Matthew 16:5-12 The Hypocrisy of the Pharisees and Sadducees
5 Later, as Jesus and his disciples crossed over to the other side of Lake Galilee, the disciples realized they had forgotten to bring any loaves of bread. 6 Jesus spoke up and said, “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”
7 Thinking Jesus was scolding them over not bringing bread, they began to discuss it among themselves. 8 Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said to them, “You have such little faith! Why are you arguing with one another about having no bread? 9 Are you so slow to understand? Have you forgotten the miracle of feeding the five thousand families and how each of you ended up with a basket full of fragments? 10 And how seven loaves of bread fed four thousand families with baskets left over? 11 Don’t you understand? I’m not talking about bread, but I’m warning you to avoid the yeast of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”
12 Then finally they realized he wasn’t talking about yeast found in bread, but the error of the teachings of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.
Throughout the gospels, Jesus constantly points his disciples toward the abundant love and grace of Father God. He urges them to desire this relationship with God all based on Truth that can bring salvation and the resources of heaven to their lives. In our passage today, Jesus warns the disciples not to get caught up in the teachings of the Pharisees (religious frauds making themselves the standard of God) and Sadducees (wealthy aristocrats with political loyalties), because these false teachers do not know God nor guide people to him. Jesus tells the disciples the “yeast” (sin) of the Pharisees and Sadducees is enough to lead God’s people into error and judgment. These two groups of religious teachers were secretly instilling wrong ideas about the character of God into the minds of those listening; people were agreeing with these false doctrines rather than aligning themselves with the Truth.
There is a cost when we engage in even “a little” sin. We must remember the enemy is crafty when it comes to deceiving people. False beliefs and sin are like the yeast used in bread making, just a little bit can begin to permeate and change how a person views the instruction or commands of God. Satan works secretly to influence people in order to control them. Therefore, Jesus teaches the disciples to make sure they are feeding their souls with the Bread of Life.
Prayer: Father, help me to cling to the Truth of your Word and the affirmation of the Spirit. In Jesus’ name. Amen.