In my last message we covered all the times Jesus spoke in reference to different peoples faith in the first 14 chapters of Matthew. We saw the centurion solder got 'such great faith,' the woman with the issue of blood, the blind men, and the friends of the paralytic all got 'faith,' and the disciples on two separate occasions got 'little faith.' Which to be honest is the fact that really caught my eye and opened up the question, at least for me, of "Why?" Why are His disciples, the ones that are with Him, seeing Him in action the most; why are they the ones He keeps speaking the words, "little faith" too?
As I was praying and continued to read in Matthew I again noticed a few things. Once again words like 'great faith' and 'little faith' jumped off the page at me. In both chapters 15 and 16 we see them again! Then Jesus answered and said to her, "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire." And her daughter was healed from that very hour. Matthew 15:28 and in Matthew 16:8 But when Jesus perceived it, He said to them, "O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have no bread?" He once again used the words "little faith" as He addressed His words to the disciples.
Jesus had just come off from two encounters with the Scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees, where He called them Hypocrites loud and clear. After His first encounter in Matthew 15:1-11 in verse 12-17 His disciples come to Him and said to Him, "Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?" Jesus answered and said, "Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into the ditch." Then Peter answered and said to Him, "Explain this parable to us." So Jesus said, "Are you also still without understanding? ...."
His next encounter is with the woman whose great faith is rewarded and her demon possessed daughter is set free! Then we see Jesus feed the four thousand because as He tells His disciples, "I have compassion on the multitude ..." Then His disciple said to Him, "Where could we get enough bread in the wilderness to fill such a great multitude?" 15:32-33
Then, next after the feeding of the four thousand as chapter 16 starts we see His second encounter with Pharisees and Sadducees where the word "Hypocrite!" is once again used as He addresses their testing of Him.
Then we come to the moment that Jesus once again uses the words "little faith" to His disciples.
And when His disciples had come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. Then Jesus said to them, "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees." And they reasoned among themselves, saying, "It is because we have taken no bread." But when Jesus perceived it, He said to them, "O you of little faith,
why do you reason among yourselves because you have no bread? Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many you took up? How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?-- but you should 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 doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Matthew 16:5-12
He says to them at this point in the day...."O you of little faith," because they had seen and heard Him tell the the scribes and Pharisees that they were hypocrites because they would expand or negate commandments as they chose. He told them not to worry about offending them. He told them plainly that its not outside things that defile but what is in the heart that comes out that defiles.
They had seen Him not send the Gentile woman away when they had requested that He do so and instead He told her that she had great faith and granted her her desire and proceeded to set her daughter free.
They had seen Him once again feed thousands from next to nothing because of His compassion.
They had heard Him once again address the Hypocrisy of the 'O So Religious' that they refused to acknowledge the 'Heavenly signs of the times' because it might mess with their doctrines and positions of self importance.
He said to His disciples, "O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have no bread?" because they weren't listening. They weren't paying attention!
He had just said to them, "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees." They immediately look to the natural. 'O no. We forgot to bring bread.' He responds with, "O you of little faith," why are you worried about no bread. Don't you remember? The feeding of the five thousand? The feeding of the four? How much was left over for you? Don't you remember? I'll provide for you. ..."How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning
bread?-- but you should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." He used the words 'little faith' because once again they had forgotten who He was and what He had done! They were doing the very thing He was warning them not to do. Looking to the natural and forgetting what He had already said and done!
The Pharisees were all about serving God through rules and regulations, and adhered to a strict outward observance of the Mosaic law and their own added interpretations to it. Jesus often called them hypocrites and self righteous because of their show of religion and lack of Godly love and compassion. The Sadducees's doctrine denied the truth of bodily resurrection, future punishment and reward, and the existence of angels. The pharisees became so focused in the natural and the rules of their religion that they forgot to look to God. They no longer remembered all that He had done, all that He was and is to them. They made 'righteousness' about man and what he can do to make himself righteous. They forgot that, "Only God is good." The Sadducees decided that God isn't big enough to raise the dead, that there is no accountability, no punishment or reward for sin, and no angels. They made Him a God with no power. They forgot all that God had been and said and done for them as a nation, as His people through the use of angels and more importantly through the power of His Spirit. They made a choice to deny His power!
Great faith believes that He has the power to save even from the crumbs off the table! Great faith believes that He is God because it recognizes Him as the master of the house. Great faith remembers all that He has done and because it remember it recognizes all that He is able to do!
"Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees."Why? Because it will steal "GREAT FAITH'" away from you! Religion, doctrine of man, or as He puts it here, the leaven of the Pharisees and the Saddusees will make you look at the 'lack of bread' and cause you to forget to look to Him!
There are those in the earth today that will tell you, "God can't heal." "God isn't real." "Miracles don't happen." There are those who would declare that He is only a God of love and that there is not punishment and no reward for sin or righteousness." There are those who deny His power and the workings of His Spirit."
Beware. Beware of leaven. Be a people of Great Faith! A people that remembers and believes He was, He is, and He always will be a God who is well able to do whatever He chooses!
Choose to remember, He is God and He will take care of the God stuff! Choose great faith and hear "Great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire."