Matthew 16:11-15

Mat 16:11 (KJB)
How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?

Jesus then openly asks them the question concerning the bread. They were looking at the physical aspect of it but Jesus was giving them a spiritual lesson concerning the leaven of the Pharisees. Bread was a staple food for living in ancient times and without it, a person could starve to death. It was that important of an item and that is why the disciples concerned themselves with the physical bread. The lesson here is that the Pharisees and Sadducees were so permeated with the leaven of evil, that they lived in that state continually. They never acted out of concern for others but only for themselves and their benefit. Jesus wanted to point that out to the disciples that their calling was to be different than the calling of the Pharisees which was self-centeredness. The disciples were to give themselves to the ministry of the Gospel and were not to concern themselves with themselves because Jesus would supply all their needs wherever He sent them to minister. The Pharisees and Sadducees lived in a perpetual state of greed and that was not to be the Christian mindset. Let us bring that up to today. There are many media ministries and even churches where the pastors make tremendous salaries and are constantly preaching for more. These false pastors live in a state of greed and are fleecing the sheep. We must beware of the leaven of the modern day greed based apostate.

Mat 16:12 (KJB)
Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

Then they finally understood that Jesus was not focusing on the physical bread but He was focusing on the lesson that the bread would bring. Many lived on bread as it was a staple food and the Pharisees lived on greed as if it was their staple food and it was because they only sought wealth and status. Their concern was not for the spiritual well being of the people nor for their eternal well being, but their concern was only for themselves. This is the mindset that Jesus wants to expunge from the thinking of the disciples, and all disciples up to today, because with the Gospel, the concern is for the person you are witnessing to or the group you are bringing the Gospel to.

Mat 16:13 (KJB)
When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

The region of Caesarea Philippi was formerly called Paneas and was located on the northernmost part of Jewish territory on the lower slopes of Mount Hermon. Philip the tetrarch rebuilt the town and renamed it. Caesarea means “Caesar’s town.” Jesus then asks them a very serious question about who people say that He is. He was not concerned about what the Pharisees and Sadducees thought because He knew what they thought, but He wanted to know who the common people thought He was.

Mat 16:14 (KJB)
And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

After the people had witnessed the miracles of Jesus and many were recipients of those miracles, they had attached some important names to who Jesus was. The first was John the Baptist because even Herod thought that Jesus was John resurrected and probably that belief spread since he was the king in that area. Then some said Elijah because in Malachi 4:5 many thought that Elijah the Prophet would come back to Israel to usher in some type of Judgment. (Mal 4:5 KJV) Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: Then some thought that He was Jeremiah the Prophet. The ministry of Jesus and Jeremiah were similar because both spoke with the authority of God and both had suffered. If you notice, those people who believed these had gone into the past and not one looked to the future or even thought that Jesus was the Messiah. It is a shame when the glory of a nation or a church is its past.

Mat 16:15 (KJB)
He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

Jesus now turns to His disciples and wants to know who they think He is. He is not so much concerned about the crowds but He wants to see what His close followers think of Him. This is probably the most important question in the Bible. The answer to this question manifests what is in your heart. If you see Jesus as a prophet, political activist, great teacher, etc., then you have missed the boat of salvation because unless you can state emphatically that Jesus was God in the flesh, you are in a lost state and are in danger of going to Hell. Only the true Christian can claim that Jesus is the Son of God. Ask yourself today who Jesus is? It is a matter of eternal salvation.