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Rocks in his way

Rocks in his way

It’s an odd image for discussing bread.

I have stopped to see this waterfall on the way to tonight’s campground because of the impressive online photos. The August waterflow is somewhat depleted, but the staggered levels are still lovely. And since I’m here alone, I sit on a flat rock and listen to what the Lord has to say.

Yeast bubbles up. That is, Jesus’s warning about yeast found in Matthew 16.

When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.”

I’ve been wondering what exactly Jesus meant. It’s not clear, as we can see by the disciples’ confusion.

What was Jesus warning about? (I see your hand, Peter. Please put the loaf down.) A little later, Matthew points out that Jesus was referring to the Pharisees’ teaching. But what aspect of it? This waterfall gives me an idea.

The stream here has to change its course as it hits obstacles. Jesus’s teaching ran smack into the obstinance of the religious leaders of the day. They could not be moved – not from their expectations of the Messiah nor from their adherence to generations of man-made add-ons to the law.

Their intractability kept them from seeing, hearing and understanding what God was doing right in front of them.

So, Jesus turns to his disciples and warns them. In essence: Don’t be like that! His caution stands for us as well. How do we put rocks in the way of his working? Here are three ways:

Our sin. Whenever we stiff-arm his access into an area of our lives. This one is mine, Lord.

Our stubbornness. When we can’t let go of assumptions about how he will work in situations we’re familiar with. We justify our inflexibility by our experience. You’ve always done it this way!

Our satisfaction. When we can’t open ourselves to new input because we’re just too comfortable where we are. It’s just too much work!

At one time or another, I have been guilty of all three.

Water will find a way. So will the work that Jesus intends to do. So will his teaching and the knowledge of who he is. He is the unstoppable force. The Pharisees put what they thought was the ultimate full stop on Jesus’s ministry when they killed him. And look what that accomplished!

Even so, let’s not be rocks he needs to work around. Let’s not miss the joy of aligning with his mission.

Jesus, keep us from solidifying into obstacles in your way. We want the joy of knowing we are in the flow of your purposes.

Reader: how is God calling you to be flexible right now? Email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Bruce Van Patter

As a freelance illustrator, graphic recorder, and author, Bruce is on a lifelong journey to delight in the handiwork of the Creator. And he’s always ready for fellow travelers.

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