Matthew 16:7

It is astonishing to us that our Lord's disciples should have been so slow to understand the simplest metaphors employed in the teaching of their Master. When he speaks of leaven, they think of baker's bread! The fact that the evangelists describe this singular backwardness is a strong evidence of the truthfulness of the Gospel writings; for it is not to be supposed that such humiliating circumstances would have been invented or imagined by a later generation which regarded the apostles with the greatest reverence. The backwardness itself must have been one of the trials of Christ; his efforts to meet it and overcome it reveal his wonderful patience and perseverance. By such means he succeeds in bringing his warning lesson home to the dullest comprehension (vers. 11, 12).


1. Evil influences in her midst. The leaven is plunged into the meal; it cannot produce any effect until it is thus mixed up with what it is to influence. We have to beware, not only of entirely external dangers, but of such as are found in the very teaching and practices of Christian people.

2. Subtle influences. The leaven is almost invisible. There is at first but "a little leaven." Obscure, unobserved influences may be the causes of much serious harm.

3. Spreading influences. The growing power of the leaven, its marvellous capacity for propagating itself, makes it a serious thing to admit but a little. Sinful ideas tend to spread and permeate Christian society when once they are permitted to exist unchecked.

II. THE LEAVEN OF EVIL MAY COME FROM RESPECTED AUTHORITIES, The Pharisees were the professed saints of their day; the Sadducces were the party of the priesthood and of the national council. Yet both of these were spoken of by our Lord as sources of evil influence. We can with difficulty picture to ourselves the immense significance of his words. It is as though the mediaeval Church were warned against the influence of the monks and priests; as though the Church of today were told that there was danger for her in the presence of the most pious looking of her communicants and the most respected of her ministers. Surely here is a warning against being misled by appearances in religion.

III. THE LEAVEN MAY ASSUME VARIOUS FORMS. It is startling to meet this conjunction of Pharisees and Sadducees, because we know that the two parties were bitterly opposed to one another; but then we also know that they were brought into a sort o partnership in their common enmity to Jesus Christ. Now, both of them are represented as constiuting the dangerous leaven.

1. Pretentious piety. This is one of the most dangerous of evil influences, because

(1) it ensnares with a show of religion, and

(2) it denies the true essence of religion. It is hypocrisy (Luke 12:1).

2. Worldly scepticism. The doubt of the typical Sadducee was not the perplexity of the serious student of truth; it was the scoffing indifference of the man of the world who did not believe in the spiritual because his whole life was absorbed in the earthly.

IV. THE DANGER OF THE LEAVEN NECESSITATES A WATCHFUL ATTITUDE. "Take heed and beware." It is not enough to cultivate Christian graces. The servant of Christ must be a soldier as well as a husbandman. He must stand as a sentry challenging all suspicious thoughts and influences. He must exercise the policeman's office in arresting the dangerous disturbers of the peace and purity of his soul. - W.F.A.

Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
I. THE LEAVEN OF THE PHARISEES. The most numerous and popular sect among the Jews. Their corruptions may, for the sake of distinction, be summed up under three heads. —

1. They were rigid predestinarians, or believers in what modern language calls philosophical necessity. Take heed.

2. They rejected the written Word of God as the only and sufficient standard of religious truth, and the guide of religious practice; and they observed the tradition of the elders, which often made this written law of node effect. Take heed, and beware of the very same leaven.

3. Their righteousness, though strict in its kind, was merely external; consisting chiefly in a multitude of ceremonious practices. How many are there like them? Beware!

II. THE LEAVEN OF THE SADDUCEES. Their heresy likewise may be described under three heads. —

1. They denied the fallen and depraved state of mankind; disputed the doctrine of hereditary corruption; and maintained that the will of man is, by nature, and without any special grace of God, as free to good as to evil

2. They not only rejected the traditions of the elders, but explained away much of the Old Testament, and thus rendered its teaching of none effect.

3. They denied the existence of angels and spirits, the resurrection of the dead, and a future state of rewards and punishments. Take heed, and beware!

(J. Bunting, D. D.)

in the following respects: —

1. They are, at first, slight and unimportant in appearance.

2. They are insinuated into the soul unawares and silently, and are difficult of detection.

3. They act gradually.

4. They act most certainly.

5. They will pervade all the soul, and bring all the faculties under their control.

(A. Barnes.)

