+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Opening: (A Collect for Sabbath Rest – Saturday)
Almighty God, who after the creation of the world rested from all your works and set aside a day of rest for all your creatures: Grant that we, putting away all earthly anxieties, may be duly prepared to meet you in worship, and that our rest here upon earth may be a preparation for the eternal rest promised to your people in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Morning Reading: Matthew 15:29-16:12 (NLT)
Jesus Heals Many People
Jesus returned to the Sea of Galilee and climbed a hill and sat down. A vast crowd brought to him people who were lame, blind, crippled, those who couldn’t speak, and many others. They laid them before Jesus, and he healed them all. The crowd was amazed! Those who hadn’t been able to speak were talking, the crippled were made well, the lame were walking, and the blind could see again! And they praised the God of Israel.
Jesus Feeds Four Thousand
Then Jesus called his disciples and told them, “I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry, or they will faint along the way.”
The disciples replied, “Where would we get enough food here in the wilderness for such a huge crowd?”
Jesus asked, “How much bread do you have?”
They replied, “Seven loaves, and a few small fish.”
So Jesus told all the people to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, thanked God for them, and broke them into pieces. He gave them to the disciples, who distributed the food to the crowd.
They all ate as much as they wanted. Afterward, the disciples picked up seven large baskets of leftover food. There were 4,000 men who were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children. Then Jesus sent the people home, and he got into a boat and crossed over to the region of Magadan.
Leaders Demand a Miraculous Sign
One day the Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus, demanding that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority.
He replied, “You know the saying, ‘Red sky at night means fair weather tomorrow; red sky in the morning means foul weather all day.’ You know how to interpret the weather signs in the sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the signs of the times! Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign, but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah.” Then Jesus left them and went away.
Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees
Later, after they crossed to the other side of the lake, the disciples discovered they had forgotten to bring any bread. “Watch out!” Jesus warned them. “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
At this they began to argue with each other because they hadn’t brought any bread. Jesus knew what they were saying, so he said, “You have so little faith! Why are you arguing with each other about having no bread? Don’t you understand even yet? Don’t you remember the 5,000 I fed with five loaves, and the baskets of leftovers you picked up? Or the 4,000 I fed with seven loaves, and the large baskets of leftovers you picked up? Why can’t you understand that I’m not talking about bread? So again I say, ‘Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’”
Then at last they understood that he wasn’t speaking about the yeast in bread, but about the deceptive teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Then at last they understood that he wasn’t speaking about the yeast in bread,
but about the deceptive teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
– Matthew 16:12 –
Believers today live as strangers and aliens in a world permeated with lies and deception – fake news and false witnesses are everywhere both inside and outside the church. Perhaps the most outrageous are the pretenders – those who claim to be believers but seek to devour people of faith and good will.
Jesus’ warning against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees addressed the deceivers of his time. His point was that their deceit didn’t simply affect them, it affected everyone who listened to them and gave them credence. Lies and deception, fake news and false witnesses are like cancer cells that metastasize and eventually kill the entire body.
So what are believers to do? Watch out! Use our minds to think critically – ask yourself
+ Is it true? Does what is being said conform to the revealed will of God? Does it glorify God?
+ Is it consistent? Does what is being said now jibe with what was said earlier? Does it edify believers?
“Watch out!” Jesus warned them.
“Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
Questions for consideration:
- Do you consider yourself a stranger and alien in this world? Please explain.
- Can you identify some of the liars and deceivers in your part of the world? Please explain.
- How have these liars and deceivers affected people of faith and goodwill around you? Please explain.
- Once identified, how can you respond to the liars and deceivers in your world? Please explain.
Morning Prayer: For Those Who Inform Public Opinion
Almighty God, your truth endures from age to age: Direct in our time, we pray, those who speak where many listen and write what many read; that they may speak your truth to make the heart of this people wise, its mind discerning, and its will righteous; to the honor of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
“Jesus Is Better” – Austin Stone
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen