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Daily Devotion for May 16, 2022

The Sadducees and Pharisees Come to Tempt Jesus, by James Tissot, ca. 1885.



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Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.


Wow! I need to hear this message on a regular basis; maybe some of you do, too. Lauren Daigle gives us a brilliant illustration of Ephesians 4.

Prayer for Holiness

All provident Lord, place Your holy fear as a guard before my eyes so they may not look lustfully; before my ears so that they may not delight in hearing evil words; before my mouth so that it may not speak any falsehoods; before my heart so that it may not think evil; before my hands so that they may not do injustice; before my feet, that they may not walk in the paths of injustice; but so direct them, that they may always be according to all Your commandments. Have mercy upon Your Creatures and upon me, a great sinner.


Prayer to Cease Hypocrisy


Holy God, I am only human. I know that there are sins that I commit, in my thinking and in my life, that my eye cannot bear to see. I am so afraid of losing self-esteem that I cannot even think about them. Open my eyes and ears to your word, Lord God, that I might hear what I do not want to hear and face my faults with courage. Educate me, O Holy Spirit. Let me hear your voice instead of my own. Stop me dead in my tracks when I start to rationalize my bad conduct.

And when my mind starts to focus on the sins of others — especially sins that hold little temptation for me — take the beam out of my eye. Let me learn my own fault, before I try to correct others of theirs. Lead me to see the sin that I refuse to see, so that I can repent. Restrain me from filtering your word to conform to my will; instead, help me to hear your true word, no matter how it might pain me, that I may conform my conduct to your will. For the sake of Christ, who would bring us to perfect obedience, I pray,



“Pray the largest prayers. You cannot think a prayer so large that God, in answering it, will not wish you had made it larger. Pray not for crutches but for wings.”

~ Phillips Brooks


May the God of hope fill me and all of us with the joy and peace that comes from believing, so that we may abound in hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit.


Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.

Woman praying

Lead with Your Heart

Throw your heart over the fence and the rest will follow.

~ Norman Vincent Peale

Blue Latin Cross

Matthew 16:5-12 (ESV)

Leaven and Bread

hen the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

And they began discussing it among themselves, saying, “We brought no bread.”

But Jesus, aware of this, said, “O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Notes on the Scripture

Humor is a bit scarce in the Bible, but the disciples give us a touch of Keystone Kops here. Jesus speaks to them metaphorically about the “leaven” (or yeast) of the investigators sent from Jerusalem. The disciples miss the point completely. They immediately start talking and arguing about how they didn’t bring any bread with them. You can almost hear Jesus roll his eyes.

Bread of Life

The metaphor is a familiar one, from a parable in Chapter 13, a companion to the parable of the mustard seed. Yeast will have an effect on bread dough disproportionate to its size; one teaspoon of yeast will triple or quadruple the size of a quart of dough. So, leaven is like words or ideas. Jesus himself is a perfect example: He spoke approximately 2,025 words. as counted in an English language Bible (the exact number depending on the translation). But these 2,000 words have had an impact on human history beyond any others.

So, Jesus gets a bit miffed for two reasons. First off, He has just fed 4,000 people with seven loaves of bread; do the 12 disciples with him really think they will lack for food? He will take care of them.

And even worse, they aren’t listening to him. He is warning them about danger from the words of the Pharisees and Sadducees, but all they can think about is their stomachs.

We have heard a lot about the Pharisees, and their fundamental error of replacing faith in their heart with outward obedience to ritual action. But, what was the “leaven” of the Sadducees? The Sadducees were rich and powerful, the equivalent of people in the U.S. who “live inside the Beltway.” Their religion was essentially a political tool; the aim of their lives was to dominate Judea by using Judaism itself to control the Hebrew populace. They made inside deals with the Romans and Herodians. One could say, they were the Borgias and de Medicis of first century Judaism.

Wolf reading, from an illuminated Bible.

The Sadducees were actually a step down from the Pharisees, who were at least trying to find righteousness before God. Politics and money were anathema to Christ; or more accurately, they were irrelevant, beneath his notice.

On a tangential note, the passage unintentionally clears up one question about the Bible itself. The feeding of the 5,000 occurs in all four gospels, but the feeding of the 4,000 appears only in Matthew and Mark. Thus, some people have questioned whether these are actually one event told with variant details — because they are quite similar. Apparently not, though: Matthew here reaffirms that there were two separate occasions when Christ fed a multitude from a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish. This should sway even a skeptical reader, as Matthew would have been a firsthand witness to both.

endless knot

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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

Mark 9:40: He who is not against us is for us. For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because of your name as followers of Christ, truly I say to you, he will not lose his reward.

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It appears that the Pharisees and Sadducees motto is "We're not happy, 'till you're not happy."

Daily Quiz

Top score(s) on the Daily Quiz for May 16, 2022 were:
Linda Lyonl (12)
Barbara DiCenzo (12)
randall martin (12)
Keith Langley (11)
Sylvia Banda (11)
Norman Daniels (11)
Suzanne Rigsby (11)
Visitor Moniz (11)
Felix Trim (11)

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Pam Carpenter (9 out of 9)
Keith Langley (9 out of 9)
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