Leaven of the Pharisees – Gospel Reflection on Matthew 16:6

Leaven of the Pharisees, Jesus and His disciples,

Today’s Gospel

Then Jesus said to them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. – Matthew 16:6


In what context did the Lord Jesus speak the words? It is written in the Bible, “Which when Jesus perceived, he said to them, O you of little faith, why reason you among yourselves, because you have brought no bread? Do you not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets you took up? Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets you took up? How is it that you do not understand that I spoke it not to you concerning bread, that you should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees” (Matthew 16:8-12). The Pharisees and the Sadducees were the high-level people in the church at that time, but why did the Lord Jesus teach His disciples to beware of them?

When the Lord Jesus was working, He performed many miracles. The Pharisees and Sadducees, seeing many people follow the Lord Jesus, wished to still keep their positions and jobs. Therefore, they continuously fabricated lots of rumors against Him and slandered and condemned Him. However, the foolish Jewish people, after hearing the rumors, had no discernment and couldn’t maintain a firm stance. They followed the Pharisees and the Sadducees to deny and judge Him. Under that background, the Lord Jesus said to His disciples, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees” (Matthew 16:6).

The Jewish people, because of being deceived by the rumors of the Pharisees and the Sadducees, followed them to nail the Lord Jesus to the cross, becoming those who resisted and condemned God. In the end, the entire nation suffered the destruction. The disciples of the Lord Jesus recognized that He was the coming Messiah from His work and words; they saw through the Pharisees and the Sadducees’ tricks of making rumors, and followed the Lord Jesus steadfastly. Faced with rumors, their two different attitudes determined their different fate. We should learn lessons from this so that we won’t miss out on the second coming of Jesus because of rumors when meeting His appearance and work.

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