In our home, my wife and I have a magnetic dry erase board on our refrigerator that we use as a shopping list and add items to throughout the week. When one of us goes to the grocery store, we take a picture of the list to ensure we don’t forget anything.
Yet somehow, I still manage to miss some… actually, more than I’m comfortable admitting. And it’s very embarrassing when I come home and Sarah notices an item isn’t present (“Did you get the popcorn?”) and I have no answer. Somehow, it just slipped my mind.
I think this is how the disciples felt in Matthew 16. After Jesus debated the Pharisees and Sadducees who tried to test Him into giving them a sign from Heaven, He and the disciples crossed a lake on a boat. During this journey, the disciples discovered they’d forgotten to buy bread, so they had no food. This realization certainly sent a shiver down their spine.
Who was going to be the one to tell their Lord that they hadn’t double-checked the grocery list?
Jesus, still frustrated from the encounter with the religious leaders, warned the disciples to be on guard of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees (an analogy we covered in Day 17 of this study). The disciples, more concerned with the current state than their spiritual future, whispered amongst themselves that Jesus was admonishing them for not bringing the bread.
Quick side note: the all-powerful God of the universe sat in the same boat. How did the disciples think they could discuss this matter without Him knowing? But I digress…
Jesus overheard them and said, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the fives loaves for the 5,000 (Matthew 14:13-21) or the seven loaves for the 4,000 (Matthew 15:29-39)? 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 the Sadducees.”
I can’t totally blame the disciples for their misunderstanding. Their minds were already concerned with the bread supply, then Jesus brought up yeast, a critical component in bread making. It’s easy to see how their minds wandered from the point He was trying to make.
Jesus’ teachings aren’t always easy to understand. He often spoke in parables, the meaning of which Biblical scholars still debate to this day. And, as the disciples did, it’s easy to allow our current circumstances to affect how we view Jesus’ message.
This is why it’s so important to be intentional when you read the Bible. Pray that God would clear your mind and allow Him to speak to you. Read verses multiple times until you feel you better understand them. Inspect each and every word – you never know when the Holy Spirit will use one to completely change your comprehension of a passage, even one you’ve read dozens of times.
And don’t be embarrassed if you leave the grocery store without getting everything on the list. You’re human. You’re going to misinterpret things, and that’s OK.
As long as you seek God’s truth, He’ll reveal to you what He needs to.