How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye 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 16:11-12
And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened? Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?Mark 8:17-18
I think Jesus could have used any situation to prompt this teaching but this was the perfect one because it shows the danger of dabbling in false teaching and men’s philosophies. Leaven permeates the entire loaf of bread even if it but a small portion added. There is great danger in adding even the smallest amount of men’s philosophies, opinions, or practices into the worship of God. That small influence overtime may take over and make it where we can no longer tell what is truth or lie. Further, fluffy bread sure looks good, doesn’t it? False doctrines do too until they have corrupted you and made you sick!
The devil is not going to make a full frontal assault on a student of the Bible. He knows that he will not get very far. But, if he can make us doubt the word of God even a little, he has a foot in the door for further influence down the road. This means first of all, if we are not good Bible students, we are sitting ducks for the devil! If we do study the Bible, we need to be sure we compare everything else we read, see, or hear to the Bible.
We cannot think that these outside influences are “no big deal.” Consider what the Apostle Paul said:
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;1st Timothy 4:1
False doctrines come from the father of lies himself, the devil!
Mark’s account includes a statement Jesus makes that is not in Matthew that I find very interesting. On other occasions, Jesus used the same metaphor of eyes and ears when referring to those who were clearly dead in their sins. However, He now uses the same metaphor for His disciples who do have spiritual eyes and ears. This is because none of us are immune to the dangers of following false teaching. We need to continually remind ourselves that God has saved us by His grace alone. We did not help God, therefore we cannot take credit for any good in us.
As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:Colossians 2:6
We received Christ by grace in the power and wisdom of God. Therefore, we need to walk in that grace in thankful and godly living. We do not need to seek anything else for peace, comfort, and contentment in our lives. Jesus is our wisdom, our righteousness, our justification, our King, our Redeemer, our Savior, our Friend, and… He is our All in All!
One more point to consider – Jesus takes this occasion to remind His disciples because He knew what He was about to ask them and where they are heading when they leave Galilee. Jesus is going to ask them their opinion of who He is. That fundamental question will shape the life of every person on earth. Further, they are slowly making their way toward Jerusalem where the attacks from Satan and unbelievers will grow stronger.
Isn’t it comforting to know that our All in All knows when we need to understand more about Him and prepares us for the enemy yet unseen?