Take Heed

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 “And he (Jesus) charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.” Mark 8:15.

The aroma of fresh baked bread fills the house. The bread’s golden crust beckons the hungry stomach to be eaten. But the bread is not all it seems to be. Hiding deep within lurks the leaven, the yeast. This puffs up the bread tempting the taste buds. I like homemade yeast breads.The only problem with it comes after I’ve eaten it. The yeast in the bread gives me hiccups every time. The bread is filled with hot air.

Even so, the Pharisees and Herod were filled with hot air. We’ll include the Sadducees for Jesus did. Each had one ingredient common to all but displayed in different ways…Pride.


Concerning them Jesus said,
“…beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” Matt. 16:16.

Because this scripture’s context echoes that of Mark 8, some believe Herod was a Sadducee.

This religious sect of Jesus’ day accepted only the written law, refusing the oral law passed down. They did not believe in the resurrection of the dead or future rewards or punishments. This point of the resurrection they raised with Jesus in Mark 12. The hope of entrapping Jesus was about the only thing the Sadducees and Pharisees agreed upon.

“Then come unto him the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection; and they asked him, saying, Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man’s brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed…And the second…And the third…And the seven had her, and left no seed: last of all the woman died also.”

Jesus’ Answer:

“Do ye not therefore err, because he know not the scriptures, neither the power of God.”

Jesus further refuted their error using the written law of Moses as He explained God …

“is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.”

For Us:

  • Take heed, beware of false teaching.

“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you:

whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not….These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.” 2 Pet. 2: 1-3, 17.

What are we to do?

  • Study the word. Try the spirits.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2Tim. 2:15

“We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” 1 John 4: 6


Concerning them Jesus said, (He actually said more than I can put here but I believe this sums it up.)

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!

For ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.

Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” Matt. 23: 27-28.

“…Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written,

This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.

Howbeit in vain do they worship me; teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Mark 7: 6-7

They proudly pranced in their fine garments declaring the traditions of men above the law of God. The same traditions they proclaimed they circumvented, preaching one thing and practicing another. They believed in purity and the letter of the law. To produce their own righteousness they adopted the traditions of the elders to prove their purity. They remained blind to the truth.

For Us:

  • Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees…

“…which is hypocrisy.” Luke 12: 1

“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.” John 8:31.

“If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.” John 12:26.

“A new commandment I give unto you,

That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13: 34-35.

“Jesus said unto him,

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” Matt. 22: 37.

“God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” John 4:24.

What are we to do?

  • Follow Jesus, His example.
  • Love one another.
  • Love God.
  • Give him truth in worship. Begin here:

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Rom. 12:1.

“Saying with a loud voice,

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.

And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying,

Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” Rev. 5: 12-13.


He enjoyed listening to John the Baptist. Yet, executed him because he wanted to impress  and please those around him. He desired to see Jesus perform some miracle.

Jesus said this to Herod:

“And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him.

Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing.” Luke 23: 8-9.

John wrote this description of those like Herod.

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” 1John 2: 16

In regards to the leaven of Herod, Jesus spoke this to His disciples;

“But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them,

Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you…” Mark 10: 42

For Us:

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the father is not in him.” 1John 2:15.

“…but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister:

And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.

For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Mark 10: 43-45

 “At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?

And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said,

Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matt. 18: 1-4

 “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

Submit yourselves therefore to God.

Resist the devil, and he will flee from  you.

Draw night to God, and he will draw night to your.

Cleanse your hands, he sinners: and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” James 4: 6-10

What are we to do?

“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth:

And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Do all things without murmurings and disputings:

That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation,

among whom ye shine as lights in the world: Holding forth the word of life;

that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain.” Phil. 2: 10-18


“And he (Jesus) charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.” Mark 8:15.

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