Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Matthew 15:29-16:12 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Departing from there, Jesus went along by the Sea of Galilee, and having gone up on the mountain, He was sitting there. 30 And large crowds came to Him, bringing with them those who were lame, crippled, blind, mute, and many others, and they laid them down at His feet; and He healed them. 31 So the crowd marveled as they saw the mute speaking, the crippled restored, and the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.
32 And Jesus called His disciples to Him, and said, “I feel compassion for the people, because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way.” 33 The disciples said to Him, “Where would we get so many loaves in this desolate place to satisfy such a large crowd?” 34 And Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” And they said, “Seven, and a few small fish.” 35 And He directed the people to sit down on the ground; 36 and He took the seven loaves and the fish; and giving thanks, He broke them and started giving them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 37 And they all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, seven large baskets full. 38 And those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children.
39 And sending away the crowds, Jesus got into the boat and came to the region of Magadan.
16 The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. 2 But He replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ 3 And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times? 4 An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” And He left them and went away.
5 And the disciples came to the other side of the sea, but they had forgotten to bring any bread. 6 And Jesus said to them, “Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 7 They began to discuss this among themselves, saying, “He said that because we did not bring any bread.” 8 But Jesus, aware of this, said, “You men of little faith, why do you discuss among yourselves that you have no bread? 9 Do you not yet understand or remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets full you picked up? 10 Or the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many large baskets full you picked up? 11 How is it that you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread? But beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that He did not say to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
False teachers, teaching false doctrines, generally do not completely contradict what the Bible says. Instead, they weave what is false among the truths of God’s word. In Galatians 5:9 it says: A little leaven leavens the whole lump. In today’s text it says: The disciples came to the other side of the sea, but they had forgotten to bring any bread. And Jesus said to them, “Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” They began to discuss this among themselves, saying, “He said that because we did not bring any bread.” But Jesus, aware of this, said, “You men of little faith, why do you discuss among yourselves that you have no bread? Do you not yet understand or remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets full you picked up? Or the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many large baskets full you picked up? How is it that you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread? But beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that He did not say to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. The Pharisees and Sadducees knew and taught from God’s word, but they also added the rules and regulations of man. When we allow a little of what is false to be added to God’s word, it affects our ability to know and understand truth. When we compromise truth in one area, truth is no longer absolute, but rather it is subject to our preferences. Believers today need to beware of the leaven of false teaching and false doctrine. So much of what is false has been woven into the doctrines of many churches and ministries. In Isaiah 5:20 God says: Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Yet not only in our culture and society, but even in many churches, things that God calls evil are called good. Perversion and immorality are not only tolerated but embraced. Millions of babies are murdered under the guise of the right to choose.
In Matthew 24;4-5, Jesus speaking of the time before He returns at the end of the age, says: “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many.” Those today who say Jesus would embrace the immorality of our society and culture if He were here now, mislead many. Hebrews 13:8 says: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. When Jesus was here on earth, he did not condone sin. He died on the cross to redeem us from sin. He didn’t pay so great a price only to change His mind and embrace sin today. Jesus still says: “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” “See to it that no one misleads you.” The only way that we can be sure not to be deceived by what is false, is to know the truth. In John 6:35 Jesus says: “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”When Jesus taught us to pray saying “Give us this day our daily bread,” He wasn’t talking about white, wheat or rye, He was talking about coming to Him each day for the truth to guide and sustain us. The only way to be certain not to be misled, is to be led by the Spirit of truth. In John 16:7-15 Jesus says: “I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged… When He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.”
‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. ‘Give us this day our daily bread. ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’