Then his disciples came to him on the other side of the lake, forgetting to bring any bread with them. “Keep your eyes open,” said Jesus to them, “and be on your guard against the ‘yeast’ of the Pharisees and Sadducees!” But they were arguing with each other, and saying, “We forgot to bring the bread.” When Jesus saw this he said to them, “Why all this argument among yourselves about not bringing any bread, you little-faiths? Don’t you understand yet, or have you forgotten the five loaves and the five thousand, and how many baskets you took up afterwards; or the seven loaves and the four thousand and how many baskets you took up then? I wonder why you don’t understand that I wasn’t talking about bread at all—I told you to beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they grasped the fact that he had not told them to be beware of yeast in the ordinary sense but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Thinking he was scolding them for forgetting bread, they discussed in whispers what to do. Jesus knew what they were doing and said, “Why all these worried whispers about forgetting the bread? Runt believers! Haven’t you caught on yet? Don’t you remember the five loaves of bread and the five thousand people, and how many baskets of fragments you picked up? Or the seven loaves that fed four thousand, and how many baskets of leftovers you collected? Haven’t you realized yet that bread isn’t the problem? The problem is yeast, Pharisee-Sadducee yeast.” Then they got it: that he wasn’t concerned about eating, but teaching—the Pharisee-Sadducee kind of teaching.
And then the disciples understood: Jesus was not talking about the bread you eat, but about the food that feeds your soul. He was speaking in metaphor; He was warning them against imbibing the teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Then they understood that he was not talking about bread. He did not mean that the yeast of bread would spoil them. They understood that he was talking about the things the Pharisees and Sadducees taught.
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