Of all vices, hypocrisy is the most subtle – and therefore, most damning.
The Lord Jesus Christ was armed with this truth when He warned His disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod. The Pharisees constituted themselves into archenemies of Christ.
Their grouse stemmed essentially from the fact that Christ authoritatively reproved them for their contradictions. They could not bear Christ’s fame that was rising exponentially. Therefore, they tried by all means to get rid of Him.
“And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod” (Mark 8:15).
Here, they came tempting Christ by requesting a sign from Him. He declined and sighed at the extent of their insincerity and wickedness. His numerous signs could not change them. He left them and got over to the east shore. There He warned His disciples against the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod.
This has nothing to do with bread as the disciples thought, but the corrupting doctrines and influence of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
- The Pharisees were noted for hypocrisy (outward righteousness), pride and religious showiness.
- They equated the tradition of men and rituals with God’s word and were legalistic.
- The Sadducees, represented here by Herod, were promoters of free thinking, skepticism, worldly-mindedness and political exploitation.
The Pharisees and Sadducees of Jesus’ days have since expired. But the present age is full of modern Pharisees and Sadducees of whose “leaven” we must beware. They wield powerful influence in society, even in religious circles but their professed worship of God lacks spirituality, sincerity, sobriety and simplicity. Instead, they are selfish, sinful, showy and stubborn.
If you are Christ’s, you will have nothing to do with such except to grieve over their state.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: BEWARE means: Be Ever Watchful Against Religious Error-mongers.