Today, I was caught off guard while reading Matthew 16:5–12. This is the account of the disciples misunderstanding what Jesus meant when He warned them about the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees to which Jesus asks, “Don’t you understand even yet?“
The Disciples Worry
In response to Christ’s question, the disciples began to worry about not having anything to eat – they had forgotten to bring bread (v5). They discussed this predicament while traveling by boat, so they obviously couldn’t do a door-dash. With the thought of bread on their minds, they were baffled when Jesus suddenly told them to be on guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (v6).
The disciples focused on food while Jesus was focused on fulfilling the plan of His Father. Rabbit Trail: I asked myself if my default response to every question was first spiritual and then physical? You can guess my answer.
Now back to Jesus and His disciples in the boat.
The Disciples Misunderstand
Jesus has just warned His disciples – the ones upon whose shoulders the growth of His Church would soon fall – to beware of the yeast (leaven) of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Their response had been to huddle together to figure out how to tell Jesus that they forgot to bring bread. At this point, Jesus sternly asked, “Don’t you understand even yet?”
Forgive my very loose paraphrase of what Jesus next says in v9–11. Jesus says, “Get your head in the game. I can bury you in bread, so why are you asking Me about bread? That makes no sense.” From the disciples – silence.
Our Patient Lord
Then Jesus shows His patience. “So again I say, ‘Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’” (v11) Now His disciples were in tune, sort of, with Jesus. They understood that Jesus meant that they should guard against false teachings because they can quickly grow and permeate what the Church teaches (v12).
We should not worry about the things we need – food, clothing, shelter. What we do need is to keep our thoughts fixed on God (Isaiah 26:3) – whose mind is stayed on thee (KJV)
Many things can plant worry in us, but we don’t have to let them. Our God is El Shaddai, the All-Sufficient God. We’ll keep focused on doing the work that Jesus assigns us and let the world worry about itself.
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