Hmmm…yeast rolls and biscuits. Yes, those are mouth-watering words. I remember growing up as a kid on the farm, where I awoke every morning to what we called “cat head” biscuits and gravy. Man, momma could make those biscuits! The only thing better was during harvest time she and my grandmother would make yeast rolls for the workers every single day. Shoot, men would come to help just to get to sit down and eat those melt in your mouth, pieces of heaven on earth! I can still remember the sweet aroma of those rolls baking in the oven, with plenty of sweet butter covering them!
One of the key ingredients to making nice fluffy rolls and biscuits is of course, yeast. The truth is, yeast is a fungus that causes a reaction which spreads throughout the entire lump of dough. Every baker knows it takes just a little bit of yeast to make it “rise”.
Jesus used leaven (yeast) as a negative illustration with the disciples when he said:
Mark 8:15 (NASB95)
15 And He was giving orders to them, saying, “Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”
Jesus was emphatic in this statement. It was something that greatly concerned Him in relationship to His disciples. He did not want the leaven of the world system or the legalist of His day to have an affect upon their thinking and ministry. He did not want a little leaven to begin to takeover how they viewed God, life, themselves, ministry and other people.
What is the leaven of Herod? It’s taking on a worldly mindset even as a believer. It’s accepting the message of “tolerance” for sin. It’s an atheistic mentality that determines to do things in our own fleshly way without considering the ways of God, nor the leadership of the Holy Spirit. It’s considering what appears to be wisdom in man’s eyes and ignoring what is true wisdom, which comes from above. If you become uncomfortable with the idea of legislating morality…the leaven of Herod has entered your thinking.
What is the leaven of the Pharisees? It’s the opposite of the mentality of the leaven of Herod. It’s graceless religious practice. It’s holding onto a man-made tradition or rule of practice that has nothing to do with God’s revealed truth. It has a form and appearance of godliness, but denies its life and power. Pharisees are more concerned with the “look” and “religious practice” than they are the life Jesus came to bring. Legalist look down their self-righteous noses at those who are not as “good-looking” or as “honorable” as they deem themselves.
Jesus called Herod a fox and the Pharisees whitewashed tombs that were making others twice the sons of hell that they were. It’s no wonder Jesus said to be ware of the leaven these two groups represented! Both had a major hand in crucifying the Lord of glory.
You never know what type of leaven is in you or other people until the heat gets turned up.
Bakers know the secret. Sometimes yeast is slow to work throughout the dough. The solution? Set the dough on top of a warm oven, beside a fireplace, or in the sun. The added heat activates the yeast and the result is a “rise” in the dough.
What kind of “rise” comes up in you when confronted with real life situations?