When The Plain Sense
Makes Common Sense,
Seek No Other Sense
By Pastor Tony Butler
“Now when His disciples had come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.’ They reasoned among themselves, saying, ‘It is because we have taken no bread.’ Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, ‘O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves, because you have brought no bread? Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets you took up? Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many large baskets you took up? How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread? – but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’ Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Matthew 16:5-12
Have you ever said something to someone plainly, and then by the person’s response to your statement, realized that the whole point was missed? This is like the man who called up his mother-in-law, and told her not to cook dinner for the family the next Sunday, because he wanted to take her out to eat. She responded, “Don’t you like my cooking? What was it that you didn’t like? I won’t cook it anymore.” The son-in-law, shocked by her comment, said, “Mom, it’s not that I don’t like your cooking, I just wanted to take you out to eat.”
Oftentimes, we try to discover hidden meanings in plain statements. The result of this can lead to miscommunication, hurt, anger, and bitterness. The disciples of Jesus took the plain words of Jesus and reasoned among themselves what He meant. Their conclusion was as wring as the mother-in-law’s thinking concerning her son-in-law who just wanted to take her out to eat.
Jesus was trying to warn His disciples about the leaven (teachings) of the Pharisees and Sadducees, who were making void the Word of God by the vain teachings of man. The disciples thought Jesus was being critical, because they forgot to bring bread on the trip. The logic of their reasoning didn’t make any sense, because on two occasions, Jesus fed a total of over 9,000 people with just a few fishes and loaves, with baskets full left over. You would think that reasoning would say, “Who needs bread when Jesus is around?”
When people do not receive the plain words of another person, miscommunication takes place. However, when the plain words of God are not received, and are replaced with human reasoning, the divine is replaced with the human. The Bible calls this, “wresting the Scriptures” (2 Peter ).
Today, man’s word is often exalted above God’s Word through the process of human reasoning. That which is plainly spoken by God has been made void by the vain wisdom of man. God very plainly says that salvation comes only through Christ (John 14:6), through faith in His Name (John. 3:16), and that no one can be saved by any amount of good works, good living, personal morality, religion, or anything that man does. Salvation comes totally through God’s grace as a gift (Ephesians 2:8,9) which is either accepted or rejected. Yet, an has reasoned within himself, that the plain words of God concerning salvation cannot mean literally what God has said, and therefore, tries to within himself, merit salvation apart from faith in Christ, Alone.
In verse 11, Jesus was amazed that His disciples didn’t understand, and gently corrected them to the place of understanding that He meant what He said.
Dear reader, will you take Jesus at His Word, that all men are lost and headed for judgment in hell, unless they believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior? Jesus said He was God, the Savior, the only Hope of humanity, the King of creation, and the only Way for forgiveness and eternal life.
Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God, not by the reasoning of men who deny the Word of God. So remember, when the plan sense makes common sense, seek no other sense. The plain sense is simply this: Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior of the world to all who will receive Him for the forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life. Don’t reason it, but believe it and be saved.