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Don’t you understand even yet?

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).

Good News

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.

Image by Mario Ohibsky from Pixabay

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motorboat on a lake with 3 people in the boat

Running on Empty

When I was a young man, a friend of mine had access and permission to his dad’s motorboat. It was a modest boat but more than powerful enough to pull a skier.

Well, we decided to take the boat out on the lake one hot summer Sunday. We invited another friend and the afternoon was shaping up to be an enjoyable one. We’d all been to church. So, there was no ill intent or nefarious action in what we were doing.

Got Any Gas?

Anyway, we launched the boat, got the engine started, and off we went. My friend was driving. When we were about halfway across the lake, my friend yelled at me to check the gas gauge. We failed to see how much fuel we had when we started.

I made my way to the stern and checked the gauge. It showed empty, Yikes! Thankfully, the indicator wasn’t very accurate because we made it the rest of the way across the lake to a fueling station.

By the time we reached the station, the primary and backup tanks were empty. Stranded on the wrong side of the lake, we tied up the boat and with no worries walked over to the station house. The door was locked. In the window, there was a sign that said, “Closed on Sundays.” We immediately went from a fun day to a disaster. (This was before mobile phones.)

Knock And It Will Be Opened To You

We stood in the parking lot, prayed, and claimed Matthew 7:7 (ESV), “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you…” Seeing that this verse said knock and it will be opened to you; we looked around for the closest house, walked over and knocked on the door. 

An older man opened the door. We asked if he had access to the fueling station. He said it was his. We explained our situation, and he kindly filled our empty tanks. But, we need cash to pay him. We all rummaged through our wallets and miraculously came up with enough. 

We thanked the owner, and then we thanked God profusely; we knocked, and God opened the door. We took the boat straight back to the boat ramp, put the boat away, and drove back home, rejoicing all the way. 

Don’t Be Anxious

We find in Philippians 4:6 (ESV), “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

The word “careful” in this verse means anxiety. What is the cause that triggers anxiety? It is the belief in “something” that will cause some harm because it is beyond our ability. That belief in “something” is contrary to faith in God. 

The solution is prayer and supplication. Supplication is our petition to God for relief from the “something” that seems to be beyond our ability.

The evidence of our trust in God’s supply and God’s love is our thanksgiving. 


And, “let your requests be made known to God.” God does not need to be informed of our necessities, but he requires that we come and communicate them to him. Part of our relationship with God is our asking.

Anxiety is akin to worry, and we, as followers of Jesus, never have to entertain them in our lives.

Photo by Simon Hesthaven on Unsplash

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