Matthew 16:1-12

Sunday, April 2nd, 2017

JESUS’ REBUKE OF THE PHARISEES AND

SADDUCEES SEEKING A SIGN FROM HEAVEN

AND JESUS’ EXPLANATION OF THE LEAVEN

OF THE PHARISEES AND SADDUCEES

INTRODUCTION:

 

The Destiny of the King includes the narrative about Jesus (13:54 - 17:27), the meaning and greatness of forgiveness (18:1-35), and the concluding statement, (1) And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan. (2) And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there (19:1-2).

 

The narrative about Jesus in chapter 16 includes His rebuke of the Pharisees and Sadducees seeking a sign from heaven (16:1-4), His explanation of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees (16:5-12), His question and Peter’s confession (16:13-20), His prediction of His death and resurrection (16:21-23), and His statement regarding the cost of discipleship (16:24-28).

 

In this message we’ll be looking at verses 1-12.

 

    I.     JESUS’ REBUKE OF THE PHARISEES AND SADDUCEES SEEKING A SIGN FROM HEAVEN – 16:1-4

 

Matthew 16:1 The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven.

 

In an effort to tempt Jesus to say something which they could use against Him, representatives from two group of Jews who opposed each other theologically asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. It’s always interesting when two groups which are opposed to each other join forces in a common cause. They were both opposed to Jesus.

 

The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came suggests the Pharisees and the Sadducees approached (Jesus).

 

And tempting suggests and were tempting (or were testing) Him.

 

Desired him that he would shew them is asked (or requested) Jesus to show them.

 

A sign from heaven is a sign (or miracle) out of heaven and indicates the source of this miraculous sign, suggesting its divine origin.

 

Matthew 16:2 He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.

 

In verses 2-3 Jesus responded to their request by pointing out that both the Pharisees and Sadducees were able to discern the weather.

 

He (i.e. Jesus) answered and said unto them suggests that Jesus asserted (or declared) to them (i.e. to the Pharisees and Sadducees who had come to Him).

 

When it is evening (i.e. the period between late afternoon and darkness) ye say (i.e. you Pharisees and Sadducees say).

 

It will be fair weather is simply fair weather, which implies that the weather will be nice and pleasant rather than stormy and unpleasant.

 

For the sky is red indicates the reason for their assessment that the weather will be nice on the next day. It suggests that the sky is (fiery) red.

 

Matthew 16:3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?

 

And in the morning continues the Pharisees’ and Sadducees’ assessment of the weather and refers to the early part of the daylight in the sense of early or early in the morning.

 

It will be foul weather to day is simply today (it will be) bad weather or today (it will be) stormy weather.

 

For the sky is red and lowring is for the heaven is (fiery) red and gloomy (or dark), which suggests threatening.

 

Jesus then addresses the Pharisees and Sadducees by O ye hypocrites.

 

Hypocrites are people who pretend to be something they aren’t.

 

Ye can discern the face of the sky suggests, On the one hand you know (how) to judge correctly the appearance of the heaven.

 

But suggests but on the other hand.

 

Can ye not discern the signs of the times? suggests are you not able (to judge correctly) the signs of the times, implying the signs of the (Messianic) times; and the implied answer to their question is, No, you are not able.

 

Although the Pharisees and the Sadducees could figure out the weather, they could not figure out what was going on spiritually.

 

Matthew 16:4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.

 

In verse 4 Jesus states that no sign other than the sign of Jonah the prophet will be given to them.

 

A wicked and adulterous generation speaks of the Jewish people as a whole who were living at the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry.

 

Wicked suggests evil.

 

Adulterous suggests that they were unfaithful to God.

 

Seeketh after suggests that they have a strong desire for something in the sense of desires or wants. This is typically what a wicked and adulterous generation wants.

 

A sign is a miraculous sign or a miracle.

 

In verse 1 the Pharisees and Sadducees had requested a sign from heaven.

 

And (or but) there shall no sign be given unto it is and (or but) a sign will not be given to it (i.e. to a wicked and adulterous generation). It is referring to something which will never take place in the future.

 

No sign is no miraculous sign or no miracle.

 

Shall . . . be given is will be given.

 

But is except and introduces one exception to Jesus’ statement that no sign shall be given. There is one sign and only one sign which this evil and adulterous generation will be given.

 

It is the sign of the prophet Jonas (i.e. of the prophet Jonah).

 

Jesus had previously given them this sign in Matthew 12:38-41 ,

 

Matthew 12:38-41 – (38) Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. (39) But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: (40) For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (41) The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

 

The sign is the resurrection of Christ from the dead on the third day. Unfortunately for the Pharisees and Sadducees, they will not perceive this sign when it comes.

 

And he left them and departed suggests and Jesus left the Pharisees and Sadducees and went away.

 

Where He went is not stated.