Archbishop Whately has made reference to the remarkable fact that the caterpillars of moths and butterflies are often attacked by ichneumon flies, which pierce their skins and deposit their eggs in the caterpillar's body. No immediate result follows, and no injury seems to have been done until the period when the caterpillar becomes a chrysalis. Instead of a beautiful moth or butterfly emerging from the latter, only the parasitic insects appear. The hidden butterfly has been silently destroyed. The Archbishop's suggestive comment is — "May not a man have a kind of secret enemy within — destroying his soul without interfering with his well-being during the present stage of his existence, and whose presence may never be detected till the time arrives when the last great change should take place."

I. In this warning, it will be observed, Pharisaic and Sadducaic tendencies are identified. Jesus speaks not of the leavens, but of one common to both sects, as if they were two species of one genus, two branches from one stem. Superficially, the two parties were diverse — the one strict, the other easy, in morals. But here extremes meet. They were all hostile to the Divine kingdom. Thus to be a Christian it is not enough to differ superficially from either Pharisees or Sadducees, but to differ radically from both. A weighty truth not yet understood. To avoid Pharisaic strictness and superstition men run into Sadducaic scepticism, both equally far horn the truth. The spirit of unbelief which ruled in Jewish society Jesus described as leaven, with special reference to its diffusiveness.

II. Jesus next found new matter for annoyance in the stupidity of friends. The disciples misunderstood the warning word. "It is because we have no bread." Had they possessed more faith and spirituality they would not have put the earthly meaning into the words. How vain it is to discourse concerning Divine things to men whose minds are preoccupied with earthly cares Leaven makes them think of loaves.

(A. B. Bruce, D. D.)

Elias, Elijah, Jeremiah, Jeremias, Jesus, John, Jonah, Jonas, Peter, Simon
Caesarea Philippi, Jerusalem, Magadan
Bread, Bring, Didn't, Discuss, Discussed, Loaves, Reasoned, Reasoning, Saying, Themselves
1. The Pharisees require a sign.
5. Jesus warns his disciples of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
13. The people's opinion of Jesus,
16. and Peter's confession of him.
21. Jesus foretells his death;
23. reproves Peter for dissuading him from it;
24. and admonishes those who will follow him, to bear the cross.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Matthew 16:1-12

     7552   Pharisees, attitudes to Christ

Matthew 16:5-8

     2045   Christ, knowledge of

Matthew 16:5-12

     4554   yeast

Matthew 16:6-12

     7555   Sadducees

October 14. "Get Thee, Behind Me, Satan" (Matt. xvi. 23).
"Get thee, behind me, Satan" (Matt. xvi. 23). When your old self comes back, if you listen to it, fear it, believe it, it will have the same influence upon you as if it were not dead; it will control you and destroy you. But if you will ignore it and say: "You are not I, but Satan trying to make me believe that the old self is not dead; I refuse you, I treat you as a demon power outside of me, I detach myself from you"; if you treat it as a wife would her divorced husband, saying: "You are nothing
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

Christ Foreseeing the Cross
'From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto His disciples, how that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.'--MATT. xvi. 21. The 'time' referred to in the text was probably a little more than six months before the Crucifixion, when Jesus was just on the point of finally leaving Galilee, and travelling towards Jerusalem. It was an epoch in His ministry. The hostility of the priestly party in
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Divine Christ Confessed, the Suffering Christ Denied
'When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Phllippi, He asked His disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of Man am? 14. And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist; some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16. And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Unity of the Church.
"And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."--Matt. xvi. 18. Too many persons at this day,--in spite of what they see before them, in spite of what they read in history,--too many persons forget, or deny, or do not know, that Christ has set up a kingdom in the world. In spite of the prophecies, in spite of the Gospels and Epistles, in spite of their eyes and their ears,--whether it be their sin or
John Henry Newman—Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. VII

The Human Jesus.
God's meaning of "Human": man's fellow--two meanings of word human--original meaning--natural limitations. The Hurt of sin: sin's added limitations. Our Fellow: Jesus truly human--up to first standard--His insistence--perfect in His humanness--fellowship in sin's limitations--hungry, Matthew 16:5. John 4:6-8.--tired, John 4:6. Mark 4:38.--poverty, Matthew 13:55. Mark 6:3.--hard toil, John 19:25-27.--homeless, Luke 4:16-30. Matthew 8:20. Luke 9:58.--discipline of waiting. There's More of God
S. D. Gordon—Quiet Talks about Jesus

