Beware of Wolves In Shepherd’s Clothes

Beware of Wolves In Shepherd’s Clothes: Mark 8:14-21
Pastor John Nicholas
Sunday August 2, 2020

Their opposition is the result of disbelief in Jesus, and disbelief is also fermenting among the disciples in the boat. The “yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod” appears to be the misunderstanding or even disbelief of the disciples that would be in effect as adversarial as that of Antipas and the Pharisees.

This is right on the heels of the Pharisees seeking a sign
Mark 8:14–21 (LGNTI:SBL)
14Καὶ ἐπελάθοντο λαβεῖν ἄρτους, καὶ εἰ μὴ ἕνα ἄρτον οὐκ εἶχον μεθʼ ἑαυτῶν ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ.
And they had forgotten to take bread, and except for one loaf they did not have any with them in the boat

  • Matthew 16:5 they went to the other side of the sea and had forgotten bread
    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.
  • Unprepared for the journey even though they had ample food to take from the previous miraculous feeding
  • They were not blamed by Jesus for their lack of foresight, but for their lack of faith. We look for good business men in his disciples, but God looks for saints, in whom businesslike qualities are of course encouraged (Rom. 12:111 Cor. 14:40).

Romans 12:11 (NASB)
11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;

1 Corinthians 14:20 (NASB)
Instruction for the Church
20 Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature.

  • The disciples had forgotten to take bread”—an understandable result of their haste in setting out on another journey. The implied subject of the verb is the disciples as distinguished from Jesus, who had indirectly occasioned it by hurrying them away. Matthew’s account suggests that the oversight was discovered upon arrival at the northeastern shore.

15καὶ διεστέλλετο αὐτοῖς λέγων· Ὁρᾶτε, βλέπετε ἀπὸ τῆς ζύμης τῶν Φαρισαίων καὶ τῆς ζύμης Ἡρῴδου.
And He ordered them saying, “pay attention, watch out for the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod

  • And this is another form of preparation by Jesus
  • A warning
  • There is something wrong with the Pharisees
  • Something that they do that will wrongly infect the entire loaf
  • Like yeast, it affects all the dough
  • Leaven is always mentioned in regard with a negative
  • Exodus 12:17-20 – no leaven at this time of the month or you will be cut off

17 You shall also observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt; therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as a permanent ordinance.
18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening.
19 Seven days there shall be no leaven found in your houses; for whoever eats what is leavened, that person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is an alien or a native of the land.
20 You shall not eat anything leavened; in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread.’”

  • Luke 12:1 – beware the leaven of the pharisees, hypocrisy
    God Knows and Cares
    1 Under these circumstances, after so many thousands of people had gathered together that they were stepping on one another, He began saying to His disciples first of all, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
  • Luke 11:37-54 describes the hypocrisy
    Woes upon the Pharisees
    37 Now when He had spoken, a Pharisee *asked Him to have lunch with him; and He went in, and reclined at the table.
    38 When the Pharisee saw it, he was surprised that He had not first ceremonially washed before the ]meal.
    39 But the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the platter; but inside of you, you are full of robbery and wickedness.
    40 You foolish ones, did not He who made the outside make the inside also?
    41 But give that which is within as charity, and then all things are clean for you.
    42 “But woe to you Pharisees! For you pay tithe of mint and rue and every kind of garden herb, and yet disregard justice and the love of God; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.
    43 Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the chief seats in the synagogues and the respectful greetings in the market places.
    44 Woe to you! For you are like concealed tombs, and the people who walk over them are unaware of it.
    45 One of the lawyers *said to Him in reply, “Teacher, when You say this, You insult us too.”
    46 But He said, “Woe to you lawyers as well! For you weigh men down with burdens hard to bear, while you yourselves will not even touch the burdens with one of your fingers.
    47 Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and it was your fathers who killed them.
    48 So you are witnesses and approve the deeds of your fathers; because it was they who killed them, and you build their tombs.
    49 For this reason also the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and some they will persecute,
    50 so that the blood of all the prophets, shed since the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation,
    51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the house of God; yes, I tell you, it shall be charged against this generation.’
    52 Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you yourselves did not enter, and you hindered those who were entering.”
    53 When He left there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to be very hostile and to question Him closely on many subjects,
    54 plotting against Him to catch Him in something He might say.
  • 1 Cor 5:6-8 – cleaning out the old leaven
    6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?
    7 Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.
    8 Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
  • Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and the leaven of Herod (ὁρατε, βλεπετε ἀπο της ζυμης των Φαρισαιων και της ζυμης ἡρῳδου [Horāte, blepete apo tēs zumēs tōn Pharisaiōn kai tēs zumēs Hērōidou]). Present imperatives. Note ἀπο [apo] and the ablative case. Ζυμη [Zumē] is from ζυμοω [zumoō] and occurs already in Matt. 13:33 in a good sense. For the bad sense see 1 Cor. 5:6. He repeatedly charged (διεστελλετο [diestelleto], imperfect indicative), showing that the warning was needed. The disciples came out of a Pharisaic atmosphere and they had just met it again at Dalmanutha. It was insidious. Note the combination of Herod here with the Pharisees. This is after the agitation of Herod because of the death of the Baptist and the ministry of Jesus (Mark 6:14–29=Matt. 14:1–12=Luke 9:7–9). Jesus definitely warns the disciples against “the leaven of Herod” (bad politics) and the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees (bad theology and also bad politics).

