In her early married years, my sister Susan and her husband arrived as I removed two hot, crusty loaves of bread from the oven. They had never heard of the easy French bread made in a one-quart casserole dish. Today I smile as I remember how they stood at my stove top, cutting thick slices of fresh bread while devouring an entire loaf! Yes, yeast used to make homemade bread is good, but there is another kind of yeast that is not good.
After miraculously feeding a hungry crowd of four thousand with four loaves of bread and a few small fish, Jesus boarded a boat with his disciples. As they crossed the lake, he cautioned them, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod” (Mark 8:15, New Living Translation).
Are you wondering, “What was he talking about?” as I did? You’re not alone. Jesus’ disciples also wondered the same thing. But as time went on, they came to understand.
In the Bible, yeast was often used to indicate evil. Galatians 3:9 tells why: “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough” (New International Version). Like yeast, it only takes a small amount of evil to infect a good person or group of people, and eventually overtake the entire person or group.
In Jewish homes, preparation for Passover includes getting rid of every bit of yeast. In Bible times, people used candles to search out even the tiniest crumb of bread made with yeast. Now that’s dedication to God’s instruction through Moses!
This may not be our instruction or custom, but I think it’s a good example to follow in another way. What if we searched our hearts and lives for every crumb of what God calls wrong thinking and wrong doing so that we could pray for His help to rid our lives of it? What would our lives–and our world–be like?
Focus: “Let us … grow strong in the Christian life, leaving entirely behind us the cancerous old life with all its hatreds and wickedness. Let us feast instead upon the pure bread of honor and sincerity and truth” ~ 1 Corinthians 5:8, New International Version.
(This blog post adapted from an April 2000 piece published by Together in Faith in my ten-year column, Love With Shoes On.)