Each time I packed up and traveled to Tecate, Mexico for a mission trip, I anticipated learning more Spanish. One helpful activity on the van ride from San Diego airport to Valle Redondo was to try to read the signs. I would look carefully at the businesses that stood behind the signs for clues to try to interpret the words.
In today's text, people are having a hard time with interpreting signs. Jesus is healing people left and right. And the text says this caused the people to, "praise the God of Israel." But it seems they were praising God for the display of power and for the healing, and not for what these miraculous signs signified. Jesus never performed miracles just to show off; just to give people what they wanted. Jesus' miracles were signs. Signs that pointed to Him as God and Messiah. The physical healings were signposts to the deeper spiritual healing that Jesus had more importantly come to accomplish.
When Jesus fed thousands miraculously after His hillside teaching sessions, the bread was meant as more than a meal. It was a sign. "Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God." This bread -- that multiplied itself, that fully satisfied, that in the end was more than they started with -- was a sign of His teaching. His teaching is God's Word. His mouth is God's mouth. Jesus is the ultimate manna; the ultimate bread which came down out of heaven. Don't hunger for mere bread and be satisfied, and praise God for a full stomach. Hunger for Jesus; find soul satisfaction in Him!
The Pharisees and Sadducees were good at interpreting the signs of nature. But the signs of Jesus' life and work baffled them. So they wanted signs at their request, on their terms. That's not how Jesus rolls. Man does not dictate terms to God. Defer to Christ. Accept Him on His terms.
And beware of the "yeast" of the ones Jesus called, "blind guides." In this case, the yeast represented the teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Why follow the directions of people who can not even see where they themselves are going? Again, they are the blind leading the blind. So, follow Jesus. Interpret His signs correctly. Arrive with Him at His destination - the place of salvation and abundant life without end!
Pray: Jesus, teach me! Help me to understand Your Word. Help me not to be dull and miss the true meaning. Keep me focused on the eternal, not the temporal. Help me not to reject Your teaching when it challenges me or calls for me to change.