Everything We Need

August 28, 2022 | Jess Rainer

Passage: Matthew 16:1-12

Jesus lets us know that we can trust Him, know Him, and that He gives us everything we need to do so.  That’s what I want you to glean today:  Jesus gives us everything we need to know Him.  We reach the mid-point in our sermon series in looking at how people around Jesus answered the question, “Who is He?”  In teaching the disciples, Jesus lets us know how we can answer that question.  Last week, we saw Jesus encounter a group of people called the Pharisees that were trying to silence Him.  It was a reminder that we have everything we need to win the battle in our hearts.  In this passage, Jesus encounters another group of religious people that give us another reminder.  We did skip some passages in Matthew 15.  So, these encounters were not back-to-back—other events happened in between, and we’ll talk about those.  What do we learn first about knowing Jesus?  Jesus gives you the knowledge you need.

1) Jesus gives you the knowledge you need. (vs. 1-4)  The passage starts off with an unlikely combination.  One day the Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus, demanding that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority.  The Pharisees and Sadducees were both part of a Jewish religious group called the Sanhedrin.  But they did not like each other at all.  We saw the Pharisees last week.  They focused on observance of the Jewish law.  They were conversation, self-righteous, and arrogant.  Now we see the Sadducees.  This group did not believe there would not be a final judgment and a resurrection of the dead.  In short, they believed this life was all there was - “Sad, you see”.  So, they took the mindset, “Let’s live it up!”  They were a wealthy group, so they had the means to live however they wanted.  You see the difference between these two groups:  You have the extreme rule followers and the extreme rule benders.  The self-righteous and the self-indulgent – both under the same umbrella.  

What does verse 1 tell us though?  They were united. United against Jesus.  Jesus disruptive for both groups. Both groups depended on the Jewish religious system for their power.  This group was a little smarter than the group we saw last week.  This group wanted Jesus to prove His authority.  It’s the classic argument ploy: “Prove it!”  Look at how Jesus responds in verses 2 and 3:  He replied, “You know the saying, ‘Red sky at night means fair weather tomorrow; red sky in the morning means foul weather all day.’ You know how to interpret the weather signs in the sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the signs of the times!  Now, Jesus isn’t trying to change the subject by talking about the weather.  That’s something we love to do in the south when we run out of things to talk about.  What Jesus is saying is “I’ve already proven it, but you can’t see it!”  He tells them they can figure out weather patterns, but they can’t see Him.  They can figure out the temporal, but they are blind to the eternal.  Jesus had already given the people a bunch of signs of his divinity, but there was one more sign coming:  Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign, but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah.”   Then Jesus left them and went away.  Jesus tells them, “I will give the ultimate proof, but you still won’t believe”. 

What is this proof? What is the sign of Jonah?  Jesus explained it starting in Matthew 12:38.  An Old Testament prophet named Jonah ran from God’s calling to preach the gospel to a nation.  He threw himself overboard of a ship during a storm to save the boat from sinking.  Jesus had a big fish or whale swallow Jonah.  After 3 days, Jonah was spit up on shore of the nation he was called to go to.  Jesus was saying that he too would be swallowed up by death for 3 days, but He would rise from the dead for the salvation of the entire world.  The death and resurrection of Jesus is enough to know that He is God.  Why do you need more than the resurrection of Jesus to know He is God?  You may be thinking, “If God spit me out of a great fish after 3 days, I’d believe too!”  Do you think afterwards Jonah thought the same thing?  Or do you think Jonah thought, “If I would have just listened from the very beginning this whole process would have been a lot easier.”  God’s Word is the sign of all signs to know that Jesus is God.  We all put our faith and trust in a lot less; why not trust God’s words?  Jesus doesn’t want you all searching for signs  When we walk in wisdom, we don’t need to search for signs.  Jesus gives you all the knowledge you need.  Jesus gives you everything your mind needs to know who He is.  Now, Jesus moves from the mind to the body.  Jesus gives you the provision you need.

