Mark Has Some Good News, Part 32, Warnings
The Pharisees Demand a Sign
11 The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. 12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, "Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation." 13 And he left them, got into the boat again, and went to the other side.
The Leaven of the Pharisees and Herod
14 Now they had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. 15 And he cautioned them, saying, "Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod." 16 And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. 17 And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, "Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?" They said to him, "Twelve." 20 "And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?" And they said to him, "Seven." 21 And he said to them, "Do you not yet understand?"
That's a warning.
Jesus was warning the disciples of something, alerting them to the leaven or yeast of the Pharisees. His obvious use of allegory here suggests to me that both Herod and the Pharisees were spreading something. Like yeast is spread through a batch of dough, they were spreading something through their influence and living
Having worked at a pizza place before I know the fun, use, and tragedy that yeast can cause through its influence on other ingredients. Yeast is one of the simplest forms of life. It exists eats and multiplies, and that's it. And as long as it has food the yeast will grow and grow and not stop until you stop it by freezing or heating. This is the parallel Jesus uses between the Pharisees and Herod and as always I'm going to ask why?
Because they were starting to spread to where their influence and control were sinful. The yeast was making the dough too thin and unusable. To full of themselves their yeast was being good, looking good, acting good, which isn't a bad thing right?
Morality means we're trying to be good and good is good right? Well Jesus gives us a warning in lieu of good.
Warnings only happen when bad things "might" happen to you if you’re not careful. You get warned that no helmet at a skate park is dangerous to your head. That fast food every day is dangerous to your heart. And Jesus warns us here that good works and showmanship can be dangerous to your soul. Jesus was the reason the crowds ate and ate with satisfaction that there was too much food to eat, enough for leftovers! Yet the Pharisees would ignore that miracle and ask for a specific sign from heaven for their purposes.
Jesus did not give them their sign because instead of trusting in His providence they wanted to trust in their righteousness. This yeast wanted to be the main attraction at the pizza place. They didn't care about the flour, salt, sauce, baker, customers nothing. They were the only thing that mattered in their world. And like a good baker Jesus stops the yeasts growth and ends it once and for all. By not giving them a sign.
This shows us something about Jesus' character that he is made of stern stuff as it were. That if you’re going to try to take his place as the righteousness of man, you get ignored and refused. Jesus will ignore you if your intentions are selfish.