Friday 25 August 2023

Matthew 16:5-12

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.

Come on disciples! I’m with Jesus here – how is it that they could think that Jesus was talking about literal bread, when he warns them to be on guard against the “leaven of the Pharisees”?

Jesus has previously told the disciples a parable of the leaven in Matthew 13:33, and also leaven was regularly used as a picture of sin and corruption as referenced in the Passover narrative. It almost feels like they were intentionally trying to miss the point! 

Whatever the case, it reminds us of how blind and resistant we all are to hearing the truth at times. Our pride does not like being confronted with the fact that we have weaknesses, sinful natures, and blind spots.

A blind spot is not a phrase you will find in the Bible, but it is a principle often alluded to. A blind spot is an area in our lives that is negatively impacting us (and others) but we cannot see it (or are in denial about it).

Scripture teaches us that we need the Holy Spirit’s help and also other people’s help to see our blind spots.

Galatians 6:1-3 “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 

The Bible says we are responsible for repenting of our own spiritual blind spots, but it also says that other people are crucial when it comes to identifying the flaws in ourselves that we cannot recognise.

Lord, help us to be willing to accept our weaknesses and blind spots when they come to light, and also to be willing to be brave (and loving) in helping others to see their spiritual blindness.

Written by Shelley Witt

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