2) Jesus gives you the provision you need. (vs. 5-10)  Later, after they crossed to the other side of the lake, the disciples discovered they had forgotten to bring any bread.  For us, this doesn’t seem like a big deal.  But in biblical times, you had to plan for meals if you were traveling. There wasn’t any fast food.  So, this starts a mild panic inside of them.  Jesus is going to use this situation as a teaching moment.  “Watch out!” Jesus warned them. “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”  The way I read this, I can’t help but see Jesus setting the disciples up.  Have you done this with your kids?  Saying something intentional knowing it will cause them to get their minds wound up? (or am I the only bad parent here…?)  At this they began to argue with each other because they hadn’t brought any bread.   I just can’t help but see a scene out of the three stooges here.  I know that’s probably too harsh for the disciples because we constantly see their humanity.  James: “Matthew, can you pass me some of the bread?”  Matthew: “I don’t have the bread. Philip brought it.”  Philip: “I didn’t bring it. Judas said he was bringing it.”  Judas: “No I didn’t!”  John: “I can’t believe this! We don’t have any bread and now Jesus tells us there is some sketchy yeast out there. How do we know if we are getting the right yeast?! This is bad, guys!” 

Now here comes the teaching moment from Jesus:  Jesus knew what they were saying, so he said, “You have so little faith! Why are you arguing with each other about having no bread?   Don’t you understand even yet? Don’t you remember the 5,000 I fed with five loaves, and the baskets of leftovers you picked up?   10 Or the 4,000 I fed with seven loaves, and the large baskets of leftovers you picked up?   A few weeks ago we walked through the feeding of the 5,000—or the feeding of the 25,000.  If you look back in Matthew 15, you’ll see that Jesus did another miraculous feeding—the feeding of the 4,000.  The first time there were 12 baskets of food left—possibly a correlation to the 12 disciples.  The second time there were 7 baskets of food left—possibly in indication of completeness.  Twice, the disciples saw Jesus take something so small and make it into something of complete abundance.  Now, the disciples are arguing because they don’t have…bread!  These guys were standing in front of Niagara Falls and saying they don’t have anything to drink.  My first reaction to the disciples is “really?!” Don’t you remember what Jesus just did?!  But then, I stop and look in my own life.  How many times have I lost sight of who Jesus is and what Jesus provides for me.  Here’s something I work on in my life:  The provision you want may not be the provision you need.  This is an extremely hard truth to learn and to live by.  In fact, the older I get the harder it seems to become.  I would have expected it to be the opposite.  It’s easy for me to lose sight of what God does provide for me.  I have to remind myself all the time that Jesus gives me the provision in my life to know who He is. 

How do we combat this?  Develop a Long-term Christian Memory.  Write it down.  Journal.  “The year in review” at Christmas.  Go through old pictures.  Ask God to show you in prayer and worship.  Jesus isn’t done with the disciples.  He isn’t going to leave them hanging – physically or spiritually.   In these final verses, we see one more thing Jesus gives us to know Him:  Jesus gives you the insight you need.

3) Jesus gives you the insight you need. (vs. 11-12)  Look at how Jesus opens the eyes of the disciples.  He doesn’t come out and fully tell them, but gives them just a little bit more.  11 Why can’t you understand that I’m not talking about bread? So again I say, ‘Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’”  They then received the insight they need. Look at verse 12:  12 Then at last they understood that he wasn’t speaking about the yeast in bread, but about the deceptive teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.  “Oooohhhhh…Jesus wasn’t talking about bread!”  I get the mental image of a domino effect with the 12 disciples.  Jesus is calling the disciples into a deeper spiritual insight.  Jesus is only months away from the cross.  The disciples can go a day without food; that’s not the major concern.  Jesus is training them up spiritually so that they can continue the work of Christ after He is gone. 

That remains for the same for us today.  We are called to continue the work of Christ.  Jesus was providing the disciples insight into who He was.  When Jesus ascended back into heaven, Jesus provided the same insight but in a different way.  Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit.  But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord. That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined  what God has prepared for those who love him.” 10 But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. 11 No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. 12 And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. – 1 Corinthians 2:8-12.  The Great Insight-Giver lives inside of you.  

How do you answer the question, “Who is this Man?”  How do you answer the question, “Who is Jesus?”  Jesus has given you everything you need to know Him.  The way you answer that question has both temporal and eternal effects.  It changes the way we live, think, and act.  It also changes our purpose, our satisfaction, and our hope.  Why do we often wait “for a sign” from God before making decisions about Him or our lives?  Here’s my final challenge to you:  Believe that Jesus is the Son of God.  Believe and act on it every day.  

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Series Information

Who Is This Man? The Inescapable Power of Jesus is a series that examines aspects of Jesus’s character. His character is revealed by his interactions with his disciples, with those who need healing, and even with children. In these interactions, Jesus shows that his heart is for all people, even (perhaps especially) those outside the traditional community. Through words difficult and caring, Jesus declares that his people should trust in him and participate in his work, for the sake of their neighbors.

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