Yesterday, the Pharisees were hostile – trying to trap Jesus. And, today, we hear, “beware of the yeast of the Pharisees” – hypocrisy that has blinded them to the reality of God’s presence among his people and, like yeast, it is spreading. Now it is easy to stop and focus only on this but don’t miss the large crowd present – 10,000 actually translated from Greek.
Jesus, on his way to Jerusalem, is teaching his disciples to be leery of the Pharisees’ yeast but there is something else very special in Luke’s words. The very large crowd present…Jesus’ words are not secret words. Amidst the hostility of the Pharisees, Jesus is teaching, as we have heard before, for those “with ears to hear”. Jesus is seeking those with ears that are not “blinded” by the Pharisees yeast. Discipleship is open to all…or, in today’s words, Jesus is trying to reach those that are yet to know him – the unchurched.
Jesus is teaching that even though there may be tough times – even though what you say won’t be liked by all…the truth of the gospel is not a secret or just for a select few. The truth of the gospel is to be shouted from the rooftops for all with ears to hear. Jesus is teaching that the truth of the gospel will cast its light on false teaching. The irony here is that the Pharisees appear to want allegiance to their religion but Jesus is saying that “true religion” is not just about avoiding the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, rather, it is all about loving him already in their midst.
Today…by the Spirit of God the church lives…it worships…and it witnesses and seeks the unchurched. Jesus, I believe, had no desire for people to fall in love with the church and its activities…he did desire, and always taught, for people to fall in love with him…to surrender their lives to him and then to be the church.
Lord Jesus…I pray our ears would hear…let us not just listen but shout from the rooftops…because there are thousands out there.