Mark 6:14-29 (NASB)
John’s Fate Recalled
14 And King Herod heard of it, for His name had become well known; and people were saying, “John the Baptist has risen from the dead, and that is why these miraculous powers are at work in Him.”
15 But others were saying, “He is Elijah.” And others were saying, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16 But when Herod heard of it, he kept saying, “John, whom I beheaded, has risen!”
17 For Herod himself had sent and had John arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, because he had married her.
18 For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
19 Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death and could not do so;
20 for Herod was afraid of John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. And when he heard him, he was very perplexed; but he used to enjoy listening to him.
21 A strategic day came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his lords and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee;
22 and when the daughter of Herodias herself came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you want and I will give it to you.”
23 And he swore to her, “Whatever you ask of me, I will give it to you; up to half of my kingdom.”
24 And she went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist.”
25 Immediately she came in a hurry to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”
26 And although the king was very sorry, yet because of his oaths and because of his dinner guests, he was unwilling to refuse her.
27 Immediately the king sent an executioner and commanded him to bring back his head. And he went and had him beheaded in the prison,
28 and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother.
29 When his disciples heard about this, they came and took away his body and laid it in a tomb.

Matt. 14:1–12
John the Baptist Beheaded
14 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the news about Jesus,
2 and said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”
3 For when Herod had John arrested, he bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip.
4 For John had been saying to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.”
5 Although Herod wanted to put him to death, he feared the crowd, because they regarded John as a prophet.
6 But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod,
7 so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked.
8 Having been prompted by her mother, she *said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”
9 Although he was grieved, the king commanded it to be given because of his oaths, and because of his dinner guests.
10 He sent and had John beheaded in the prison.
11 And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother.
12 His disciples came and took away the body and buried it; and they went and reported to Jesus.

Luke 9:7–9
7 Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was happening; and he was greatly perplexed, because it was said by some that John had risen from the dead,
8 and by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the prophets of old had risen again.
9 Herod said, “I myself had John beheaded; but who is this man about whom I hear such things?” And he kept trying to see Him.

  • When the disciples interpreted Jesus’ words as an indirect reproach for their failure to bring provisions and began quarreling concerning whose responsibility it was to procure bread, he reproached them for their failure to understand. The intimate connection between Ch. 8:14–21 and the preceding verses determines the context for the interpretation of verse 15.
  • Jesus, by his use of the word leaven here, was using a pithy one-word parable for unseen pervasive influence. This influence was something that unfitted for the service of God, if we are to judge from the analogy of the use of unleavened bread in Old Testament religious festivals (see Lev. 2:4, etc.) and Paul’s ‘cleanse out the old leaven’ (1 Cor. 5:7), referring to the well-known Hebrew custom in both biblical and modern times of clearing the home of yeast, before Passover is celebrated. Yeast is in this context clearly a biblical symbol of sin: but the clarity with which it bears that meaning here is due to the direct association with ‘Pharisees’ and ‘Herod’. In itself, the symbolism of ‘yeast’ is merely that of unseen pervasive spreading, as in the parable of the kingdom (Matt. 13:33). Admittedly some exegetes have been forced, by a false ideal of consistency, to see the picture even here as one of the spreading of evil within the church: but the more natural meaning would seem to be simply the gradual spread of the church within the world.