Words with a Freshly Honed Razor-Edge.
Now please group these six sweeping statements in your mind and hold them together there. Then notice carefully this fact. These words are not spoken to the crowds. They are spoken to the small inner group of twelve disciples. Jesus talks one way to the multitude. He oftentimes talks differently to these men who have separated themselves from the crowd and come into the inner circle. And notice further that before Jesus spoke these words to this group of men He had said something else first. Something
S. D. (Samuel Dickey) Gordon—Quiet Talks on Prayer

The Threefold Cord of Jesus' Life.
Think for a moment into Jesus' human life down here. His marvellous activities for those few years over which the world has never ceased to wonder. Then His underneath hidden-away prayer-life of which only occasional glimpses are gotten. Then grouping around about that sentence of His--"I do always the things that are pleasing to Him"--in John's gospel, pick out the emphatic negatives on Jesus' lips, the "not's": not My will, not My works, not My words. Jesus came to do somebody's else will. The
S. D. (Samuel Dickey) Gordon—Quiet Talks on Prayer

The Important Question
"What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" Matthew 16:26 1. There is a celebrated remark to this effect, (I think in the works of Mr. Pascal,) that if a man of low estate would speak of high things, as of what relates to kings or kingdoms, it is not easy for him to find suitable expressions, as he is so little acquainted with things of this nature; but if one of royal parentage speaks of royal things, of what concerns his own or his father's kingdom, his language
John Wesley—Sermons on Several Occasions

The Signs of the Times
"Ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?" Matthew 16:3. 1. The entire passage runs thus: "The Pharisees also, with the Sadducees, came, and tempting, desired him that he would show them a sign from heaven. He answered and said, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern
John Wesley—Sermons on Several Occasions

Twelfth Day. Fidelity in Rebuke.
"The Lord turned and looked upon Peter."--Luke, xxii. 61. Jesus never spake one unnecessarily harsh or severe word. He had a Divine sympathy for the frailties and infirmities of a tried, and suffering, and tempted nature in others. He was forbearing to the ignorant, encouraging to the weak, tender to the penitent, loving to all,--yet how faithful was He as "the Reprover of sin!" Silent under His own wrongs, with what burning invectives did He lay bare the Pharisees' masked corruption and hypocrisy!
John R. Macduff—The Mind of Jesus

"Take My Yoke Upon You, and Learn of Me," &C.
Matt. xi. 20.--"Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me," &c. Self love is generally esteemed infamous and contemptible among men. It is of a bad report every where, and indeed as it is taken commonly, there is good reason for it, that it should be hissed out of all societies, if reproaching and speaking evil of it would do it. But to speak the truth, the name is not so fit to express the thing, for that which men call self love, may rather be called self hatred. Nothing is more pernicious to a man's
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Edwards -- Spiritual Light
Jonathan Edwards, the New England divine and metaphysician, was born at East Windsor, Connecticut, in 1703. He was graduated early from Yale College, where he had given much attention to philosophy, became tutor of his college, and at nineteen began to preach. His voice and manner did not lend themselves readily to pulpit oratory, but his clear, logical, and intense presentation of the truth produced a profound and permanent effect upon his hearers. He wrote what were considered the most important
Grenville Kleiser—The world's great sermons, Volume 3

Of Sufferings
Of Sufferings Be patient under all the sufferings which God is pleased to send you: if your love to Him be pure, you will not seek Him less on Calvary, than on Tabor; and, surely, He should be as much loved on that as on this, since it was on Calvary He made the greater display of His Love for you. Be not like those, who give themselves to Him at one season, and withdraw from Him at another: they give themselves only to be caressed; and wrest themselves back again, when they come to be crucified,
Madame Guyon—A Short and Easy Method of Prayer

Of Suffering which must be Accepted as from God --Its Fruits.
Be content with all the suffering that God may lay upon you. If you will love Him purely, you will be as willing to follow Him to Calvary as to Tabor. He must be loved as much on Calvary as on Tabor, since it is there that He makes the greatest manifestation of His love. Do not act, then, like those people who give themselves at one time, and take themselves back at another. They give themselves to be caressed, and take themselves back when they are crucified; or else they seek for consolation in
Jeanne Marie Bouvières—A Short Method Of Prayer And Spiritual Torrents

Of the Royal Way of the Holy Cross
That seemeth a hard saying to many, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his Cross and follow Me.(1) But it will be much harder to hear that last sentence, Depart from me, ye wicked, into eternal fire.(2) For they who now willingly hear the word of the Cross and follow it, shall not then fear the hearing of eternal damnation. This sign of the Cross shall be in heaven when the Lord cometh to Judgment. Then all servants of the Cross, who in life have conformed themselves
Thomas A Kempis—Imitation of Christ

