Blessed… Beware

When the disciples arrived on the other side of the lake, they had forgotten to bring bread. Jesus said to them, “Watch out and be on your guard for the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” They discussed this among themselves and said, “We didn’t bring any bread.” Jesus knew what they were discussing and said, “You people of weak faith! Why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you don’t have any bread?  Don’t you understand yet? Don’t you remember the five loaves that fed the five thousand and how many baskets of leftovers you gathered?  And the seven loaves that fed the four thousand and how many large baskets of leftovers you gathered?  Don’t you know that I wasn’t talking about bread? But be on your guard for the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”  Then they understood that he wasn’t telling them to be on their guard for yeast used in making bread. No, he was telling them to watch out for the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 16:5-12, Common English Bible).

Jesus often used metaphors that would have been familiar to His listeners. He used fishing as a metaphor when recruiting disciples who were fishermen, “fishing for people.” He called his followers sheep. He talked about living water. There are many others as well, including the metaphor in our lesson today.

In today’s lesson Jesus uses yeast as a metaphor to point out the dangers we face when listening to the wrong teachers. For many of us, the metaphor isn’t completely familiar. I don’t think I have ever baked a loaf of bread. I have made some biscuits a few times in my life, but I don’t think I have ever baked a loaf of bread. And, I am not alone. We live in a time when we can run to the grocery store at a drop of a hat and buy a loaf.

I do, however, understand the concept. In order for the yeast to fulfill its function, it has to spread through all the dough. The leavening agent cannot be in half the dough. We might have some strange looking and perhaps even some strange tasting bread if we were to try it in that manner. What may leave us shaking our heads at Jesus’ metaphor is, when we see yeast in bread we consider that a good thing. Our bread would be pretty plat without it.

On the other hand, Jesus used the metaphor to point out a negative idea. The Pharisees and Sadducees, as well as other legal experts and teachers of the law were not teaching the concepts of grace and love, the things Jesus came to teach, that the world might know. The Pharisees and Sadducees knew their stuff. Of that, there is little doubt. But their primary focus was on living out the law, something that was impossible to do, and to not live out grace. The teaching, at best, was incomplete. It was wrong. And that wrong, Jesus was saying, left unchecked would spread through the body just as yeast spreads through bread dough.

We may not have Pharisees, Sadducees, legal experts and teachers of the law today, at least not all of them in the same ways Jesus and the disciples had to deal with them. But, we still do have false teachers. We have those who still try to teach a message of an angry God instead of a God that the Bible tells us is love. We have those who teach a prosperity gospel that essentially says, if you have enough faith God wants to give you every desire of your heart. It simply isn’t true. It is like yeast spreading through the bread dough. We too must beware of the yeast that is false teachers.

What false teachings have you learned to guard against?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Peace,

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Published by drjkbroyles

I love Mike Ashcraft's book, "My One Word." For the past nine years I have participated and encouraged others to participate to in the "My One Word" Challenge. My first word was discipline was my word the first year. Since then my word has been focus, sight, jungle, peace, concentration, serve, genuine and this year is fit. I seek to be fit for my health, my family, my church, my ministries. I seek to be fit in any are of my life where God might point to me. I also have a nickname, "Dr. B." When I was a public high school teacher, Dr. B. is what most of my students called me, at least in my presence. I am still called that by many people though I no longer teach in public schools. I am the author of "Average Joe: With an Extraordinary Story" (available on Amazon). The book fits into the genre of "Biblical Fiction" or "Christian Fiction" and features some of the Bible's lesser known characters. The name of my blog is, "Fork in the Road." Life is filled with forks in the road. It isn't a matter of if we encounter a fork in the road, but when will we and how many will we experience in a lifetime. I love to strum my guitar. I am not a great guitar player but I enjoy it. I also enjoy writing music. I get excited with I feel a new song emerging. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog, "Bishop" in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 30 years as a United Methodist pastor, serving churches all over east and southeast Texas, from just north of Tyler to south of Houston, from the Gulf Coast to east of Madisonville. I currently serve Perritte Memorial UMC in Nacogdoches. I spent one year in the classroom, teaching High School government, economics, psychology, and sociology. Cindy and I have been married for 43 years. We have two grown sons and six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. I enjoy preaching and all it's aspects from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading. I have dabble in drawing and "painting" with pastels as well as woodworking and woodcarving. My current projects are two ukuleles. I collect, repair and restore guitars too. I play the guitar (badly, but I still do) I also enjoy working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. This blog started out as devotional writings. In August of 2020, I made a major change to the blog, switching to a daily theme format. Sunday Sermon-usually my manuscript sermon Miscellaneous Monday-misc. writing, poetry, ministry Tuesday Thoughts-Devotion Wed. with Wesleys-hist. & theol. of early Methodists TED Talk Thursday-Video & appl. in current theology Five for Friday-5 things I've seen & my thoughts Sing-Along Sat. - Usually a new song I have written I write, "Strumming a G-Chord with Dr.B." to get my thoughts onto something permanent. After all, they say, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. Seeking the Genuine, Keith Lufkin, Texas August 2020

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