Leviticus 2:4 (NASB)
4 ‘Now when you bring an offering of a grain offering baked in an oven, it shall be unleavened cakes of fine flour mixed with oil, or unleavened wafers spread with oil.

Matthew 13:33 (NASB)
The Leaven
33 He spoke another parable to them, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.”

  • What then was the insidious danger that lay before the little band of disciples, the proto-church at that time? It was the danger of allowing their thinking to be approximated and assimilated to that of the world around them, the world of the Pharisees and Herodians, two religious and political circles respectively of their day. In the Old Testament, Israel had been warned of the gulf between God’s thinking and its own (Isa. 55:8), and Jesus’ words of rebuke to Peter would underline this in the New Testament (8:33). The leaven of the Pharisees was hypocrisy (7:6), while the leaven of Herod (a variant reading has Herodians) may have been that procrastinating time-serving which had led Herod first to imprison John the Baptist, then to execute him, though fighting his own conscience all the time (6:14–29). Matthew 16:6 has ‘Sadducees’ in place of Herod or Herodians here: they were the shrewd, wealthy, priestly aristocracy, with a worldly leavening influence at least as dangerous as that of the hard religious formalism of the Pharisees. But at each stage of the history of the church, the exact source and nature of the danger changes, while the danger itself remains. Vigilance is always necessary (14:38).

Isaiah 55:8 (NASB)
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.

Matthew 16:6 (NASB)
6 And Jesus said to them, “Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

  • He charged them”—apparently when they realized that they had forgotten to secure the necessary provisions before leaving. He used the occasion to give them some needed teaching. The verb denotes a strict order. The imperfect tense may indicate that the charge was repeated, or more probably, it looks forward to the resultant conversation as a process.
  • Take heed, beware of”—the utterance of a double caution. Both verbs are present imperatives, stressing attitudes that ought to continue. The first verb calls for mental alertness, while the second demands that one look attentively at the object called to one’s attention in order to avoid the danger that it presents. The two verbs underscore the intensity of the warning.
  • “The leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod”—the repeated definite noun, the leaven, views the two leavens as distinct yet closely related as a common moral danger, because both were allied against Christ. Since leaven was strictly forbidden with certain offerings (Lev. 2:11) and had to be removed during the Passover, it readily became a figure of evil or corruption. This was the meaning given it in rabbinical teaching and seems to be its uniform meaning in the New Testament. As producing a process of fermentation, leaven or yeast pictures a pervasive corrupting tendency that works invisibly. Christ’s warning was thus “a pithy one-word parable for unseen pervasive influence.”2 Mark did not give an interpretation of Christ’s meaning, but Matthew (16:12) noted that His reference was to “the teaching” of those warned against. Clearly Christ was thinking of the penetrating and corrupting influence of the teachings of His opponents. His warning against the leaven of the Pharisees is to be understood in the light of what had just occurred (vv. 11–13). Their perverted views concerning moral goodness and moral evil (cf. 7:1–23) left them morally blind and unable to discern the mission and character of the Messiah.

Leviticus 2:11 (NASB)

11 ‘No grain offering, which you bring to the Lord, shall be made with leaven, for you shall not offer up in smoke any leaven or any honey as an offering by fire to the Lord.

Matthew (16:12)
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.

  • The mention of the leaven of Herod, Herod Antipas, is unexpected, but the union of his supporters with the Pharisees against Jesus was noted previously by Mark (3:6). The reference seems to be to the corrupting influence of Herod’s irreligious conduct, self-seeking political views, and corrupt practices. His examples set the policy for the Herodians.

Mark 3:6 (NASB)
6 The Pharisees went out and immediately began conspiring with the Herodians against Him, as to how they might destroy Him.