The Great Confession - the Great Commission - the Great Instruction - the Great Temptation - the Great Decision.
If we are right in identifying the little bay - Dalmanutha - with the neighbourhood of Tarichæa, yet another link of strange coincidence connects the prophetic warning spoken there with its fulfilment. From Dalmanutha our Lord passed across the Lake to Cæsarea Philippi. From Cæsarea Philippi did Vespasian pass through Tiberias to Tarichæa, when the town and people were destroyed, and the blood of the fugitives reddened the Lake, and their bodies choked its waters. Even amidst
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

Last Journey of Jesus to Jerusalem.
Jesus had for a long time been sensible of the dangers that surrounded him.[1] During a period of time which we may estimate at eighteen months, he avoided going on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.[2] At the feast of Tabernacles of the year 32 (according to the hypothesis we have adopted), his relations, always malevolent and incredulous,[3] pressed him to go there. The evangelist John seems to insinuate that there was some hidden project to ruin him in this invitation. "Depart hence, and go into Judea,
Ernest Renan—The Life of Jesus

The Preparatory Service; Sometimes Called the Confessional Service.
In our examination of the nature and meaning of the Lord's Supper, we have found that it is indeed a most important and holy Sacrament. It is in fact the most sacred of all the ordinances of the Church on earth. There is nothing beyond it--nothing so heavenly, on this side heaven, as this Feast. Nowhere else does the believer approach so near to heaven as when he stands or kneels, as a communicant at this altar, the Holy of Holies in the Church of Christ. What a solemn act! To approach this altar,
G. H. Gerberding—The Way of Salvation in the Lutheran Church

A Divine Saviour.
"Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." (Matthew xvi. 1; John vi. 69.) We meet with a certain class of Enquirers who do not believe in the Divinity of Christ. There are many passages that will give light on this subject. In 1 Corinthians xv. 47, we are told: "The first man is of the earth earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven." In 1 John v. 20: "We know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true; and we are in Him that is
Dwight L. Moody—The Way to God and How to Find It

"If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me."--Matt. xvi. 24. Good works are not the saint's sanctification, any more than drops of water are the fountain; but they spring as crystal drops from the fountain of sanctification. They are good, not when the saint intends them to be good, but when they conform to the divine law and proceed from a true faith. Yet the intention is of great importance; the Church has always taught that a work could not be called
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

The Foundation of the Church among the Heathen
A.D. 38-45 [Sidenote: A.D. 38] During St. Peter's journey, the course of God's good Providence led him to the sea-port town of Joppa, on the borders of Samaria and Judaea, and there we read that "he tarried many days," a measure of time which is supposed to be equivalent to three years. At the expiration of this time an event occurred which had a deep and lasting influence on the life of the Church of Christ. [Sidenote: Further fulfilment of the promise to St. Peter.] Hitherto no Gentiles had been
John Henry Blunt—A Key to the Knowledge of Church History

Christ the Son of God.
"Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matt. xvi. 16). "Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God abideth in him and he in God" (I. John iv. 15). "And who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" (I. John v. 5). In one sense all men are sons of God. In a much dearer sense all Christians are sons and daughters of the Almighty. But the relationship of Christ to the Father is infinitely above this. He is the Son of God. God is
Frank G. Allen—Autobiography of Frank G. Allen, Minister of the Gospel

Tries to Become a Politician. Fails. Last Act as a Politician. Tries to Join the Southern Army. Fails Again. His First Appointment. Feeling of Responsibility. His
Tries to Become a Politician. Fails. Last Act as a Politician. Tries to Join the Southern Army. Fails Again. His First Appointment. Feeling of Responsibility. His Plan. Text. Analysis of Sermon. Buys a Family Bible. Rules of Life. When I obeyed the Saviour, the brethren urged me to begin at once to preach the gospel. I had been accustomed to making political speeches, and public addresses of different kinds, and they thought I could just as easily preach a sermon as to make a speech on any other
Frank G. Allen—Autobiography of Frank G. Allen, Minister of the Gospel

Concerning the Sacrament of Penance
In this third part I shall speak of the sacrament of penance. By the tracts and disputations which I have published on this subject I have given offence to very many, and have amply expressed my own opinions. I must now briefly repeat these statements, in order to unveil the tyranny which attacks us on this point as unsparingly as in the sacrament of the bread. In these two sacraments gain and lucre find a place, and therefore the avarice of the shepherds has raged to an incredible extent against
Martin Luther—First Principles of the Reformation

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