Matthew 16:5-12 Leaven of the Pharisees

A little leaven spoils the whole lump

A little leaven spoils the whole lump

Have your ever seen someone, when they are totally frustrated by something they see or hear, slap their hand over their eyes and slowly draw it down their face? Usually this is accompanied by an audible groan or sigh. Maybe you have even done this yourself a time or two. I know I have. This is what I imagine Jesus doing during our story today.

Jesus and His disciples have just left Mangadom after their run in with the Pharisees and Sadducees. When Jesus walked straight to the boat, His disciples quickly followed Him. They didn’t take time to go shopping for supplies or even pick up the remaining leftovers from the three day healing and praise service. There were five baskets full when they left. They had probably been using them for their meals since leaving. No one thought to grab the basket on the way to the boat.

One thing I noticed is that, on the boat ride across the Sea of Galilee, Jesus didn’t mention His concerns. There is no mention of any interactions during the ride. Was Jesus sleeping? Were the disciples busy dealing with the crossing and didn’t have time to talk? Was Jesus helping with the crossing? Were they fishing while they were on their way? Jesus waited until they made landfall before He brought up the subject of the Pharisees. If He would have brought it up right away would the disciples have connected the dots?

Jesus warns His disciples to “beware the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees” (verse 6). The first thing to pop into the disciples’ minds at this point is that they forgot the bread. They begin whispering about it among themselves. *Insert facepalm here* Jesus, knowing what they were discussing, voices His disappointment when He addresses them. He also demonstrates His patience in willingly going over the facts of recent events.

“You still don’t understand? Please tell me you at least remember the time we fed the 5,000 with only five loaves and how many leftovers we had. Or how about when we JUST fed the 4,000 with seven loaves and how many baskets of leftovers we took up afterwards. Do you STILL think not having BREAD is a problem for Me?!?” Jesus then repeated His original warning; “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees” (verse 11).

NOW His disciples finally get it. They finally see that Jesus was talking about the teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees and how accepting it into their lives will bring corruption. The Pharisees and Sadducees were constantly trying to get Jesus and His disciples to “turn to the dark side” and follow their traditions and regulations. Jesus knows that doing so will introduce concepts completely contrary to what God commanded. It would also harden their hearts to Jesus’ message. No way would Jesus stand by and watch that happen.

Lord Jesus, I’m so sorry for when I don’t get it right away too. I’m sure there have been many times in my life when You should (or maybe did) do the facepalm palm. Maybe it would have worked better on me if You did the Gibbs smack from NCIS instead. Smack me in the back of the head to get my attention when I mess up. But You don’t. You exhibit the “patients of a saint” instead and gently lead me to where I should have gone on my own.

I pray I am not offending You by imagining You reacting the same way I would. You were human but You were also God. Did You get frustrated, or did You demonstrate patience at all times? I believe I hear frustration several times in the words You used. But I know that NO MATTER WHAT You felt, You NEVER sinned. So I can be certain that Your actions were always appropriate, including the time You made a whip and drove out the money changers from the temple. Did Your behavior that day raise eyebrows in Heaven, or engender a chorus of “it’s about time?” I really wish I could have seen You in Your everyday life. Thank You for allowing me to use my imagination. When we finally meet in person, will You please show me Your “home videos?” I would watch them forever!

You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

2 Responses to “Matthew 16:5-12 Leaven of the Pharisees”

  1. Victoria says:

    Your take on the face-palm made me smile. Thanks. I needed that!

Leave a Reply