Hi, I’m Bill Johnson from Bethel Church in Redding, California. Welcome to God Today. One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Mark chapter 8 and the reason for that is I just had some very meaningful encounters with the Lord in that chapter. Specifically, over the passage where he warned his disciples of the leaven of Herod and the leaven of the Pharisees.
What he’s dealing with there is an influence. We know that leaven gets put into the dough and it causes it to rise. Well, there are three leavens in the Bible, the leaven of Herod, that’s the political system. It’s humanistic in nature, man is at the center of everything. There are the Pharisees, that’s a religious system that has God at the center of everything but He’s impersonal and powerless. It’s a form and then in Matthew 13, Jesus talked about the leaven of the kingdom.
So, we have three things vying for our attention. The political spirit and the religious spirit are both cruel, very controlling and never lead to life. The political spirit is Pilate, washing his hands of a matter, wanting to separate himself from problems. Jesus was posed to him as a great problem. So, he washed his hands. He wanted to create distance in the minds of people and then there are the religious leaders who wanted to throw stones at the woman caught in adultery. They wanted to show their zeal by bringing judgment.
But then we have Jesus, his beauty, beautiful responsibility of displaying the Father. He stood with that woman who was caught in adultery and the religious leaders fled because they feared the moment because He had created such an atmosphere of grace and at that moment, He revealed what the Father looked like. The father met with this woman and it was a father-daughter moment. Jesus revealed the Father and everything He did and that’s Kingdom. He wasn’t embracing of sin but neither was He intimidated by it. He always provided a redemptive solution.
And so my challenge to you is paying attention to the things that are influencing values, the way that we think. Sometimes we can if you’ll all zealous like we’re doing the right thing and then we find out “man”, that we were under the influence of the political spirit of the religious spirit. I don’t want to make anyone paranoid but I do want us to wake up, wake up to the fact that there’s a lot of right-sounding things that are completely wrong because they’re not Kingdom.
Jesus displayed compassion for everybody that had any kind of interest in redemption. The only ones He went face-to-face with is the religious leaders who had no realization that they had a need. I want to encourage you, you and I, we’ve been called by God to demonstrate the leaven of the kingdom, that influence that it changes everything around us into a function or to the beauty, the wonder of the Kingdom of God, the realm of God’s dominion.
I want to pray for that for you. I want to pray that the Lord would give us a great, great breakthrough in these things. So, Father, we look to You. I prayed first of all that You’d release the spirit of wisdom and revelation so that we become almost like allergic to the political spirit, the religious spirit, that fear of man that just seems to influence so much of the Church, robbing us of courage. I pray that the courageous ones would rise in this hour and that there would be great demonstrations of faith as we stand in the most difficult situations and the most nerve-racking situations to display who You are, to display and reveal Your heart to people, that we could see You exalted by healing broken situations all around us. I pray this for the honor of the name Jesus. Amen. Amen.