The Pharisees showed up and began to argue with Jesus. To test him, they asked for a sign from heaven. With an impatient sigh, Jesus said, “Why does this generation look for a sign? I assure you that no sign will be given to it.” Leaving them, he got back in the boat and crossed to the other side of the lake.
Jesus’ disciples had forgotten to bring any bread, so they had only one loaf with them in the boat. He gave them strict orders: “Watch out and be on your guard for the yeast of the Pharisees as well as the yeast of Herod.”
The disciples discussed this among themselves, “He said this because we have no bread.”
Jesus knew what they were discussing and said, “Why are you talking about the fact that you don’t have any bread? Don’t you grasp what has happened? Don’t you understand? Are your hearts so resistant to what God is doing? Don’t you have eyes? Why can’t you see? Don’t you have ears? Why can’t you hear? Don’t you remember? When I broke five loaves of bread for those five thousand people, how many baskets full of leftovers did you gather?”
They answered, “Twelve.”
“And when I broke seven loaves of bread for those four thousand people, how many baskets full of leftovers did you gather?”
They answered, “Seven.”
Jesus said to them, “And you still don’t understand?”
Jesus and his disciples came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to Jesus and begged him to touch and heal him. Taking the blind man’s hand, Jesus led him out of the village. After spitting on his eyes and laying his hands on the man, he asked him, “Do you see anything?”
The man looked up and said, “I see people. They look like trees, only they are walking around.”
Then Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes again. He looked with his eyes wide open, his sight was restored, and he could see everything clearly. Then Jesus sent him home, saying, “Don’t go into the village!”
Sometimes we forget Jesus was human. So much emphasis is placed on him being the “Son of G_d” that when we read moments of humanity, we don’t really know what to do with them (yesterday was a perfect example of this). Today’s stories really show his humanity (or maybe, it’s just the way I read the story).
After another confrontation with the Religious Elite, I imagine Jesus being very frustrated, sitting in the boat, going over the last few conversations in his mind. Still in a daze he says, “Watch out and be on your guard for the yeast of the Pharisees as well as the yeast of Herod.” The idea of yeast is that you use a little bit and it spreads throughout the entire dough. Jesus’ comment is that the junk of the Religious Elite and the followers of Herod works just like that - all it takes is just a little bit to get worked in your thoughts and life. We are told to be careful of what we allow into our lives. What’s that old saying? “One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch.” That’s what Jesus is talking about here.
Next, he can’t seem to get just how dense the disciples are. I think this is his irritation from the previous exchange spilling over into his closest friends and loved ones. How many times do we do this? Every week? Every day? It’s so easy to lash out at those closest to us when our irritation is not really with them.
I think what’s telling in the story is how abruptly the scene changes. One minute, you could cut the tension with a knife. You can imagine the disciples look sheepishly at each other and say, “Oookaaayyy. Well, let’s just leave little mister grumpy pants to himself!” And Jesus sulks in the boat going over and over again why he’s doing all of this. The next, Jesus is healing a blind man.
To me, this passage just speaks about everyday life. That, like us, Jesus had to deal with irritation and people “just not getting it.” But those things couldn’t slow him down. Like us, he had to put aside his own feelings and focus on service G_d and others.
In the Love of the Three in One,
Br. Jack+, LC