Our passage today essentially has three heavy topics that we will spend our time on:
- The Leaven of the Pharisee’s
- The Fear of Man
- The Unforgivable Sin
The Leaven of the Pharisee’s (1-3)
The good news is that Jesus defines for us what he is meaning when he says, “the leaven of the Pharisees”—the hypocrisy. Leaven is an ingredient used in bread (essentially yeast) that changes whatever it touches. Galatians 5:9 says, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” He is warning the disciples to not become hypocritical like the disciples. We should heed the warning as well—in what areas of your life do you run the risk of being hypocritical? I’ve heard it put this way: in what ways does your front-stage life not match your back-stage life?
The Fear of Man (4-9)
In his book, When People Are Big and God is Small, Ed Welch writes, “Regarding other people, our problem is that we need them (for ourselves) more than we love them (for the glory of God.). The task God sets for us is to need love less, and love others more.” (p. 19) What Welch is referring to is exactly what Jesus is referring to in verses 4-9. Jesus is revealing our propensity to be more concerned with people than God. When we do this, we are not only worshipping people instead of God, we are not able to love people because we are needing love from them. So, a simple answer to the fear of man is to love and worship God instead of people, and selflessly love others instead of selfishly needing love from them.
The Unforgivable Sin (10-12)
When reading these verses, you might be debating in your mind what this could mean. “I thought I was forgiven in Christ? What if I accidentally commit this sin and lose my salvation?” This can be a complex idea that might cause fear in you. Take a few minutes to watch this video. I think you will find it both comforting and informative.
By: Graham Withers — Pastoral Ministry Apprentice