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Matthew 16:5-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Watch Out for the Leaven of False Teaching

Matthew 16:5-12 – Watch Out for the Leaven of False Teaching

|| Mark 8:14-21; Luke 12:1

MT16:5 Now the disciples arrived on the other side of the lake and they forgot to bring loaves of bread with them. MT16:6 So, Jesus told them, “Watch and pay attention regarding the leaven[1] of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” MT16:7 The disciples now carried on a dialogue among themselves, “We brought no loaves of bread.” MT16:8 Realizing what they were talking about, Jesus said to them, “Men of very small faith,[2] why are you having this dialogue just because you did not bring loaves of bread? MT16:9 Do you not perceive[3] or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many surplus baskets you gathered? MT16:10 Or the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many surplus baskets you gathered? MT16:11 Why do you not realize that I was not speaking about loaves of bread? Rather, be alert regarding[4] the ‘leaven’ of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” MT16:12 Then the disciples finally got the point that Jesus was not talking about the leaven of loaves but rather the teaching of[5] the Pharisees and Sadducees.

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[1] Leaven: Compare Mark 8:15 where Jesus includes the party followers of Herod; and, Luke 12:1 where “hypocrisy” is included. See notes on Matthew 13:33.

[2] Men of very small faith: See notes on Matthew 8:26.

[3] Do you not perceive: One gets the feeling that the miracle of feeding the crowds was more of an object lesson for the apostles.

[4] Be alert regarding: Jesus believed in Biblical Truth and made no effort to compromise his teachings with others. He wanted his disciples to pay close attention to what others taught and view as ‘leaven’ (or corrupt doctrines) those teachings or manners which did not line up with his own teachings.

[5] The teaching of: Jesus has mentioned three groups in this context. Regarding the Pharisees (self-righteous conservatives) Josephus records: “And so great is (the Pharisees’) influence with the masses that even when they speak against a king or high priest, they immediately gain credence.” [Jewish Antiquities, XIII, 288 (x, 5)] “They believe that souls have power to survive death and that there are rewards and punishments under the earth for those who have led lives of virtue or vice: eternal imprisonment is the lot of evil souls, while the good souls receive an easy passage to a new life.” (Jewish Antiquities, XVIII, 14 [i, 3]) “Every soul, they maintain, is imperishable, but the soul of the good alone passes into another body, while the souls of the wicked suffer eternal punishment.… [The Pharisees] attribute everything to Fate and to God; they hold that to act rightly or otherwise rests, indeed, for the most part with men, but that in each action Fate co-operates.” [The Jewish War, II, 162, 163 (viii, 14)]

            Sadducees (liberal free-thinkers) ‘denied the workings of fate, maintaining that an individual, by his own actions, was solely responsible for what befell him.’ [Jewish Antiquities, XIII, 172, 173 (v, 9)] They ‘rejected the many oral traditions observed by the Pharisees and also Pharisaic belief in the immortality of the soul and in punishments or rewards after death. In their dealings with one another, the Sadducees were somewhat rough. They were said to be disputatious. According to Josephus, their teachings appealed to the wealthy.’ [Jewish Antiquities, XIII, 298 (x, 6); XVIII, 16, 17 (i, 4); The Jewish War, II, 162-166 (viii, 14)]

            Herodians (political) are unknown in secular history but much involved in the politics of Jesus’ homeland. Compare Matthew 12:9-14; Matthew 22:15-22; Mark 3:1-6; Luke 20:21-26.

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Preceding

Matthew 12:9-21 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Is It Lawful to Cure on the Sabbath?

Matthew 13:33 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Fermented Whole

Matthew 16 Asking for signs from heaven

Matthew 16 Calvin’s view

Matthew 16 Spurgeon’s view

Matthew 16:1-4 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Signs of the Times

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Matthew 8:23-27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Jesus Calms a Stormy Sea

Matthew 8:23-27 – Jesus Calms a Stormy Sea

|| Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25

MT8:23 Jesus’ disciples followed him as he embarked into the boat. MT8:24 And, look! a great disturbance[1] occurred in the sea and the boat was about to be swamped[2] by the [storm] waves. But Jesus was sleeping.[3] MT8:25 They approached Jesus and aroused him, saying, “Master, save us, for we are being destroyed!” MT8:26 And Jesus told them, “Why are you frightened,[4] you with little faith?”[5] Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea and a great calm occurred. MT8:27 But, these men wondered, saying, “What kind of person[6] is this that the winds and the sea obey him?”

[1] A great disturbance: The Greek is SEISMOS MEGAS as in a shaking, a great earthquake.

[2] About to be swamped: The Greek is literally “covered” indicating the height of the waves. The Sea of Galilee is capable of great and sudden storms. Only a person who is been in such a storm realizes the range of emotions among these seasoned fishermen. They surely were used to foul weather.

[3] Sleeping: Imagine the Nazarene’s dreams in such slumber surrounded by danger.

[4] Frightened: The Greek is DEILOI and is variously rendered: DIA: timid, KJV: fearful; RIEU: cowards

[5] Little faith: Some render the phrase: PME: little-faiths.

[6] What kind of person: They never think he is God.

Jesus calms the storm

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Preceding

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:12-17 – Galilee Saw A Great Light

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:23-25 – Kingdom Preaching and Healing Draws Crowds

Matthew 8:1-4 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Jesus a Miracle-working Son of God

Matthew 8:5-13 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Servant of Army Officer Healed

Matthew 8:14-17 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Jesus Heals Peter’s Mother-in-law

Matthew 8:18-22 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Two Would-be Followers

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Further reading

  1. Storm Coming In
  2. When the storm is rocking your boat
  3. Matthew 8:23-27
  4. When your life is threatened (Matthew 8:23-27)
  5. Calming the Storm
  6. Peace Be Still
  7. But It’s Impossible
  8. How much does love weigh?
  9. Prayer- Lord Save Us, We Are Going Down (Matthew 8.23-27)
  10. After the Storm

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