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Jesus and the Twelve Disciples

When Jesus and the disciples went across the Sea of Galilee, they forgot to take bread with them. Jesus told them,

“Be careful. Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

Jesus rebukes the PhariseesThe disciples discussed this among themselves. They assumed Jesus told them this because they had forgotten to bring bread on their trip. Aware of the discussion, Jesus said,

“You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand and how many basketfuls you gathered afterward? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand and how many basketfuls you gathered afterward? How is it that you don’t understand that I wasn’t talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

The disciples then understood that Jesus was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread but against the teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

What the story means to us today

The Bible, not man’s interpretation of it, is the final authority

Jesus and the Twelve DisciplesThe Pharisees were desperately confused in their interpretation of Old Testament scripture. Compounding the problem, they formally created their own official interpretations which they taught to the Jews as standardized oral tradition (and later written). Jesus’ mission was, in part, to correct the Israelites’ misunderstanding of biblical scripture.

Today, many continue to misinterpret scripture, handpicking only certain biblical lessons, interpreting verses literally rather than spiritually, or taking small, isolated fragments of scripture out of context. The Bible cannot be dissected word by word, verse by verse nor can interpretation be forced to fit our inclinations or modern societal norms. The Word must be taken as a whole and consumed with prayer.

Additional thoughts and considerations

You of little faith

The disciples naturally fretted over their mistake (forgetting to bring food on the boat). To Jesus, who had miraculously supplied food on two occasions already, this showed a remarkable lack of faith. It is human nature to worry over self-preservation. But when something it out of our hands, it is pointless to fret over it. Instead, we should pray and exercise faith.

Even disciples struggle with faith

Jesus and the Twelve DisciplesThe disciples are sometimes referred to by Jesus as “those of little faith”. The disciples had faith, but they were still growing in spirit. Like many of us today, they had a long way to go in order to become one of “great faith’.

Bible Text

NIV

5 When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. 6 “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

7 They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.”

8 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? 9 Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 11 How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

The New International Version. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011. Print.

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Jesus and the Twelve DisciplesThe NET Bible

16:5 When the disciples went to the other side, they forgot to take bread. 16:6 “Watch out,” Jesus said to them, “beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 16:7 So they began to discuss this among themselves, saying, “It is because we brought no bread.” 16:8 When Jesus learned of this, he said, “You who have such little faith! Why are you arguing among yourselves about having no bread? 16:9 Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you took up? 16:10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand and how many baskets you took up? 16:11 How could you not understand that I was not speaking to you about bread? But beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees!” 16:12 Then they understood that he had not told them to be on guard against the yeast in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Biblical Studies Press. The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press, 2006. Print.

New King James Version

5 Now when His disciples had come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. 6 Then Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”

7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have taken no bread.”

8 But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread? 9 Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? 10 Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up? 11 How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?—but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print.

Jesus and the Twelve Disciples at a tableThe Message

5–6 On their way to the other side of the lake, the disciples discovered they had forgotten to bring along bread. In the meantime, Jesus said to them, “Keep a sharp eye out for Pharisee-Sadducee yeast.”

7–12 Thinking he was scolding them for forgetting bread, they discussed in whispers what to do. Jesus knew what they were doing and said, “Why all these worried whispers about forgetting the bread? Runt believers! Haven’t you caught on yet? Don’t you remember the five loaves of bread and the five thousand people, and how many baskets of fragments you picked up? Or the seven loaves that fed four thousand, and how many baskets of leftovers you collected? Haven’t you realized yet that bread isn’t the problem? The problem is yeast, Pharisee-Sadducee yeast.” Then they got it: that he wasn’t concerned about eating, but teaching—the Pharisee-Sadducee kind of teaching.

Peterson, Eugene H. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2005. Print.

King James Version

5 And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. 6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. 7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. 8 Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? 9 Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 11 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? 12 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.

The Holy Bible: King James Version. Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009. Print.

Sources: NIV, The Message, The NET Bible, King James Version, NET Bible Notes, Faithlife Study Bible, The Apologetics Study Bible, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary, The Bible Reader’s Companion, Matthew Henry’s Commentary, Holman Concise Bible Commentary, The Bible Exposition Commentary, The Teacher’s Bible Commentary, The Teacher’s Commentary, The Bible Guide, Word Studies in the New Testament, Holman Bible Handbook, Calvin Commentaries, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines, The New Manner and Customs of the Bible, Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, The Lexham Bible Dictionary, Easton’s Bible Dictionary, Harper’s Bible Dictionary, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, The Archaeological Encyclopedia, Biblical Archaeology Review, The New Bible Dictionary, The Lexham Analytical Lexicon, Glossary of Morpho-Syntactic Database
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