I was reading Mark 8 a few months back and was led to zooming in to the story of what happened after that much-cited narrative of Jesus’ ability to provide.
We love the story of the feeding of the five thousand because it is an all-time reminder that Jesus is well aware of our needs and that when He gives, He satisfies (Mark 8:8). I don’t know about you but reading this passage revolutionizes my faith every time.
And then I read on.
The disciples were now on a boat with Jesus and were on their way to cross to the other side of the lake.
14 The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them on the boat.
I think about how they picked up seven basketfuls of left-overs several verses earlier and wonder why they hadn’t thought of bringing some with them. Perhaps they were too full to think of their next meal. Then again, we tend to be like that – we forget when we are in plenty. Or I can just say we forget, period.
15 “Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”
So, Jesus, being the mind-reader (and hearts too) that He is, knew very well that the disciples just realized they actually do not have enough food in store. And apparently, they didn’t understand what Jesus just said.
16 They discussed this with one another and said, “It is because we have no bread.”
I’d confess, I had to regress a few times to get what He meant and found:
11 The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test Him, they asked Him for a sign from heaven.
The Pharisees, despite all the miracles that Jesus has already performed, were still full of doubt and unbelief.
This is the yeast that Jesus was warning us about. Jesus knew we would often be tempted to succumb to our worries and fears. And even when we do not speak of it, He hears our thoughts and is well aware of the dialogue of our hearts.
17 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how may basketful of pieces did you pick up?
“Twelve,” they replied.
20 “And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”
They answered, “Seven.”
21 He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”
Having read this, I pray this prayer: