Matthew 16, Mark 8, Luke 9:18-27
It’s so easy to poke fun at the Pharisees and religious leaders. To an outsider looking in, reading about events after the fact, we can pinpoint their failures and hopefully learn how NOT to act!
Right after Jesus miraculously fed four thousand people using only seven loaves of bread and a few fish, with seven basketfuls of leftovers, the Pharisees went to Jesus and asked him for….wait for it….a SIGN from heaven. As if feeding a huge crowd of people with a meager amount of food didn’t qualify as a sign? As if healing the sick, restoring sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and speaking to the deaf weren’t enough signs for them? These people were never satisfied, were they?
Oh, but Jesus knew our tendency to be like them. He warned his disciples — and us — to beware of falling into their way of thinking….to beware of their “yeast.”
Yeast has a way of creeping in everywhere. Before we slap those Pharisees down, let’s take a look at our own hearts and our own lives. Are you a fair weather friend of Jesus? Or a friend no matter what? When sorrows (and pain) come on you in your life, how do you respond to them? Do you look ahead to your healing, to a time when the Lord will work out everything to His glory? Or do you shake your fist at God and blame him? Do you allow your fear and your hurt to color your understanding of Who He Is? Do you bargain with Him, telling him that because (blank) has happened, you have decided to NOT believe in Him unless he (blank)…i.e., gives you a sign? Or do you keep your eyes and ears open for signs all around you?
It’s been rough feeling like a pincushion these past few days/weeks/months. I am tempted to shake my own fist. I’ve asked for healing, repeatedly. I’ve wept, wondering why it hasn’t come. But in my weakness I need to let Him make me strong. I need to beware of the yeast of the Pharisees. I need to guard against tying my faith in Him to whether or not He answers my prayers in the way that I want them answered. Jesus is not my lap dog. He is my Savior, and I look to him for wisdom, relief, and healing…even if it takes until I reach the other side.