Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Jesus Christ: The Only Bailout We Really Need -- The Leaven

I have already pointed out that honey speaks of man's petty efforts to succor favor from the Lord.

Regarding the leaven mentioned in Leviticus 2:11, the evidence for the perverse meaning of leaven is more abundant.

From the bread which the Lord required to be unleavened during the Passover meal, to the wicked heresies of the Pharisees, the leaven speaks of man's efforts to puff up his circumstances through his own power.

Jesus blasted the leaven of the Pharisees, which He warned His disciples to avoid

"And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread.

"Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

"And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread.

"Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?

"Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?

"Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?

"How 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?

"Then 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: 5-12)

Jesus' instruction is essential on two key points regarding "the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees".

First, Jesus makes His point about the leaven of the religious authorities in contrast to His miracle of feeding five thousand with five loaves. Instead of relying on the empty teachings of men, rely on the infinite supplying power of God.

In the second place, "the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees" was a licentious teaching that taught mankind what he could do to achieve right standing through his own efforts, when even the best of us are condemned by the exacting infinite demands of the law.

Regarding the human and failing nature of the law, Jesus issued this indictment:

"For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do." (Mark 7:8)

Regarding the exacting nature of the law, and the complicity of the religious leaders in diminishing its holiness:

"For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:20)


"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

"Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel." (Matthew 23: 23-24)

Without controversy, "leaven" speaks of man's attempts to justify himself by his own works, all of which are doomed to fail before a righteous God:

"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin." (Romans 3:20)

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