Yesterday, the Pharisees and Sadducees tried to test Jesus by demanding a sign. Today, he has a warning for his disciples:
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 see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”
“Twelve,” they replied.
“And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”
They answered, “Seven.”
He said to them, “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.
(Matthew 16:5-12; Mark 8:13-21)
Jesus’ toughest words were often directed at the religious leaders. They were supposed to bring people closer to God. Instead, they did the exact opposite.
Here, Jesus equates their hypocritical, legalistic and self-righteous teaching to yeast, which slowly but surely spreads until it affects everything around it.
Beware of false teachers. Ask God to open your eyes, ears and heart to his truth.
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Coprid)