Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test Jesus they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. And evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” Then he left them and went away.
When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. Jesus said to them, “Watch out, and beware the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” They said to one another, “It is because we have brought no bread.” And becoming aware of it, Jesus said, “You of little faith, why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? How could you fail to perceive that I was not speaking about bread? Beware the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees!” Then they understood that he had not to them to beware of the yeast of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Strange. This is the second time the Pharisees have asked for a sign, yet Jesus responded with nearly the exact same words as the first time. “You shouldn’t need proof!” He says. “Look around you, look at everything happening. The proof is right there!” God sends us signs, but we have to be open to them. Otherwise we will see them without seeing them, as the Pharisees did. Yet, the only sign we need in order to believe is the sign of Jonah: that Jesus was dead, but on the third day He rose.
The Pharisees didn’t understand the signs God was sending them, and because of that their teachings became like poison. But here’s the thing about teachings: like yeast, they spread. Their false teachings about Jesus weren’t just hurting themselves, they had the potential to hurt anyone who heard them! Then those people would share, and the people they shared with would share, and so on. Just like yeast causes bread to rise, so did the Pharisees cause lies about Jesus to rise. That’s how they were able to get Him executed eventually, even though Pilate wanted to let Him go.
And that’s why we need to be so careful to think critically about the things being taught to us. Wrong teachings spread like a cancer, goodness knows the Westboro Baptist Church is proof of that. We must arm ourselves with scripture and understanding, and listen to everything with a critical ear. Remember, if they’re not backing it up with scripture, be wary.
I think it’s so funny that after everything, the disciples are still worried about food. Like Jesus can’t take care of that! But don’t we do the same thing? In the midst of Spiritual warfare between God and the Devil for our souls, we worry about money, or college, or cars, or clothes. When will we learn that God can handle all that? When we will learn instead to focus on taking care of our souls? Jesus has both said and shown time and time again that God can and will take care of us. We need to start trusting that and start looking inward, to how we can help win the battle for our Salvation. And in the end, isn’t that way more important than bread anyway?