Mark 8:1-21 Feeding 4,000 Leaven of Pharisees free written sermon

If you are a pastor or lay person who wants to use this to preach in church – that is why I posted it. I don’t care about credit, I only care that God’s word is preached and Christ is glorified. I pray He uses this sermon in a mighty way through you. You have my permission to alter it (it’s longer than usual) and use it however God leads you. God bless you in your ministry. You can bookmark this to check out the other free written sermons on my blog.

So many similarities in the two stories that people often act as if it was the same story repeated.

Both times – 

A few loaves, a few fish

thousands of people

Much left over.

Jesus leaves and goes in a boat 

Jesus has an altercation with the Pharisees.

Theological scholars have trouble looking at this as two separate events.

RC Sproul says the best way to handle this is to acknowledge the similarities and then look at the differences.

Most obviously – been there for 3 days, not one.

Seven loaves, not 12.

This is in gentile territory

An area that specializes in an area that specializes in sardines, that’s the word here. In the feeding of the 5,000 was a generalized fish. 5,000 men, not counting women and children.

Here 4,000 people.

And to top it off, Jesus Himself in verses 19 and 20 points out that he first fed the 5,000 men and then the 4,000 people. They get in the boat and go to Dalmanutha.

Pharisees come out to confront Jesus – NKJV – dispute – too soft a word – in full interrogation – belligerent. We demand you show us a sign.
You might be thinking, how many signs do these folks need?

But remember – they attributed all the previous miracles as Jesus being empowered by the devil.

And here Jesus sighs deeply in his spirit – Jesus comes to the absolute limit of his exasperation – he is sick and tired of this kind of response. You may say – wait… Jesus is supposed to be patient. He IS. One of the points we occasionally fail to grasp is God’s patience. He is SO patient. But there is a limit to God’s patience. In Romans 1 – He lets them have their way and gives them over to their sin.

This is what Jesus is basically saying – I’m not giving you any more proof. Jesus knows you cannot give enough of anything to the enemies of God – to evil. They will never have enough proof. They will never be satisfied with enough bending. The pharisees were NEVER going to be convinced, NEVER going to affirm Jesus as the Messiah. Those opposed to God never find enough appeasement.

And it still has not changed.

The church can never condone enough sin to pacify the lost world. It will always be “You’re being judgemental about this or that.”

Jesus says – enough. No more.

Jesus left them unappeased and unsatisfied – and got in the boat again and departed. 

And then I can picture the conversation going something like this: The disciples look at each other and one says to another – did you get the leftover bread? Me? no. I thought you got it. No. I was getting the boat untied… you were supposed to get it. Well, I was dipping water out of the boat to get it ready to go back out to the water. And then one of them finally says, “I brought one loaf”. Sheesh… that’s not enough. It’s enough for me. And Jesus says, “Take heed. Beware of the leaven of the pharisees and of the leaven of Herod.” And the disciples come to the conclusion that Jesus is not happy they only brought one loaf of bread.

OK, I’m gonna say this again for the people in the back…. 

It is a “This is your brain… this is your brain on drugs….” moment.

“why do you think I say this because you have no bread?”

Jesus says it’s nothing to do with the bread you brought or did not bring. He’s saying to them “watch out for false teaching. Watch out for pride. Watch out for hypocrisy. Watch out for seeking popularity and honor among the society. Watch out for the poisonous leaven of the doubters and the cynics and skeptics.”

What comes to mind is Isaiah 43:19… 

Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Do you not perceive it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert. 

Jesus says – Is your heart still hardened? Do you not see it? Do you not remember? When I fed the 5,000 with five loaves, how much did you collect afterward? 

Meekly: 12.

And when I fed the 4,000 with seven loaves, how much did you take up afterward? 

Meekly: 7.

How is it you do not understand?

What is he asking? Understand what?

God can do a lot with a little – 

2 Kings 4 – Elisha and the widows oil.

Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

Our prayer is that of John 3:30 – He must increase, I must decrease.

Apostle Paul – for I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle… but by the grace of God I am what I am and His grace in me is not in vain.

With all the big strong men around what does he say about the kids around – become as these little children.

So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their superiors exercise authority over them. Those who wish to become great among you become great by serving.”

When you have God, it does not matter what else you lack, you have enough.

Peter – uneducated “are not these Galileans?”- 

God took this proud fisherman and humbled him and made him into a disciple maker. 

And Peter finally realized what God could do with a little.

But Peter also took seriously the warning about the leaven of the pharisees and herod, who were enemies of God – 

In 1 Peter 5 he writes, Submit to God, resist the devil.

because Peter know just as God could do much with a little, so can the devil.

The devil can also do a lot with a little – 

I always hear advertisements for gambling sites – yesterday I heard that you could bet $1 on a fight and if there is a knockout in the first round and you pick the winner, your dollar bet wins you $264. 

Why do you think they are willing to do that? I know why. They get you signed up with what seems like low risk, and a possible big reward. And then many will get sucked in.

As is the case with all sin – it will take you farther than you ever wanted to go and cost you more than you ever wanted to pay.

a little lie

a little bad theology

a little sin

Take heed… beware of the leaven of the devil.

Leaven—or yeast—does not remain isolated in a single spot within a lump of dough. It spreads and becomes part of the entire loaf. Likewise, false teaching and its consequences, or the acceptance of sin are never limited to just a few people in a group. It is either rejected—and removed—or it works its way into the thoughts and practices of the whole group. False ideas and sin are contagious; they spread and take hold. 

While Jesus can do much with a little, so can the devil. 

Ephesians 4:27 – Do not give the devil an opportunity.

The devil tries to get us to compromise a little…

Ligonier Ministries says: It takes only a little bit of what the Pharisees and Herod have to offer to ruin a person.

Just a smidgen of the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod suffices to transform what is good and useful into something bad and useless.

When we harden our hearts even just a little bit and refuse to obey God on what we might consider a minor matter, we introduce leaven into our lives that can spread to other areas. It is imperative, therefore, that we regularly repent for our disobedience and seek to obey the Lord in all of life. We should be striving for obedience in all matters, not just the really “big” ones.

Put it all in His hands.