And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 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? 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.
Our reasoning does not always lead us to the right conclusion. Jesus gives His disciples a warning about the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the disciples think it is because they have forgotten to bring bread with them on their journey. But that was so far off from what Jesus wanted them to understand. Our focus is often different than the Lord’s. Our understanding is often lacking. And sometimes we even forget what we’ve already learned and seen from the Lord. The things we think about and the way we think about things don’t always align with what Jesus is trying to teach us.
But Jesus comes along to help the disciples understand what He means. He doesn’t leave them to go on thinking the wrong thing about what He said. He gives them more teaching, He clarifies the things they weren’t quite grasping, He helps them to see a little bit more from His perspective, and then they do understand exactly what He meant.
It can work the same for us, even though Jesus is not physically present in our world. We have His Word and His Spirit to lead us into all truth. He can help us to understand the things we misunderstand if we are willing to hear Him, to seek His truth, to trust our own reasoning a little bit less so that we are sure we’re understanding what He wants us to know.
This truth is demonstrated in the very next verses of this chapter:
When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
The disciples were living in a society where everyone had different ideas about Jesus and who He was and what He was doing. People around them were saying many different things. But Peter could know this truth so clearly and surely—that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God—because that knowledge came from God. It didn’t come from the voices around him or his own reasoning and ideas about what was going on. Sure truth can only come from the source of truth, and God gives it to us Himself.
Later in this chapter, Peter is rebuked by Jesus:
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. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
Here Peter was in error because he trusted his own reasoning and denied the truth that Jesus had revealed to him. We cannot deny the Word of God without also denying the God who gave us His Word. Peter knew that Jesus was the Christ, and Jesus told him the fate of Christ as revealed in Scripture. Peter had to believe both things in order to know the full truth of God. We can’t have one part without the other. We can’t pick and choose the parts we’ll accept and the parts we’ll reject. We can’t go along with God on part of what He says and then side with the world on other things.
Seek truth from God alone. Be willing to believe Him and trust Him. Be willing to change anything you think that doesn’t align with what He says. Be wary of popular opinion and the thoughts and ideas of the world around you. Be ever learning and growing in both your faith and your understanding of God’s truth.