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February 15: Missing the Mark (Matthew 16:1-12)

Adult Education: This Sunday at 9:00am, Nik Lingle will continue a series on Peacemaking in the youth room ("Esacpating, Attacking, Peacemaking: Responding to Conflict"), and Ray Rutledge will continue The Gospel Project in Adult 1 ("The Sixth Daily Sin: Lust").


Matthew 16:1-12

And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” So he left them and departed.

When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” And they began discussing it among themselves, saying, “We brought no bread.” But Jesus, aware of this, said, “O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? 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 teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (ESV)


Sermon Summary

How is the ministry and life of Jesus being received among the people? Do they see him as the Messiah, God's king to restore all things to the Father? Hardly. Opposition to Jesus is building among his own people. After Jesus performed miracles of healing and feeding among the Gentiles, Jesus is greeted by his old adversaries, the Pharisees who are joined by the Sadducees. These religious leaders seek to test him by asking that he perform a sign from heaven. In spite of all the signs he has already done, they remain unmoved. How do his disciples respond to Jesus? They are dull and slow to understand. Even after all this time, they are still wrestling with who Jesus is. After Jesus condemns the leaders for their hardness of heart he turns to warn his disciples of this danger, a failure to believe that leads to deadness. Why do people disbelieve, even after seeing such extraordinary things? Why do the disciples seem to slumber in faith after such close proximity to Jesus? Is their faith failing? Is the plan of God ineffective?


Review and Apply

  1. Why is "seeing not believing"?
  2. What is the greatest obstacle to true faith?
  3. How did God humble you to see Jesus as Messiah? (see Isaiah 57:15)
  4. Why does Jesus challenge the disciples? How might he challenge you today?
  5. What is the legalism? Where do you see this in your life?
  6. What is rationalism of the Sadducees? Where do you see this in your life?
  7. How can the Christian avoid false teaching?