Now that some groundwork on leaven has been established, let’s get a little more uncomfortable, shall we?
1In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
2For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.
3Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops. (Luke 12:1-3, King James Version)
Here we see the warning to “beware” of the leaven of hypocrisy. The Pharisees created rules especially designed to make them appear righteous, when they were not. Jesus called them on this on numerous occasions.
6Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
7And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread.
8Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?
9Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?
10Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?
11How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?
12Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. (Matthew 16:6-12, King James Version)
Here, we see Jesus warning against the leaven of false doctrine. The Pharisees and Sadducees taught different ideas, but both were in error in comparison to the Scriptures.
We will look at these two types of leaven later in the week. First, though, whose leaven was it? It was the Pharisees and Sadducees, right?
So, let me ask you a question: If it was their leaven, why did Jesus warn His disciples to “beware”?
This is what I mean by saying we sometimes engage in shallow thinking. Every year, we look at leaven, we look at sin, we equate the two, and too often we just quickly move on. Part of the examination should include the questions: “Where does the idea that sin = leaven come from? Why?”
Hopefully, you read yesterday’s post about it, and you will realize that yeast and baking powder use biological and chemical processes to break down materials in order to create carbon dioxide. Since yeast is biological, we call the process fermentation. It eats sugar. It destroys sugar and turns it into something else. In a sense, it corrupts the sugar. Likewise, with baking powder, something must be broken down (i.e., is “corrupted”) in order to produce carbon dioxide.
What I’ve read about the history of yeast, it appears that beer may have been discovered before bread. Now, obviously, this is just their educated guess based upon whatever evidence they find, but it does point something out. The discovery of leaven might have been due to accidently leaving the wheat in the vicinity of brewing beer or even by adding beer to the dough for flavor.
No, I’m not suggesting you get rid of your beer (or your brewer’s yeast, for that matter) during the DUB. However, it is the spread of the yeast from one substance to another unrelated substance that is what I’m trying to highlight here.
Corruption spreads like a disease. If your neighbor has a cold and gives it to you, then whose cold is it?
If you begin to take on hypocrisy and false doctrine, then whose leaven is it?
Jesus was warning His disciples – that is, us – to not become corrupted with the false doctrine and hypocrisy of the Pharisees and Sadducees. We must not become contaminated with the same type of leaven! So, it would behoove us to look at the NT Scriptures to see what was so bad about what they were doing in order to avoid it.
Yes, leavening equals sin. Both corrupt. One is a physical corruption, while the other is a spiritual corruption. False doctrine and hypocrisy are not only a type of sin, but both lead to even greater sins.
I hope to examine both of these this week, but I hope to end with one specific example that really bears both out – but only if you have really thought about it. It is an example that is often twisted by modern religion to mean something that it does not, even though their interpretation often contradicts the story itself. Oddly enough, that in itself is a form of Phariseeism.