Let’s face it, God the Father, Jesus His Son and the Holy Spirit are amazingly and abundantly patient with our lack of comprehending spiritual realities. Those who think the God of the Old Testament is a mean old man in the sky, ready to strike the moment He sees people having fun, probably haven’t read the whole thing in its entirety. If you read the Old Testament and understand the chronological order of it, you will not see God as mean but as incredibly patient and constantly reaching out to stubborn peoples! What you won’t understand is why He hasn’t thrown up His arms and walked away from this creation.
God is extremely patient. Yet, as Matthew 16-12 shows us, there are times thatJesus knows we have been exposed to spiritual realities that we ought to be understandingby now.
“When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. Be careful, Jesus said to them. Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees. They discussed this among themselves and said, It is because we didn't bring any bread. Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? Do you still not understand? Don't you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 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. 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.”
Jesus didn’t understand how they didn’t understand. The disciples didn’t understand because they were thinking about the things that are seen and ignoring the things that are unseen. They were so focused on bread and hunger that they could not take in the spiritual. You won’t understand Jesus and His work in your life if you confine His work to your circumstances. Perhaps you have lost your job. Do you decide that it is because you didn’t tithe last year? Do you, like the disciples, think of a reason Jesus would allow a hard thing to happen in your life? We put God and Jesus in a box of our understanding. We will never understand God if we judge Him or His character by our circumstances.
Jesus was teaching them about what was so wrong with the current leadership of the church. The Pharisees and Sadducees taught untruths about God, and the disciples needed to guard against these traditions. Yet, the disciples’ minds were so far from Jesus’ thoughts that they reasoned Jesus was referring to physical yeast. Notice Jesus’ incredible patience. He is a perceptive teacher, using questions to draw their hearts to understand. He questions them about the miracles they had just witnessed with bread, not once, but two times. He asked them how many loaves were left over. He was honestly perplexed that after witnessing that amazing experience they would ever wonder about where their next loaf of bread was coming from. No, Jesus was talking about more important things than bread. Where was their faith if they were still worried about where their stomachs would get filled?
Do you understand what Jesus is asking of you? If you don’t, could it be because you are stumped by your physical circumstances and missing the spiritual realities? Is Jesus perplexed that you still don’t understand?