May 17

Text: Matthew 16:5-12

And the disciples came to the other side and had forgotten to take bread.  And Jesus said to them, "Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." And they began to discuss among themselves, saying, "It is because we took no bread." But Jesus, aware of this, said, "You men of little faith, why do you discuss among yourselves that you have no bread?  Do you not yet understand or remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets you took up?  Or the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many large baskets you took up?  How is it that you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread? But beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees."   Then they understood that He did not say to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (NASB)

Remember your feeling of stupidity when you misunderstood a discussion?  The group or person discussed one thing and you were thinking of something entirely different.  What you thought about was totally unrelated to the discussion.  Thus your comment sounded embarrassingly ignorant!

In recent devotionals, the Pharisees confronted Jesus.  Society basically considered them as the religious good guys.  The 12 knew Jesus was a religious good guy.  That conflict confused others including the 12.

Thus Jesus warned the 12 about the teaching emphasis of the Pharisees.  He compared the Pharisees’ emphasis to leaven.  Since bread was the basic component of the common person’s diet, the 12 thought Jesus was chastising them for forgetting to bring food.

Jesus said, “Why would I be concerned about food?  The emphasis of the Pharisees and Sadducees concerns me.  You should understand my concern!”  Only then did they grasp that Jesus spoke of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees, not their failure to bring food.

Suggestion for reflection: How does Jesus view your religious emphasis?  (Read Romans 11:1-10.)

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