Why Do You Not Understand? – Matt 16

Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?” — Matthew 16:9  

The nation of Israel as a whole totally missed who Jesus was. This is seen in the insincere request of the Pharisees and Sadducees for “a sign from heaven.” Jesus, of course, had already done tons of things to prove He was from God, yet they wanted more proof!

After rebuking them, Jesus then warned His disciples of the “leaven (yeast) of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” He was talking about their doctrine, but the disciples thought He was talking about bread because yeast is used in bread-making.

Several times Jesus questioned why they did not understand and how they could not understand. Then He asked them the most important question, “Whom say ye that I am?” This time, they showed that they did understand who He was. Peter is even called blessed for his understanding.

Later, Peter will then be rebuked and called Satan because, though he understood who Christ was, he did not understand Christ’s program of suffering and death.

All of this shows that it is possible to be exposed to great truths and great teaching from the Lord but not understand. The religious leaders missed the point altogether. The disciples understood the main point but were slow to understand other teachings of Christ. Just because they knew some things did not mean they didn’t have much to learn.

So, let us pray for wisdom to understand and to keep growing in our understanding. And let us not assume that just because we have learned one lesson that there are not others to learn. Like Jesus’ disciples, there many areas in which we need to grow in our understanding and application of truth.

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