Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Monday after the Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Trinity Sunday

Posted on November 13, 2023 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: St. Matthew 16:1-12 (NKJV)
16:1 Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. 2 He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; 3 and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times. 4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” And He left them and departed.
5 Now when His disciples had come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. 6 Then Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”
7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have taken no bread.”
8 But 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? 9 Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? 10 Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up? 11 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.” 12 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.
Jesus warned in yesterday’s Gospel reading that in the Last Days “false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matt. 24:24). In today’s reading, Jesus warns His disciples against the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees, that is, the doctrine of false teachers.
Jesus’ disciples misunderstood His words because their minds were focused on earthly needs like food. They had not planned ahead for their journey and were now facing hunger. But Jesus had already proven that He would provide daily bread by miraculously feeding thousands of people. He would much rather have His disciples plan ahead for their salvation by avoiding false teachers.
In our weakness, we are often distracted by worrying about our earthly needs. We anxiously check the weather, the stock market, the bank account, trying to discern the signs of this world and prepare for disaster. But Jesus wants us to prepare against spiritual danger by fleeing false doctrine and holding fast to true doctrine. Just as He sent Jonah to Nineveh to warn them of the coming destruction and call them to repent of their false belief and sin, so today He sends ministers of the Word to warn us that this world will one day be destroyed and that we should turn away from false doctrine and sin.
Collect: Almighty God, we beseech Thee, show Thy mercy unto Thy humble servants, that we who put no trust in our own merits may not be dealt with after the severity of Thy judgment, but according to Thy mercy; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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