Mark 8:15 – Worship of Power

By: jdcharles63
Date: 30/10/2023
Category: Bible verses

“beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”

Mark 3:6 explains why Jesus grouped these two groups together, “Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.

What is the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod?


For the Pharisees, Jesus explains this in Luke 12:1 “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.  For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed”

The Pharisees were zealous legalists, they had turned worship of God into highly detailed traditional laws that only the well to do could afford to pretend to follow.  Legalism leads to hypocrisy.  That’s a tendency or leaven which can easily afflict churches today, and it gives a temptation for the exercise of power over others.


I presume that the leaven of Herod and his followers (Herodians) is the pursuit of power as the goal of life, which leads to expediency and compromise without principle; e.g. in Matthew 14:9-10 we read, “The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted and had John beheaded in the prison.”

Jesus compares Herod to the nature of a fox.  When some Pharisees warned Jesus that King Herod wanted him dead, Jesus said, “Go and tell that fox for me…” (Luke 13:32).

I saw the pattern of pursuit of power as the goal in some people during my working life; one guy I once counted as a friend is now very distant, it affected his whole outlook on life and how he related to people, material success became all important for him.  I think the Sadducees went some distance down that path.

It can lead people to silly behaviour, like the prophets of Baal on Mt Carmel, (I Kings 18:28) who cried aloud and cut themselves, but couldn’t wake up their god.  They followed the control of Jezebel, wife of Ahab, while Elijah stood apart and followed God.

Subservience to whatever group think is in power is just as strong today, and leads to all sorts of nonsense behaviour, but I won’t put examples here quite yet.

What examples can you think of?


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