Matthew: Jesus As Israel's Messiah And His Kingdom

Part XIV: Christ As Israel's Messiah Seen By The Opposition To His Ministry, Matthew 11:2-16:12

Q. Christ As Israel's Messiah By His Warning Of The Corrupting Influence Of Faithless, Worldly Views

(Matthew 16:5-12)


I.                 Introduction

A.    When Jesus countered an effort by the Pharisees and Sadducees to entrap Him into producing a sign from heaven, He saw their unbelief and its resulting worldly view as a threat toward corrupting His own disciples.

B.     However, when Christ then warned His disciples of that corrupting influence, His warning was met by similar spiritual problems already existing in His disciples, so Jesus addressed them with an important lesson for us:

II.              Christ As Israel's Messiah By His Warning Of The Corrupting Influence Of Faithless, Worldly Views.

A.    After critiquing the unbelief and resulting worldly views of the Pharisees and Sadducees, Jesus left them to cross the Sea of Galilee, warning His disciples to beware of the "leaven" of such apostates, Matt. 16:4-5a, 6.

B.     The disciples had neglected to bring any bread for their next meal, so they reasoned that Jesus was warning them about purchasing any literally leavened bread from the Pharisees and Sadducees, Matthew 1:5b, 7.

C.     In effect, the disciples themselves thus signaled they were already adopting the errant type of thinking of Jesus' foes, and, sensing this, Jesus quickly corrected them, offering great application for us, Matthew 16:8-12:

1.      Perceiving that His disciples had concluded that He had warned them against buying literally leavened bread from the apostate religious leaders He had recently condemned, Jesus addressed two problems behind such an errant view, both of which had developed into full apostasy in those Jesus had condemned:

                             a.         First, like the Pharisees and Sadducees, the disciples lacked faith in Jesus, failing to heed the full Biblical implications of His miracles: (1) Jesus critiqued the smallness of His disciples' faith that had led to their errant conclusion, Matt. 16:8a.  (2) Thus, like the Pharisees and Sadducees who had faithlessly failed to see the Biblical validity of Jesus' identity by His miracles that fulfilled Bible prophecy (cf. Matthew 11:4-6 with Isaiah 35:4-6; 61:1), the disciples had failed to note Jesus' intent to meet their future meal needs by His work in the miracles of the feeding of the five thousand and that of the four thousand as they had then taken up extra baskets of fragments for use in later meals, Matt. 16:9-10.  The disciples should have trusted Jesus would meet their future meal needs regardless if they had forgotten to take bread, for He had already done so twice before, and by way of very public, great miracles!

                            b.         Second, like the religious apostates Jesus had just condemned, the disciples' lack of faith in His future provision had led to an errant, worldly view: (1) the Pharisees and Sadducees had overlooked how Jesus had fulfilled Old Testament prophecy by His miraculous healing signs so as to seek a tangible sign from the heavens, a sign that would humanly impress them, fulfilling their lusts of the eyes and pride of life! (Matthew 16:1 with 1 John 2:15-16)  (2) Similarly, the disciples had overlooked Jesus' provisions of food in other occasions when they had forgotten to bring bread, so they reasoned that He was warning them about the evils of buying literally leavened bread from the apostates, an errant, prideful conclusion!

2.      Accordingly, after recalling His work in producing enough food for future meals in the two miracles of the feeding of the multitudes, Jesus asked how His disciples did not understand that He was not speaking of literal bread, but of the figurative spiritual "leaven" of the Pharisees and Sadducees, Matthew 16:11.

3.      The disciples then understood He was not warning about literal bread, but about the "doctrine" of the apostates, Matt. 16:12 KJV.  The Greek New Testament word for "doctrine" is didache, "what is taught, instruction" (U. B. S. Grk. N. T., 1966, p. 62; Arndt & Gingrich, A Grk.-Eng. Lex. of N. T., 1967, p. 191.

4.      However, since Jesus was warning His disciples about the corruptive influence of the worldly view of His foes' teaching, which viewpoint arises from unbelief, and since Jesus directly countered the unbelief in His disciples that leads to such errant, worldly teaching, we know that He meant to correct BOTH (a) unbelief in Scripture and Himself AND (b) earthly, worldly, lustful teaching that RESULTS from such unbelief!


Lesson: Similar to the apostate Pharisees and Sadducees Jesus had condemned, His disciples (1) failed Biblically to trust in Jesus by His miracles, (2) leading to an errant, worldly viewpoint.  Jesus thus exposed their unbelief to correct their worldly view and lead them to the truth and away from the eventual apostasy of the religious leaders.


Application: May we (1) believe God's Word and discern His Biblical actions that align with it (2) to live free of errant, worldly beliefs that can eventually lead us into full-blown spiritual apostasy!