeast lying around waiting to invade your life. Identify them so that they don’t corrupt you!

A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, what are You telling me today that I’m misreading? Am I too focused on what I am doing and not what You are thinking? Am I too busy trying to do my agenda and paying little attention to Yours? Help me, Lord, to hear You clearly so that I don’t mumble along purposelessly in life.

GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

On Your Mark

Previous Years

2013 On Your Mark

2012 On Your Mark

2011 On Your Mark

2010 On Your Mark

2009 On Your Mark

2008 On Your Mark

Podcasts of On Your Mark are available in video and audio.
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