Rev. Dr. Scott Murray, senior pastor at Memorial Lutheran Church in Houston, TX and 3rd Vice President for the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, serving in the West Southwestern Region, joins host Rev. Timothy Appel to study Matthew 16:1-12.
As the Gospel of Matthew rises toward its climax in Peter’s confession of Christ, the opposition to Jesus along the way grows. Although the Pharisees and Sadducees were normally hostile toward each other, they united together against their common enemy, Jesus. In an attempt to test Jesus, they demand a sign from heaven from Him. Jesus sees through their hatred and mocks them in His answer. They know how to read the signs in the heavens concerning the weather, but they fail to recognize the Sun of Righteousness standing in front of them. The only sign they will get from Him is the very earthly sign of Jonah, Jesus’ third day resurrection from the dead. Abruptly setting aside His enemies, Jesus turns to teach His disciples. He knows the danger that even the smallest false teaching can have, and so He warns His disciples against the leaven of His opponents. These small-faith ones are initially too focused on their bellies to recognize what Jesus is saying. Jesus reminds them that He has been able to provide for huge crowds with only a few loaves. The danger that faces them is not earthly hunger, but the false teaching concerning Christ and legalism that is rampant among the Pharisees and Sadducees. Jesus warns His disciples then and now of this danger and calls them to feast on Himself, the true Bread of Life.
“All Righteousness Fulfilled” is a mini-series on Sharper Iron that digs into the Gospel according to St. Matthew. The first evangelist proclaims Jesus to Jews and Gentiles alike as the fulfillment of God’s saving words and acts throughout the Old Testament. As the Christ in the line of David and Abraham, Jesus is the promised King who comes to bring sinners from every nation to live under His gracious reign.
Sharper Iron, hosted by Rev. Timothy Appel, looks at the text of Holy Scripture both in its broad context and its narrow detail, all for the sake of proclaiming Christ crucified and risen for sinners. Two pastors engage with God’s Word to sharpen not only their own faith and knowledge, but the faith and knowledge of all who listen.
Sharper Iron is underwritten by Lutheran Church Extension Fund, where your investments help support the work of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Visit lcef.org.
The Pharisees and Sadducees Demand Signs
16 And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. 2 He answered them,[a] “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ 3 And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. 4 An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” So he left them and departed.
The Leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees
5 When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. 6 Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 7 And they began discussing it among themselves, saying, “We brought no bread.” 8 But Jesus, aware of this, said, “O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? 9 Do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? 11 How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
- Matthew 16:2 Some manuscripts omit the following words to the end of verse 3
English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.