Today’s Readings: Ezra 5 & Matthew 16:1-12
I’m not one to do much baking. Cooking yes, but not baking so the function of yeast is not something I’m really up on, apart from knowing it helps to make the bread rise. As Jesus speaks to His disciples about ‘being on their guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees’, I can certainly appreciate the confusion they might have felt. Matthew 16:6
My own conclusion about this conversation is that Jesus not leaving them in the dark about His comment and explaining His use of such language is very significant not just for the moment, but as an analogy for them to possibly reflect back on into the not too distant future.
A quick check of the purpose of yeast in bread provided what I found to be a helpful description.
‘When yeast ‘digests’ the flour, it breaks these compounds down into simpler molecules which have more flavour to the human tongue. The longer the yeast has to work at this, the better the flavour of the bread.’
What a great lesson to embrace, not just with scripture and the teachings we hold firm too, but also for being reminded about other information, experiences or conversations – subtle as they may be – we should be on our ‘guard’ about putting into our life.
If the ‘yeast’ I allow to permeate my mind and body has a direct outcome on the ‘flavour’ others experience, and if my purpose is to bring glory to God in all things, then surely there is much to guard against?
‘When a person’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him.’ Proverbs 16:7
‘May the God of peace …. equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and ever and ever.’ Hebrews 13:22-21
Luke also records the words of Jesus as he describes the yeast to guard against.
‘Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.’ Luke 12.1b
There are many voices that compete for our attention. How easy it is to be distracted by options and opinions, particularly when they stroke our ego and support our own personal thoughts and feelings. Yes, each of us will have different passions and priorities, but it’s the core of our faith where there is unity.
Might the words of Paul, written to the Corinthians be words of encouragement and a prayer that’s all about making sure the ‘yeast’ we allow to impact our life, be ever pleasing to our Heavenly Father.
‘Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men and women of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.’ 1 Corinthians 16:13