Jesus’ Teaching on Yeast
Jesus’ teaching on yeast reminds me of my childhood. When I was a kid, my father made homemade bread. I remember quite vividly the old conversion van playing a part in his bread-making process. He would form the dough, transfer it to bread pans and carry them all outside to the conversion van.
Inside the van, on the table, he would place all the bread pans in a row and cover them with a cloth. Several hours later, he would return to the van to find that all the loaves of bread had risen. Then he would carry them back into the house and bake them.
Within an hour, the house smelled delicious, and it was a real treat to get a warm piece of bread with a layer of peanut butter spread upon it.
My father used to tell me about the yeast and what it did inside the van to help the bread rise. Back then, you didn’t have bread machines, so making bread by hand was the way, and my dad was a great bread baker.
I share this story because it reminds me of the story in Matthew 16:5-12. The disciples had gone across the lake and forgot to take bread. Jesus says to them in verse 6, “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees. “
Of course, you can well imagine the disciples are perplexed, and they are like “what?” “Why is he talking about yeast and those people for?” They discussed it among themselves. How do I know they did this? It says so in verse 7, “They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.”
Jesus knows all
It goes on to say in verse 8, “Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves and five thousand, and how many basketfuls gathered? How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
My father put a little yeast into the bread 40 years ago to make it rise. It only took a little. It’s the same with evil. It only takes a little sin to affect a large group of people.
We must be careful when asking, “How can a little wrong possibly affect anyone? Jesus’ teaching on yeast should help all of us and serve as a reminder of what we allow into our lives because, as we said, a little can go a long way.
Father, thank you for your word today. It is a good reminder for all of us. We tend to sweep the little things under the rug and go on, believing they won’t hurt anyone. But as a little yeast affects the whole loaf, so can a little sin affect the whole person and all those around them. Help us to open our eyes to those little things and help us to remove them. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.