“So He said to them, ‘How is it you do not understand?’ ” Mark 8:21
Jesus had just warned the disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod and not one of them understood the metaphor that he was using. It appears that their minds we’re thinking on quite literal lines that day. They knew that leaven was used in bread making and they new that they had brought no bread to feed themselves that day so they reasoned that he must be making some point regarding their oversight in not bring any bread to eat.
Jesus appears to be a bit stunned by their inability to follow his meaning and he is equally concerned over the direction their minds went in search of a meaning for his words. So he asked them if they remembered how many baskets were left over when he multiplied the loaves for the 5000 and the 4000. And they remember, twelve baskets and then seven baskets. And then Jesus basically asked them, “If you can remember that why don’t you understand that I’m not talking about bread.”
Friends, I believe what Jesus is telling his disciples, and us, is that God isn’t at all concerned about whether or not we have food with us or not. Small things like food, and clothing, and shelter are of little to no concern for him. When the multitudes were fed Jesus took an insufficient quantity of food and made it an abundance. The Old Testament tells us that during the forty years of the exodus from Egypt God provided food from nothing every morning. Additionally, he preserved their sandals and clothing so they didn’t wear out. Matthew records, in chapter six of his gospel, that Jesus’ confidence in his Fathers provision was such that he counseled us to worry about nothing. Not food. Not clothing. Not shelter. Nothing.
When Jesus told his disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod he was warning them to guard against self-righteousness. In different forms self-righteousness dominated the lives and teachings of both Herod and the Pharisees and such will never result in producing the transformation necessary to fashion a godly character.
Only the grace of God received by faith can produce such a change. The focus and the concern of the life then ought to be first to receive of the grace heaven provides, the Holy Spirit. And then to cooperate with the Spirit as he restores the fullness of the image of God in us.