The disciples missed the message. All of their attention was centered on the temporal need for food, even though Jesus consistently taught them differently.
“Why all these worried whispers and missed messages about forgetting the bread?”
These are some of Jesus’ words in the Message version of the sixteenth chapter of Matthew. The disciples misinterpreted what Jesus meant when He advised them to be cautious concerning the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees. They whispered to each other, worried He was scolding them for forgetting to bring bread along with them.
Jesus immediately explained to them what He was referring to but initially, they missed a few things:
They Missed the Message
Jesus instructed them to be ready for the wrong teachings they were sure to encounter. He said, “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Just as adding even a little bit of yeast makes a substantial impact in the bread-making process, the Pharisees and Sadducees’ teachings could have a powerful and negative effect on listeners’ hearts. The disciples missed the metaphor and jumped to the conclusion that He was reprimanding them for forgetting to buy bread. All of their attention was centered on the temporal need for food, even though Jesus consistently taught that true fulfillment comes from the Living Bread.
They Missed the Miraculous
The disciples’ concern about not having enough bread seems odd, especially considering they were recent front-row spectators for the miraculous feedings of 4000 and 5000 people. Lack of food in these instances turned into miracles that produced baskets upon baskets of leftovers, yet when they faced what they thought might be another food-shortage situation, their worried whispers expressed thoughts of, “Oh no, we forgot to bring enough bread…whatever will we do?”
They Missed the Miracle-Maker
I chuckled when I read that the disciples whispered. They forgot He knew all – including what they were whispering about. And in worrying about how the situation was going to turn out, they forgot that the miracle-performing Son of God had it all under control.
I’ll admit that reading about the disciples’ obliviousness made me wonder how they could be so unaware. It soon dawned on me, however, that I could relate to them! I have been a worried whisperer at times in my own life when I have missed the message, the miracle, and the Miracle-Maker, even though they were right in front of me.
This realization inspired me to make a new resolution. Instead of missing God’s messages and miracles, I resolve to be mindful of what He is teaching and motivated by Him faithfully waiting for us to turn to Him and trust Him. May our worried whispers turn into testimonies of trust.
“Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Matthew 16:6 (NIV)