16καὶ διελογίζοντο πρὸς ἀλλήλους ὅτι ἄρτους οὐκ ἔχουσιν.
And they began to discuss with one another that they had no bread

  • Rather than hearing what Jesus is saying they are back to discussing their physical need
    • Hadn’t they witnessed Jesus providing on multiple occasion?
  • See Matthew 16:7 – they misunderstand Jesus
    7 They began to discuss this among themselves, saying, “He said that because we did not bring any bread.”
  • They reasoned one with another (διελογιζοντο προς ἀλληλους [dielogizonto pros allēlous]), implying discussion. Imperfect tense, kept it up. Matt. 16:7 has ἐν ἑαυτοις [en heautois], in themselves or among themselves.
  • The dispute among the disciples, which indicated how completely they were absorbed in their temporal preoccupations, was the immediate occasion for Jesus’ sharp condemnation of the lack of understanding in men whose privileged position should have led them to perceive the truth of his person and the importance of hearing his word.
  • The disciples are unaware of their actual condition. They quibble about the meaning of “bread” without realizing that they are being infected by a deadly cancer. Their failure to comprehend can produce a hardness of heart that is tantamount to the declared opposition of the Pharisees and Herod. The danger is the more deceptive in their case since they are in daily contact with Jesus; and, as in the case of Jesus’ mother and brothers (3:31–35), the fact that they are in physical proximity “with” Jesus (3:14) may lead them to presume they are also with him in purpose and mission. Their proximity to Jesus must grow into understanding, and understanding into faith, or else, like Judas, it will in the end inoculate them to the meaning of his person and work.
  • “Saying, It is because we have no bread”—occupied with their failure to procure the needed bread, their minds readily adopted the view that He was warning them against buying ordinary bread from these enemies. By putting such a grossly material interpretation on His spiritual warning, they revealed an amazing blindness to spiritual truth. They were, in effect, attributing to Jesus the very spirit He had condemned in the Pharisees.

17καὶ γνοὺς λέγει αὐτοῖς· Τί διαλογίζεσθε ὅτι ἄρτους οὐκ ἔχετε; οὔπω νοεῖτε οὐδὲ συνίετε; πεπωρωμένην ἔχετε τὴν καρδίαν ὑμῶν;
And knowing this He said to them, “why are you discussing that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand that your hearts have been hardened?”

  • They are demonstrating a lack of understanding
  • Stunted growth in grasping what Jesus is teaching/saying/telling
  • Mark here gives six keen questions of Jesus while Matt. 16:8–11 gives as four that really include the six of Mark running some together. The questions reveal the disappointment of Jesus at the intellectual dulness of his pupils. The questions concern the intellect (νοειτε [noeite], from νους, συνιετε [nous, suniete], comprehend), the heart in a hardened state (πεπωρωμενην [pepōrōmenēn], perfect passive predicate participle as in Mark 6:52, which see), the eyes, the ears, the memory of both the feeding of the five thousand and the four thousand here sharply distinguished even to the two kinds of baskets (κοφινους, σφυριδων [kophinous, sphuridōn]). The disciples did recall the number of baskets left over in each instance, twelve and seven. Jesus “administers a sharp rebuke for their preoccupation with mere temporalities, as if there were nothing higher to be thought of than bread” (Bruce). “For the time the Twelve are way-side hearers, with hearts like a beaten path, into which the higher truths cannot sink so as to germinate” (Bruce).
    Matthew 16:8–11 (NASB)
    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.”
  • Mark 6:52
    52 for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened.
  • Mark does not attribute the severity of the rebuke to the failure of the disciples to grasp the allusion to a sign-oriented disposition in verse 15, but to their failure to perceive the meaning of Jesus’ presence with them.
  • Why do you discuss?’ The Greek word dialogizomai represents a mental activity which often has a bad sense in the gospels, like meteōrizomai, ‘to be doubtful’, or tarassomai, ‘to be troubled’. It is not their discussion which is being condemned, but the lack both of faith and of spiritual perceptiveness which had given rise to the discussion in the first place. They are still as blind and spiritually obtuse as ever: this is what grieves Jesus. Even the experience of God’s provision of their physical needs during their preaching trip of chapter 6 (note especially v. 8 no bread), had left no mark on them.
  • “Have ye your heart yet hardened?”—instead of becoming spiritually enlightened, have they allowed their heart, their inner moral being, to reach a state of being hardened? The perfect tense denotes a present state of insensitivity as the result of a past process.

