Daily Devotional for March 5
March 5 Mark 8:11-21
Beware of the Leaven
In today's Scripture, Jesus' disciples are guilty of a very human
failing: they mistake a metaphor having a spiritual meaning
for one having a physical meaning. When Jesus tells them to
beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod, the
disciples turn to one another in puzzlement, telling each other
that they have forgotten to bring bread, and wondering what
Jesus could be talking about.
Recall that just before this Jesus had been talking to the
Pharisees, who had asked for a sign. Here, he is trying to tell
his disciples that, when it comes to pass that they recognize
him as the Messiah, they should not think of him in terms of
earthly power, but in terms of a higher realm. The disciples,
however, miss the point. They are able only to think in terms
of empty stomachs, even though Jesus reminds them of the
times that he has fed thousands.
In the modern world, too, little effort is made to see the layers
upon layers of spiritual meaning that underlie the mundane
surface of things. Jesus' warning still applies: beware of the
leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod, the moving force that
shapes one's vision so as to give primacy to temporal power.
For that was the way the Pharisees and Herod saw Jesus'
Often, we too believe that the way to fulfillment is to strive
for temporal power. We should remember that, even as Jesus'
power derived from rejecting Satan's temptation and choosing
the power of the Spirit, so too must we give temporal power
a secondary priority if we seek to gain the power that the Spirit
Jesus, help me to see that by surrendering
myself to you, I do not lose, but gain power.
Teach me the difference between spiritual power and
temporal power, and let me seek the spiritual
power that comes from you. Amen.
From The Road to Emmaus - An inclusive devotional Edited by Joseph W. Houle
Emmaus House of Prayer - Washington D.C.1989