Matthew 16:5-12. When his disciples were come to the other side Namely, of the sea of Tiberias, see Mark 8:13; they had forgotten to take bread They had tarried so long in Dalmanutha, or Magdala, that they had consumed the seven baskets of fragments which they had taken up at the late miracle, recorded Matthew 15:32-39, and had no more than one loaf with them in the ship, Mark 8:14. Then Jesus said, Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees That is, of their false doctrine; elegantly called leaven, for it spreads in the soul, or the church, as leaven does in meal. And they reasoned among themselves What must we do then for bread, since we have taken no bread with us? Thus the slowness of their understanding showed itself on this occasion, as it had done on many others. “As they had forgotten to take bread, and had often heard the doctors prohibit the use of the leaven of heathen and Samaritans, they thought he forbade them to buy bread from bakers of either sect, lest it might be made with impure leaven, and so they looked on the advice as an indirect reproof of their carelessness.” Which when Jesus perceived As he knew all the secret workings of their minds; he said, O ye of little faith, why reason ye? Why are ye troubled about this? Why should your neglecting to bring bread with you make you put such an interpretation upon my words? Am I not able, if need so require, to supply you by a word? Observe, reader, to distrust Christ, and disquiet our own minds, when we are in straits and difficulties, is an evidence of the weakness of our faith, which, if it were in exercise as it should be would deliver us from the burden of care, by enabling us to cast it on the Lord, who careth for us. Do ye not understand After having been so long with me, are ye still ignorant of my power and goodness? neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets, &c. Certainly you are very stupid, if you have forgotten how that with five loaves I fed five thousand men, who, after being fully satisfied, left a great deal more than the quantity that was at first set before me to divide among them. Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand An instance of a merciful and miraculous supply which happened so lately. How is it that ye do not understand? How came ye not to know that he, who on those different occasions fed such multitudes with such a little quantity of food, can never be at a loss to provide a meal for twelve? The experience which they had so lately had of the power and goodness of Christ in providing for them, was a great aggravation of their distrust. Though they had no bread with them, they had Him with them who could provide bread for them. God’s people may well be ashamed of the slowness and dulness of their apprehensions in divine things; especially when they have long enjoyed the means of grace. As Christ’s disciples well deserved the sharp rebuke which their Master gave them on this occasion, so it had the designed effect; for it brought the disciples to understand that he designed to caution them against the corrupt doctrines of the Pharisees and Sadducees; the pernicious nature and tendency of which may be learned from many instances taken notice of and condemned by Jesus himself, in the course of his ministry.
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