18ὀφθαλμοὺς ἔχοντες οὐ βλέπετε καὶ ὦτα ἔχοντες οὐκ ἀκούετε; καὶ οὐ μνημονεύετε
Although you have eyes you do not see and ears you do not hear and do not remember

  • Jesus is chastising them
  • Trying to drag them along
  • To see the bigger picture
  • To grasp what is truly happening
  • One feeding to sheep that have no shepherd
  • Another to those who don’t even know that they need a shepherd
  • Jeremiah 5:19-31 the Godlessness of Jerusalem, false teachers, and the impending destruction

19 It shall come about when they say, ‘Why has the Lord our God done all these things to us?’ then you shall say to them, ‘As you have forsaken Me and served foreign gods in your land, so you will serve strangers in a land that is not yours.’
20 “Declare this in the house of Jacob
And proclaim it in Judah, saying,

21 ‘Now hear this, O foolish and senseless people,
Who have eyes but do not see;
Who have ears but do not hear.

22 ‘Do you not fear Me?’ declares the Lord.
‘Do you not tremble in My presence?
For I have placed the sand as a boundary for the sea,
An eternal decree, so it cannot cross over it.
Though the waves toss, yet they cannot prevail;
Though they roar, yet they cannot cross over it.

23 ‘But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart;
They have turned aside and departed.

24 ‘They do not say in their heart,
“Let us now fear the Lord our God,
Who gives rain in its season,
Both the autumn rain and the spring rain,
Who keeps for us
The appointed weeks of the harvest.”

25 ‘Your iniquities have turned these away,
And your sins have withheld good from you.

26 ‘For wicked men are found among My people,
They watch like fowlers lying in wait;
They set a trap,
They catch men.

27 ‘Like a cage full of birds,
So their houses are full of deceit;
Therefore they have become great and rich.

28 ‘They are fat, they are sleek,
They also excel in deeds of wickedness;
They do not plead the cause,
The cause of the orphan, that they may prosper;
And they do not defend the rights of the poor.

29 ‘Shall I not punish these people?’ declares the Lord,
‘On a nation such as this
Shall I not avenge Myself?’

30 “An appalling and horrible thing
Has happened in the land:

31 The prophets prophesy falsely,
And the priests rule on their own authority;
And My people love it so!
But what will you do at the end of it?

  • Are they like Mark 4:10-12? Haven’t they been given the mystery to the kingdom of heaven?
    10 As soon as He was alone, His followers, along with the twelve, began asking Him about the parables.

11 And He was saying to them, “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables,
12 so that while seeing, they may see and not perceive, and while hearing, they may hear and not understand, otherwise they might return and be forgiven.”

  • This passage is a good apology for a proper understanding of Christian education. If intellectual and spiritual blindness lead to hardness of heart, blind faith without content must inevitably lead there as well. The faith for which Jesus appeals is a faith born of understanding and insight.
  • Only a knowing heart can harden itself, and that is why those closest to Jesus—the Pharisees (3:5–6) and the disciples (6:52; 8:17)—stand in the gravest danger. The disciples mirror humanity-at-large, which is so stuck in its own world and cares that it is blind and deaf to God. The disciples are anxious about lack of bread, but Jesus is anxious about their lack of faith.
  • For Jesus, however, the physical bread was irrelevant. He then asked the disciples a series of questions meant to stir their understanding. When Jesus asked them if their hearts were hard, he was not implying they were as rebellious and stubborn as the Pharisees. The Pharisees were willfully rebellious, while the disciples were simply slow to understand.
  • His rebuke was directed not so much at their failure to understand His meaning as at the low and spiritually dull meaning they had given to His warning. The entire rebuke is formulated in a series of questions (vv. 17–20) that convey surprise and indignation. In no other place does Jesus direct such a series of rebuking questions to His disciples.
  • Verse 18 states three further questions probing the extent and cause of the hardness of their heart. Is their heart really so dull and unperceptive that they cannot use their eyes, their ears, and their memory to penetrate into the meaning of His word? Have they become like those “outside” (4:11–12) to whom the mysteries of the kingdom could not be revealed? Has their memory failed them concerning the things they had seen Him do?

19ὅτε τοὺς πέντε ἄρτους ἔκλασα εἰς τοὺς πεντακισχιλίους, πόσους κοφίνους κλασμάτων πλήρεις ἤρατε; λέγουσιν αὐτῷ· Δώδεκα.
When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand how many baskets full of broken pieces did you pick up?” they said to Him, “twelve.”
20ὅτε καὶ τοὺς ἑπτὰ εἰς τοὺς τετρακισχιλίους, πόσων σπυρίδων πληρώματα κλασμάτων ἤρατε; καὶ λέγουσιν αὐτῷ· Ἑπτά.
“When I also broke the seven loaves for the four thousand how many baskets full of broken pieces did you pick up?” And they said to Him, “seven.”

