This week’s article was written by Roger Newberry and Pastor Don Long from Godfrey First United Methodist Church, 1100 Airport Road.
It’s election season, and with that comes a lot of people telling us what they think we want to hear.
The truth be told, most of the time, I’d rather you tell me what I want to hear than what I need to know. It’s hard, because we can always find people to oblige us in what we want, especially when they want something from us. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul wrote “the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” (2 Timothy 4:3). Jesus said, “be careful … be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees” (Matt. 16: 6). Yeast — that all-important ingredient which makes the bread rise; without it my bread won’t puff up. The danger about which Jesus warned are words that “puff us up;” the things others say that our ears are itching to hear.
Someone once said God comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable. From what I understand about them, the Sadducees were the ruling class who held powerful positions and wielded great influence, and the Pharisees were influential members of society who seemed to control much of the decision-making of the religious authority. In short, the Pharisees and the Sadducees were the culturally comfortable in Jesus’ day, and their yeasty words were just what everyone wanted to hear. But in the 16th chapter of Matthew, Jesus reminds his followers what the bread of the gospel does: it multiplies the blessings (5 loaves feed 5,000) to comfort the afflicted, and it challenges us to humbly listen, that we might understand something new.