 

  II.     JESUS’ EXPLANATION OF THE LEAVEN OF THE PHARISEES AND SADDUCEES – 16:5-12

 

Matthew 16:5 And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread.

 

And when his disciples were come to the other side is simply His disciples went to the other side.

 

His disciples are Jesus’ (twelve) disciples.

 

To the other side means that they crossed to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.

 

They had forgotten to take bread is they forgot to take loaves or to take loaves of bread. They forgot to take any food with them.

 

Matthew 16:6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

 

Then Jesus said unto them means then Jesus said (i.e. declared or asserted) to His disciples.

 

Take heed suggests look out for or pay attention to, and its tense denotes ongoing action in the sense of be (or continue) taking heed (i.e. looking out for or paying attention to).

 

And beware of suggests and be on your guard against or be concerned about, and its tense likewise denotes ongoing action in the sense of continue being on your guard against or continue being concerned about.

 

What they were always to be watching out for is the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

 

By this Jesus meant the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees which permeates and, therefore, spiritually corrupts those who follow it like leaven or yeast permeates a batch of dough.

 

Matthew 16:7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread.

 

The disciples assumed that Jesus’ warning was because they had forgotten to take bread with them.

 

And they reasoned among themselves suggests and they were reasoning among themselves, and they were considering among themselves, or and they were pondering among themselves.

 

Its tense indicates ongoing or repeated action in past time.

 

Saying introduces what they were thinking.

 

What they were saying is, It is because we have taken no bread, i.e. (it is) because we did not take breads (i.e. loaves or loaves of bread).

 

Matthew 16:8 Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? Jesus asked His disciples why they had concluded that His warning them was because they had forgotten to bring bread.

 

When Jesus perceived has been translated as indicating time. It may instead be understood as indicating cause in the sense of because Jesus perceived (i.e. noticed or realized).

 

He said unto them suggests Jesus asked His disciples.

 

What He asked is, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?

 

O ye of little faith is simply little faith ones.

 

Why reason ye among yourselves? is Why are you reasoning among yourselves?, Why are you considering among yourselves?, or Why are you pondering among yourselves?

 

Because ye have brought no bread is because you did not take bread (i.e. breads, loaves, or loaves of bread).

 

Matthew 16:9 Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?

 

Do ye not yet understand suggests, Do you (disciples) not yet comprehend? or, Do you not yet perceive?

 

Neither remember is nor remember.

 

What they were apparently forgetting was the five loaves (i.e. breads or loaves of bread) of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up.

 

According to Matthew 14:20 , they had gathered twelve baskets full of the fragments after the feeding of the five thousand.

 

It had demonstrated that Jesus was very capable of providing all the food they would need and then some.

 

Matthew 16:10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?

 

Jesus’ question from verse 9 continues with Neither (i.e. nor) the seven loaves of the four thousand, which refers to the feeding of the four thousand with seven loaves of bread and a few fish.

 

And how many baskets ye took up reminds the disciples that they had gathered seven large baskets full of the leftover fragments (Matthew 15:37 ).

 

It had likewise demonstrated that Jesus was very capable of providing all the food they would need and then some.

 

Baskets is the same term used of the basket in Acts 9:25 in which Paul was let down the wall in Damascus in a successful effort to escape from the Jews who were seeking to kill him.

 

Matthew 16:11 How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Jesus asked His disciples how they had misunderstood what His warning meant.

 

How is it that ye do not understand? suggests, How are you (disciples) not understanding (i.e. comprehending or perceiving)?

 

That I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees is that I did not tell you to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees concerning bread.

 

Matthew 16:12 Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

 

Jesus’ disciples finally realized that He was warning them to watch out for the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

 

Then suggests at that time.

 

Understood they is they understood or they comprehended.

 

What Jesus’ disciples understood or comprehended is how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

 

It is that He (i.e. Jesus) did not tell (them) to beware of the leaven of bread.

 

But introduces a statement in strong contrast to the leaven of bread.

 

Instead, they were to beware of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees, i.e. to beware of the teaching (or instruction) taught by (or given by) the Pharisees and the Sadducees.

 

Their teaching could not be trusted.

CONCLUSION:

 

Just as the disciples were told to beware of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees, believers also need to beware of false teaching.

 

Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

 

II Peter 2:1-31 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

 

Damnable, destruction, pernicious, and damnation are all translations of the same word in the Greek text and refer to damnation in hell.

 

But how will you recognize false teaching? By knowing what the Bible says.

 

And how will you know what the Bible says? By studying it and by taking advantage of the instruction available to you in the local church.

 

Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

 

Psalms 1:1-31 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

 

I Peter 2:1-31 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

 

II Tim. 3:14-17 – 14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

 

II Timothy 4:1-41 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

 

II Peter 1:20-2120 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

 

II Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

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