Beware of the Leaven


In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
(Luke 12:1)

Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
(Matthew 16:6)

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

Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
(Matthew 16:12)

Luke’s contextual setting:

  • Chapter 11 reveals a growing hostility, the rulers claim Christ works through Satan, the people also take up this claim.
  • Christ corrects these slanders and teaches about false religion.
  • All false teachers are the worst deceivers

The physical setting:

  • He was heading toward/in the Judean vicinity
  • A huge number of people around him (murias=10,000, largest number in their language)
    • Imagine how they heard what Jesus said
    • Climbed on top of each other
    • All types in the crowd
    • Some interruptions in the “discourse” – all the way to 13:9
  • He spoke to his disciples, first of all
    • They are closer to Him
    • Not all are believers
    • The ones still listening, learning
    • The ones who have not “gone away.”

The instructions:

  • Beware of the leaven
  • Beware
  • Take heed to yourself
  • Tendency in ourselves to stray this way
  • Don’t be found in this company
  • Defiling – 1 Corinthians 15:33 – evil communications corrupt good manners
  • Damning
  • What is leaven?
    • Luke 13:21 – a spreading, influencing agent
    • Matthew 16:12 – the doctrine, teachings
  • Pharisees (rule makers, legalists, form w/o power, materialism)
  • Sadducees (rationalist, scientists, theistic evolutionists)
  • Herodians (pragmatists, secularism, political ambition)
  • All of them is Hypocrisy
    • No power
    • No life
    • No truth
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