March 12, Thursday
Jesus wanted to warn them about the influence of their leaders so He said, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees and the leaven of Herod.”
Well, the disciples immediately thought He was upset that they forgot to bring along enough bread. Jesus, of course, knew what they were thinking and said, “Hold on, guys, no matter how many times I say this, you aren’t catching on. You think I’m talking about food and that I’m upset that we don’t have some. Have you forgotten that we fed more than five thousand? How many leftovers did we have?”
“Twelve baskets,” they answered.
“Then just the other day we did it again, feeding more than four thousand,” He said. “Do you recall how many baskets we had after that meal?”
“Seven,” they replied.
Jesus went on to say, “So you surely can’t believe I’m worried about whether we have enough to eat today, can you? That is not at all what I was referring to when I said to watch out for the leaven of the Pharisees.”
Then the disciples realized that He was warning them to not allow the Pharisees’ beliefs to get mixed in with His teaching.
Later they arrived at Bethsaida where a blind man was presented to Him. The people begged Jesus to heal him. He took the man by the hand and they walked away from the town. Jesus spit on His hands, laid them on the man’s eyes, and asked him to open them. “What do you see?” asked Jesus.
“I see men, I think. They’re kinda fuzzy, more like walking trees.”
Jesus laid His hands on his eyes once more and then had him look up.
“Now I see everything!” he exclaimed. “And it’s all so clear!”
Jesus sent him home, asking him not to tell anyone what had happened.
Then they went up to Caearea Philippi in northern Israel where Jesus could get away to pray. When His disciples joined Him, He asked them, “What are you hearing from the crowds? Who do they say I am?”
“Some are convinced that you’re John the Baptist,” they answered. “Others say Elijah, Jeremiah, or another of the ancient prophets come back to life.”
“And what about you?” Jesus asked. “Who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter, always quick to speak, spoke for the rest by saying, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
“Bless you, Simon, Jonah’s son,” said Jesus. “This was revealed to you by My Father in heaven, and it is this rock-like conviction that will build My church so that even the gates of Hell can’t stop it. As you go, you will be given the wisdom and ability to bring about on earth what God is doing in heaven.” But He gave strict orders that they not yet say anything publicly about His being the promised Messiah.