  • The provision and it more than about food
  • Hadn’t Jesus previously provided for physical needs.
  • Don’t they hear that He is talking about more than a material issue?
  • The numbers are precisely given and the types of baskets used on each occasion to collect the fragments are carefully distinguished. The disciples remembered the facts perfectly and responded to Jesus’ questions without hesitation. Nevertheless, they failed to understand the significance of what had taken place before their eyes. They were no different from the unseeing crowd! It is this harsh reality of their existence that Jesus calls to their attention with his reference to the feeding of the five thousand and of the four thousand.
  • They yet failed to grasp the true significance of His Person. The reference to the distinctive features of the two miracles “cannot possibly be removed from the passage without utterly destroying one of the most vivid and self-witnessing scenes in the whole Gospel narrative.”

21καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς· Οὔπω συνίετε;
And He said to them, “do you not yet understand?”

  • What aren’t they understanding?
  • A few thoughts?
    • They are stuck in thinking about the here and now
    • They are not seeing what is coming
    • They are not focused on the kingdom
      • And Jesus is always focused on the kingdom of God
  • Do ye not yet understand? (οὐπω συνιετε; [oupō suniete?]). After all this rebuke and explanation. The greatest of all teachers had the greatest of all classes, but he struck a snag here. Matt. 16:12 gives the result: “Then they understood how that he bade them not beware of the loaves of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” They had once said that they understood the parables of Jesus (Matt. 13:51). But that was a long time ago. The teacher must have patience if his pupils are to understand.

Matthew 13:52 (NASB)
52 And Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”

  • What they should understand from the miracles of the loaves is the secret that Jesus is none other than the Messiah and Lord.
  • “How is it that ye do not [yet, Gr.] understand?”—this question is best taken not as a continuation of the rebuke but as a searching appeal to the disciples. After what He has just said, do they not yet have a better understanding?

Let’s think about what Jesus has said
Beware the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod
What happened just prior to this passage?
In the face of all the evidence they demanded a sign
They had the prophets and the fathers
And still demanded a sign
Like Lazarus and the rich man
And Abraham says that they will not even be persuaded by a dead man come back to life
Beware the leaven of the pharisees and of Herod
Beware the influence of false teachers and the world
Consistently the bible warns us about false teachers

Acts 20:25 (NASB)
25 “And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face.

2 Timothy 4:3-5 Watch out for the itching ears
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,
4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.
5 But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Titus 1:10-16 – the rebellious men deceivers
10 For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision,
11 who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain.
12 One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.”
13 This testimony is true. For this reason reprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith,
14 not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth.
15 To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled.
16 They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.

2 Peter 2:1-3 – Rise of the false prophets
The Rise of False Prophets
1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.
2 Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned;
3 and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

Beware those who try and compromise the gospel with the world
Beware those who say it isn’t about our sin it is about us being good
Beware of those who don’t point out how bad and desperate you really are
Beware those who claim you can save yourself
Beware those who claim good works gain you favor before a Righteous and Holy God
Beware those who say that the devil isn’t real
Beware those who say that Hell is not real and it is just a concept
Jesus spoke more about Hell than anyone else is the bible
When you hear something two things should come to mind
Is it true?
And what does the bible say about it?
We live in perilous times
Where evil is called good
And good is called evil
Look at what Romans 1:18-32
Unbelief and Its Consequences
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.
20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,
23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.
25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural,
27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,
29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips,
30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,
31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful;
32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

Hebrews 4:12 for the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double edged sword. It penetrates, even dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12 (NASB)
12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

My prayer for you is to live a biblically influenced life. One that is saturated with scripture to guide you in your life
A life that points to the magnificence of the gospel and that God’s grace is what saves us through the blood of Christ
That we don’t hold on to our things which will disappear due to moth and rust but that we hold on to the only true savior – Jesus Christ our Lord, our King.

False teachers
Hebrews 4:12
12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Hebrews 5:11-12 – dull of hearin; you should be teachers, you are still on milk
11 Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.
12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.

Ephesians 1:15-23
15 For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and [your love for all the saints,
16 do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers;
17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.
18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might
20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church,
23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

Pray, Observe, Apply.

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