Luke 12:1 (NIV) - Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
Yeast represents influence; it can be good or bad. In this case the bad influence of the Pharisees.
Hypocrisy is play-acting, pretending to be something we are not, being completely different on the inside from what is seen on the outside.
In the midst of teaching the crowd, Jesus turned and spoke these words of warning to His followers.
The Pharisees had studied the Law, but they did not know God. They were experts on every fine point of every one of the hundreds of written commandments, but they did not have compassion or love for the people. Just like yeast permeates and eventually becomes part of the dough, hypocrisy had crept in and the Pharisees no longer followed God's commands, but their own interpretation of them. Their desire was to be honored for their position rather than pointing others toward obeying God. They were corrupt, vain and far away from the God they claimed to know so well.
This prideful attitude can so easily overtake us that Jesus warned us to watch out for it.
Like our Lord, we are to stay in constant communication with our Father and listen to His Spirit. We must be careful to be genuine and to be sure what we are telling others is the absolute truth.
Jesus' words are also a warning not to be afraid of the influence of those in power or of those who speak of another truth; not to let what anyone says or does deter us from our purpose.
We must know and demonstrate God's truth, keep on doing good no matter what the current culture or circumstance and have the courage to be a good influence wherever we are.
Be on your guard against the bad influence of others and watch out for the danger of pride.
These are warnings from our Lord and Savior who loves us enough to die for us. Do we love Him enough to heed His warnings?