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

Matthew 16:5-6

Jesus can really make you scratch your head sometimes. While his disciples were worried about the physical absence of real bread, Jesus answered with some spiritual lesson. Beware the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. What did that have to do with eating? Sometimes it looked like Jesus’ mind was lost in thought and a word would trigger an idea- in this case bread made him think of leaven.

The disciples were left confused which explains the next verse:

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

Matthew 16:7

Now we could unpack the words of Jesus and try and discover the meaning behind it, or we could just stay with this little interaction and learn from that. Let’s do the second.

How many times have you read a verse in the Bible, gotten confused and simply let it go? It’s easy to read on and find something that you do understand. Although that will probably make you feel better, it keeps you from truly learning and growing.

The Bible should be a challenge. It should be a struggle. Don’t forget that you are reading the words of God. Jacob wrestled with God all night for a blessing, we should be able to wrestle for a few minutes or even hours to gain the same.

The good news is that even the disciples, who lived with Jesus for years, were often confused by his words. We’re in good company. The difference is that they were physically with him and so were able to hear his explanations after the fact.

That is where prayer and study comes in. Like the disciples who simply spent time with Jesus and learned the difficult ideas, we too can do the same. Praying and reading and spending time in God’s word will bring the answers that we seek. They also build a relationship with God.

Next time you are with God in the Bible and he says something confusing, don’t ignore him and move on. Stay a while and hear what he has to say. There is a blessing for those who do.


God bless,

Pr. Steven Couto