In the gospel of Mark, Jesus cautions his disciples to beware of the leaven of Herod (8:15). In biblical times, leaven was a symbol of evil or corruption. And King Herod was the poster child of this leaven—an egotistical political figure widely known as a tyrannical ruler.
What exactly was Jesus warning his disciples about? He was warning people of the danger of cozying up to political powers and thinking that they can ultimately change a society.
It will never happen. Herod is a primary example of why, as Jesus knew.
Herod manipulated his politics and people for his own power, as many politicians today continue to do. Herod colluded with whatever or whomever he needed to in order to maintain power. Sound familiar?
Jesus was clearly warning his followers that politics cannot bring in his kingdom. And those with political power will often use anyone they can to grab and keep power.
Be careful about putting your hope in a donkey. Or an elephant. Or any political process or person. Only the Lord Jesus controls all. And his animal is the lion. The lion of Judah.
And Jesus’s kingdom is not of this world. But it will last forever.
Until his kingdom comes, Jesus warns us to be aware of the leaven of Herod!