Read:

  • Matthew 16:1-12
  • Mark 8:11-26
  • Matthew 16:13-28
  • Mark 8:27-9:1
  • Luke 9:18-27
  • Matthew 17:1-13
  • Mark 9:2-13
  • Luke 9:28-36

“‘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.” –Matthew 16:11-12, ESV

Allow me to be devil’s advocate for a second. From our perspective looking back, we can see the Pharisees’ and Sadducees’ motivations, their power grabs, and their attempts to take Jesus down. We don’t have to guess their motivations because scripture tells us they were testing Jesus, they were plotting against Him, and they were sending people to question Him. Here’s the kicker: they thought they were doing the right thing.

They were completely wrong, but they thought they were right. Discernment isn’t easy. It can be tough, it can be painful, and it can call into question the teaching of good Christian people you have respected your whole life. I do not encourage challenging authority just for the sake of challenging. However, you must compare all teaching to the teaching of Christ. You must know scripture yourself that you may discern when someone’s interpretation may not be correct. You need to spend time with Jesus on your own that you can know His voice.

An influential pastor in my teen years used to challenge our congregation every so often, questioning whether we ever went home and looked for ourselves to see if what he was teaching was actually correct. I leave you with the same challenge.

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