Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet see or understand? Do you have a hardened heart? Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember, when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces you picked up?” They said to Him, “Twelve.” “When I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of broken pieces did you pick up?” And they said to Him, “Seven.”(Mark 8:17-20)
When Jesus asked why the disciples were discussing their lack of bread, he used a word that means “to reason about,” or “to debate.” As Nicodemus did in John 3, the disciples missed the point completely. Their apparent reasoned debate was founded upon the wrong basis. It proceeded, then, upon a wrong trajectory. The result was that the loving Shepherd graciously confronted them. He called them to account not merely about their debate, but about the very basis for the discussion.
Jesus had already said in verse 15, “Watch out! Be watchful…” He uses two words side by side that have to do with seeing. He was calling them to look and to see. They demonstrated that they were not seeing. They completely missed what Jesus was talking about. Their thoughts were about how many loaves they didn’t have. Jesus points out to them that they were lacking more than bread. They needed to watch with eyes that see. They needed to pay attention with ears that actually hear (the voice of their Shepherd. See John 10:27).
Practically speaking, how do we watch out for the leaven with which we are NOT to be leavened? Here are ten ways to be watchful:
- Watch out for anyone or anything that leads you away from the truth that God exists, that He alone is God, and that we are all accountable to him as his creatures.
- Watch out for anyone or anything that offers a way to approach, talk to, talk about, or to worship God that is contrary to or in addition to the teachings of God’s Word.
- Watch out for anything that diminishes the word, character, or attributes of Almighty God.
- Be wary of anything that denies or prohibits you from serving God and his people throughout the week. Guard against anything or anyone that does not acknowledge the Sovereign hand of God in Creation and Redemption for the sake of his Church.
- Reject anything that denies God’s authority and man’s being subject to God. Reject anything that distorts, belittles, or attacks the family as an institution of God according to God’s standards.
- Watch out for anyone or anything that does not uphold and protect life.
- Be mindful of those who demonstrate unfaithfulness and immorality in their words and actions. (You cannot know their heart.)
- Be mindful of those who take rather than give. Sometimes the act of taking is disguised as giving.