Hello, we’ve made it … half way through the week. How are you doing?
On Monday we learnt through the faith of the Canaanite woman to be persistent in prayer, on Tuesday we learnt through the feeding of the 4 thousand to lean in to an abundance mindset. Let’s see what we can glean from today’s passage, which is Matthew 16:1-12 – detailing Jesus’s dealing with Pharisees and Sadducees. We will be focussing on verse 6.
Do you love podcasts?
My favourite thing to do on a walk or on our commute from Chesterfield each day is listen to any number of podcasts via Google … other podcast providers are available. I listen to lots of different podcasts but they usually focus on church and business leadership (This Cultural Moment, Carey Niewhof), health and fitness (Feel Better, Live More) or sport (The Rugby Pod).
These podcasts influence the way I see the world, my thoughts and feelings and ultimately my actions in many subtle ways. I mostly learn good lessons from them and their application to my life helps me to grow, it bears fruit. In the cases where it doesn’t these influences are fairly harmless or innocuous, apart from some of the fruity language on the Rugby Pod. However, in today’s passage, Jesus is warning us against something of a much more malicious and evil intent.
“Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
Yeast or leaven in some Bible translations is consistently used as a picture of sin and corruption and just like yeast spreads through bread or beer, sin is liable to spread through life and to corrupt it. Here Jesus is particularly emphasising the dangerous teachings and practices of the Pharisees and Sadducees … look I didn’t know the difference either so here you are.
The main differences are on their beliefs of the supernatural and their status in Jewish society. The Pharisees were invested in the religious aspects of religion, holding to a literal translation of the Old Testament and believing in an afterlife whereas the Sadducees were largely secular and denied the idea of being resurrected from the grave after death. The Sadducees were the darlings of Jewish society, holding the power to influence the Jewish nation any way they see fit – the “old money” if you like. The Pharisees, on the other hand, were “new money”, more closely connected with the common people of the Jewish culture. They were typically merchants or business owners who had become wealthy enough to turn their attention to studying and interpreting the Scriptures.
The yeast or false teaching Jesus is challenging is the Pharisees reliance on tradition, the law and the external religious appearance and the Sadducee’s denying the truth of the resurrection, as well as the existence of spirits or angels. False teaching (such as the Pharisees and Sadducees held to) causes us to think more highly of ourselves and what we do and what our position in society is rather than who we are on the inside (our hearts) and who Jesus is the fulfilment of the law and the prophets… he was the Messiah.
What do I think this means for me and for you?
Guard your heart!!!!
Read God’s truth in his Word daily.
Have trustworthy people speak into your life.
Be intentional with what you watch or listen to.
Lord Jesus, thank you that you care about who we are on the inside, that you are concerned with our hearts and not what we show to everyone else. Help us to guard our hearts and avoid the false teaching that so easily spreads into every area of life and to always remember that you are who you say you are, the Messiah. Amen!
BIBLE READING: Matthew 16:1-12
The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.
He replied, ‘When evening comes, you say, “It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,” and in the morning, “Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.” You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.’ Jesus then left them and went away.
When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. ‘Be careful,’ Jesus said to them. ‘Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’
They discussed this among themselves and said, ‘It is because we didn’t bring any bread.’
Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, ‘You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’ Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.