Return to Bible Studies

Matthew 15:22-38  A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”  (23)  Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”  (24)  He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”  (25)  The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.  (26)  He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”  (27)  “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”  (28)  Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment. 

(29)  Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down.  (30)  Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them.  (31)  The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel. 

(32)  Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.”  (33)  His disciples answered, “Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?”  (34)  “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked. “Seven,” they replied, “and a few small fish.”  (35)  He told the crowd to sit down on the ground.  (36)  Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people.  (37)  They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.  (38)  The number of those who ate was four thousand men, besides women and children.

We see Jesus performed great miracles in these verses above: a demon cast out, the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. But despite such miracles demonstrating that Jesus was in fact the Son of David, the promised Messiah, the Pharisees and Sadducees were hardened. Betraying the hypocrisy in their hearts, they ask him for a sign from heaven. They claimed to believe in and serve God. But when God performed incomparable miracles—which only He can do—through Jesus, they would not accept the miracles as from God.

Matthew 16:1-28  The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.  (2)  He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’  (3)  and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.  (4)  A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.  (5)  When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread.  (6)  “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”  (7)  They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.”  (8)  Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread?  (9)  Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered?  (10)  Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered?  (11)  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.” 

It was difficult for the disciples to understand what Jesus meant by “the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” And many of us today as well do not understand it.

Luke 12:1  Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

The yeast of the Pharisees is HYPOCRISY: saying that you believe in God Almighty, but refusing to accept it when God performs incomparable miracles in the name of His Son Jesus Christ. The Pharisees were not really serving God, but rather guarding their own power and positions as leaders of Old Testament orthodoxy. Could it be that there is such hypocrisy in the Church today among leaders?

(24)  Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  (25)  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.  (26)  What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?  (27)  For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.  (28)  “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

Our eternal reward in the next age will not be determined by what we have believed in this age, but rather by what we have done for the kingdom of God after we have believed. This truth is hardly taught or heard in many churches today. Instead, in an effort to maximize the size of our congregations, the message we preach is often a watered down, hyper-grace message devoid of any teaching on obedience to the Lord’s commands—a sweetened message loved by the crowds who come only to hear how God wants to bless His people on earth.