Unity in Christ Jesus
Matthew 16:1-12: When some Pharisees and Sadducees ask Jesus to perform a miracle, he challenges the legitimacy of their request. He then warns his disciples to guard themselves from the dishonest teachings of these religious leaders.
The Demand for a Miracle
16 Some Pharisees and Sadducees who came to Jesus wanted to trap him, so they asked him to perform a miracle for them, to show that God approved of him. 2 But Jesus answered, “When the sun is setting, you say, ‘We are going to have fine weather, because the sky is red.’ 3 And early in the morning you say, ‘It is going to rain, because the sky is red and dark.’ You can predict the weather by looking at the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs concerning these times![a] 4 How evil and godless are the people of this day! You ask me for a miracle? No! The only miracle you will be given is the miracle of Jonah.”
So he left them and went away.
The Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees
5 When the disciples crossed over to the other side of the lake, they forgot to take any bread. 6 Jesus said to them, “Take care; be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
7 They started discussing among themselves, “He says this because we didn’t bring any bread.”
8 Jesus knew what they were saying, so he asked them, “Why are you discussing among yourselves about not having any bread? What little faith you have! 9 Don’t you understand yet? Don’t you remember when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand men? How many baskets did you fill? 10 And what about the seven loaves for the four thousand men? How many baskets did you fill? 11 How is it that you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? Guard yourselves from the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees!”
12 Then the disciples understood that he was not warning them to guard themselves from the yeast used in bread but from the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Today’s Key Verse: Matthew 16:11
[Jesus said:] “How is it that you don’t understand that I was not talking about bread? Guard yourselves from the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees!”
Why did some Pharisees and Sadducees ask Jesus to perform a miracle? How did Jesus respond? The reference to bread in verses 8-11 recalls the earlier two feedings of thousands of people as recorded in Matthew 14:13-21 and 15:32-39. Why did Jesus chide the disciples about their faith? What was it that they didn’t understand? What warning did Jesus give his disciples concerning the Pharisees and Sadducees? By employing the metaphor of yeast, Jesus was teaching that the dishonest teachings of these religious leaders were affecting the whole people of Israel the way a little bit of yeast makes a whole batch of dough rise. What “yeast” do we need to watch out for today?
Lord Jesus, help me to be on guard against false teachings and to discern the truth by listening to your voice and following you. Amen.
Matthew 16:13-28: Peter declares Jesus to be the Messiah.