“Why Reason Ye?”

Matthew 16:1-12

AFTER the incident of the Syrophenician woman, Matthew (15:29-31) and Mark (7:31-37) record the healing of many lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others. Mark singles out the healing of a deaf man with an impediment in his speech. Alas, all of us are deaf to heaven, and only Jesus can loose our tongues in true testimony! He tried to avoid superficial sensationalism by charging that they tell no man, but His fame spread.

Next He fed four thousand, an entirely different miracle from the feeding of the five thousand, as Mark plainly tells us (8:19- 20). Not only can our Lord open our eyes and ears and loose our tongues but He feeds us with Himself, the Bread of life.

Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came to Him seeking a sign. It was an unholy union of two Jewish groups at odds with each other but here united in common cause against the Lord. He answers with a mighty declaration that they can read the signs of the weather but cannot read the signs of the times. How true today! Men scan the daily weather forecast for an uncertain prediction but make light of the sure word of prophecy in the Bible lying on the table. These very days through which we now are passing are unmistakably foretold in the Old Book, but when we preach them, men laugh at “excitable premillenialism.”

Our Lord left these inquisitors with no sign, according to Mark, but with the sign of Jonah according to Matthew—the sign of the resurrection (Matt. 12:39-41). Then He crossed the sea with His disciples, who forgot to take bread along. On the other side He, with His mind still on the Pharisees and Sadducees, said, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” The disciples, with their minds on the lack of bread, said, “It is because we have taken no bread.” No wonder our Lord said, “O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?” Then He reminds them of the fact that He has just fed five thousand with a few loaves and fishes and declares that what He had in mind was the evil teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

For us the application is plain. How stupid of these disciples to be worrying over the lack of bread when they had just seen our Lord feed thousands with a few loaves! Would Jesus be bothered over the lack of a little bread when He could work such wonders? Yet we today profess to believe in a miracle-working God who spreads tables in the wilderness and supplies meal in the barrel, and then we reason among ourselves because we have no bread. We worry about daily needs; we gather in a huddle in our churches to devise plans to meet expenses; we forget the supernatural and become panicky in the face of a crisis. Theoretically we believe in a God who supplies all our needs, but when we find resources dwindling and an emergency on hand we reason among ourselves to meet the situation. A Christ who could take a few loaves and feed multitudes is ready to prove His power in our individual lives and in our churches when we quit reasoning among ourselves and let Him work.

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