When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.” Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “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? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 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.” 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.
We Must Understand Jesus’ Words Correctly
You must understand the meaning of the Word and then take action on it. Jesus told his disciples to be on guard against those who are like the Pharisees or Sadducees. The Pharisees who engaged in superficial and hypocritical faith preached and prayed in the squares to show off. In addition, the teachings of the Sadducees were different from the teachings of Jesus. They were Satan’s teachings and doctrines that cause rot like yeast. They were teachings that criticized Jesus’ own teachings.
If you learn the teachings and opinions of those who practice hypocritical faith or those who teach incorrectly because of corrupt faith, then like yeast, their words will immediately rot your faith and your heart. People who slander others, talk badly behind people’s backs, or say things away from clean consciences are all rotting people. Their words cause people’s lives to rot like yeast does.
Bread Is a Parable for the Word
Feeding the 5,000 with the five loaves and feeding the 4,000 with seven loaves was not done with the bread that one eats. Jesus had fed the large crowds with the “bread of life”–in other words, the Word of God. He was reminding His disciples of that miracle while emphasizing that He was not talking about actual bread.
In the Bible Jesus always likened His Word to bread (John 6:48, Matthew 16:11). In John 6:33;35 Jesus said, “For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
In John 6:26-27, Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
Do Not Be Deceived by the Pharisees and Sadducees of This Time Period
The teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees were the rotting yeast. Jesus was, in fact, asking His disciples to be on guard against the rotten teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees that readily corrupt others. If people were to listen to the false teachings, their faith, salvation, and hearts would rot. That is why Jesus gathered crowds of 4,000 and 5,000 people, taught them the Word by breaking it down item by item, and performed the miracle of the Word so that they would not accept the rotten teachings.
The same is true in this time period. If you listen to the words of those who are like the Pharisees and Sadducees, then your faith will rot and die. When one’s faith changes or becomes corrupt, they will say changed or corrupted words. They will use God’s Word to criticize others rather than criticizing themselves. So pray diligently and discern if the message might be talking about you. Repent if you feel guilty in any way. Only when people understand the meaning of Jesus’ words correctly will they come to life properly. Only then will they realize, take action, and not listen to words that corrupt.