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Knowing the Heart

Briefing: I had a friend once who was a funny, personable, intelligent, charming and charismatic guy. You didn’t have to be around him long to get sucked into doing things that you normally would not consider. On the outside, he seemed to be the All-American guy. On the inside, he was full of vile, destructive, hurtful intentions.

Dispatch (Assignment): Read Matthew 16:1-12, evil influence.

On the Street: As stated in earlier studies, the Pharisees and Sadducees were the “great” men of Jewish society. They were the leaders of the political, civil, legal, and religious systems of the day. If you had aspirations of climbing the corporate ladder in Jesus’ day, this would have been your goal.

These leaders would have been the ultimate people of society. I would imagine that any of the disciples would have loved to have the position and authority of the Pharisees or Sadducees. As young children, you would have been taught to look up to and respect these guys.

Jesus knew the hearts of the disciples and gives them a warning in verse six. Don’t be taken in by those political, charismatic “leaders”. Jesus knew the hearts of the leaders too and did not want His disciples to fall under the influence of the wrong side.

The leaders in Jesus’ time were more corrupt than the politicians of our day. That may be hard to comprehend, but I believe it’s true. They held a lot of power and did not want to relinquish it to anyone, especially Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus knew they would try anything in their power to discredit and embarrass Him and His disciples.

Highlights from this Read: In verse one, the Pharisees and Sadducees (the ones from Jerusalem still hanging around) ask Jesus for a sign from heaven. Were the healings, feedings, and demon exorcisms not enough? Did they want Jesus to turn the sky green? Jesus was the sign of the times. They just missed it. Compare Jonah to Jesus’ own crucifixion and resurrection. Jonah was in the belly of the whale for three days and Jesus will be in the heart of the earth for three days. Not knowing this, I can’t imagine what the Pharisees must have thought.

I can relate to the disciples in verse seven. I often think with my stomach before I think with my head. Jesus is our daily bread. Jesus seems to be a little disappointed in their response. They still have not come to an understanding that Jesus is Almighty God.

Investigational Resources: Mark 8:11-21. Luke 12:1 speaks of yeast of the Pharisees being hypocrisy.

Officer Safety Principle: Be on guard for evil influence in your life. It can corrupt quickly and it does not take much corruption to hurt our witness for Christ.

from The Gospel of Matthew Through the Eyes of a Cop
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
Click here to check out the entire Through the Eyes of a Cop series!