Today we look at Mark 8:14-21:
The Yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod
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?”
What do you see? Friday in Mark we talked about seeing miracles everywhere when we believe. Today, we see Jesus talk about something very similar. Today He’s talking about sight. But it’s not necessarily the sight of miracles. It’s the deeper truth that can be found.
And I think today this is especially true with scripture. I subscribe what Wesley called a simple reading of scripture. You need to understand context, you need to understand the bigger picture with scripture, but for most of scripture, it simply means what it says.
But, there are times, lots of times, many times, where there is a deeper truth right there in plain sight. Sometimes there is something right in front of us that we may or may not be able to see. Look at today’s text. The Disciples are talking about bread and Jesus basically says, guys, you are missing the point.
Do you not see the deeper meaning and deeper truth here. He recalls the feeding of the 5000 and the 4000. And then He asks how many baskets were left over. For the 5000, there were 12. For the 4000 there were 7. And then He says, do you not understand?
What should they have understood? What may we be missing?
Twelve and seven are very important numbers in scripture. Twelve in particular is important in two main places. There are 12 tribes of Israel (the 12 sons of Jacob). And there are 12 Apostles. The Old Covenant and the New Covenant. So this number is seen many times in scripture (a lot in Revelation) to mean everyone or a completeness. This number is many ways a number that is almost a code word for “all.”
Everyone that would have seen Him feed 5000 and then see 12 baskets left over would have understood that 12 was a big deal. He has come, preaching to the Jews first, so that they would complete their calling from Genesis 12 to be a light to the world. As God’s people, their mission would be the point others to who God is and be that light. This 12 means that the
The 5000, that crowd was mostly like all Jewish. The fact that Jesus recovered 12 baskets meant that God would call from His people a group that would finish the calling of Abraham. And that is what happened. How many Jewish disciples did Jesus have?
And where did they go? Everywhere.
And that brings us to the seven. Seven is another important number in scripture, and is often seen is as the “perfect” number. Think the seven days of creation. So it’s a word that associated with that creation account. The 4000, that crowd would have mostly included Gentiles within it. So on a day when a crowd including Gentiles in it was feed, there were seven baskets left. The number of creation. A creation that was made God. A creation that Jesus was coming to redeem.
In other words, Jesus didn’t just come to feed this crowd, He came to save them, and all (Jew or Gentile) that would believe.
That’s why He says, do you not get it? Do you not see the bigger truth?
This is why it’s so important to read the Bible together. Because together we can see the bigger truths that we may miss, just looking at the text. There are deeper truths that Bible study and shared conversation can teach us.
That’s one of the many, many reasons we need each other and need the church!
Tomorrow we’ll look at Mark 8:22-26.
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