March 06, 2006

A Dangerous Poison

Mark 8:11-21

"Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod." Mark 8:15


The disciples were worried. As they traveled by boat, they discovered they didn't have enough bread.

Jesus overheard what they were talking about and said something that sounds strange to us: "Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod."

This sounded strange to the disciples too. It started quite a discussion among them because they didn't understand it.

Jesus went on to explain that their worry was directly connected to the unbelief of the Pharisees and Herod--the religious leaders and the local king who refused to accept that Jesus was the Son of God. Twice the disciples had watched Jesus take a little bread and feed huge crowds. And yet they were anxious when they didn't seem to have enough to eat. They knew who Jesus was, and yet they were still worrying about their everyday needs. In that sense, said Jesus, "the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod"--the poison of unbelief--was flowing through their veins.

Worry can be a form of unbelief--and there's still plenty of that poison around today. If Jesus is Lord, why are we so anxious about the details of our lives? Why do we worry so much about our finances or relationships? Why are we so concerned about the future?

Jesus offers the antidote to our anxieties: himself.

Lord Jesus, help us bring our worries and anxieties to you today. Help us see and believe that nothing in heaven and on earth can separate us from your love. In your name, Amen.

About the author — Kevin DeRaaf

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