Do You Not Yet Understand?

Thelma Sunberg's "Nazarene Buns" -- yeast rolls, a family tradition for the holidays. 


Mark 8:14   Now the disciples had forgotten to bring any bread; and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. 15 And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out—beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.” 16 They said to one another, “It is because we have no bread.” 17 And becoming aware of it, Jesus said to them, “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Do you have eyes, and fail to see? Do you have ears, and fail to 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 collect?” They said to him, “Twelve.” 20 “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?” And they said to him, “Seven.” 21 Then he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?”


The Pharisees had just asked Jesus for a sign from heaven so that they would accept his authority. Now, Jesus is out on the boat with his disciples and he begins to talk to them about the yeast of the Pharisees and Herod. Suddenly they are talking about bread again. In many ways this parallels the lack of understanding of the Pharisees, which is the yeast that can so easily infuse the lives of the disciples. 

Were the disciples looking for a sign? Did Jesus need to produce more bread for them to believe that he loved and cared for them?  Jesus reiterates what he has done for them, reminding them about what they have seen and experienced. The twelve baskets full of broken pieces was a reminder that God would provide what was needed for each and every disciple. The seven baskets full of broken pieces were a reminder of the perfection of completion to be found in Christ. 

In another moment of exasperation Jesus asks, “Do you not yet understand?”


It’s so easy to point our fingers at the Pharisees and their lack of faith. This scene brings home the question of faith. Over and over again the Lord has revealed his faithfulness to his disciples and yet, even those closest to him seem to fail to understand. The disciples have heard the challenges and the doubts from the religious leaders and they, too, are left wondering. 

There is so much noise in this world that is begging for our attention. The ability to use digital and social media has created a cacophony of sound that can, at times, make it difficult to hear and discern the voice of the Lord. This is the yeast of the Pharisees. Anything that distracts our attention from knowing Jesus Christ, his power, and his authority will be yeast in our lives. The result will be perceiving, but not understanding. Our hearts will be hardened to the needs of others. We will have eyes but we will fail to see the truth. We will have ears but we won’t be listening. Our memories will fade away and we won’t remember the things that Jesus has done for us. 

Let’s move away from the yeast and live in faith. We recall what Christ has done in the past and then remember that Jesus is still with us reminding us, “I’ve got this!” 


Lord, open my eyes to hear, my eyes to see, my heart to love, and my mind to your wisdom. Amen. 


Popular posts from this blog

The Advantage of Sanctification

Take Off Your Ornaments

When Jesus Fails to Meet our Expectations