Matthew 16: 1-20
16 The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.2 He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ 3 and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.[a] 4 A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.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.13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter,[b] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[c] will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[d] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[e] loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
Here we have the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and Peter being given the opportunity to respond to Jesus. We are given the choice to decide how we are going to deal with Jesus. There are stark choices to make. People can influence us, but the buck stops with us. I encourage you this week to consider where you fit in with these choices being made and to take up the challenge of seeing where you might improve.
DEMANDING DRAMATIC SIGNS or SIMPLY TRUSTING (v1-4)
DISTORTED THINKING or CLEAR MINDED (v 5-12)
DECIDED or STILL THINKING or REJOICING (v13-16)
DELIGHTED or DEFLATED (v17-20)
Personally, I found this passage of Scripture challenging. I could identify myself in the ‘demanding and distorted’ category quite often. I felt uncomfortable when I put the spotlight on my relationship with Jesus. I feel these verses are a useful tool in evaluating where we stand in our relationship with God.
As my Father I know God loves me unconditionally, but I do wonder sometimes if he sees me as a spoilt brat at my worst and just taking him for granted at the best. My response to God does not alter his love for me but my response affects my relationship with him. I think that there are times I lose my sense of peace and well being because of the way I chose to react.
I thank God for his amazing grace!!