Matthew 23 – 24

Matthew 23:1-22

  1. Verses 1-12 are an indictment of the Pharisees because of their concern for personal prestige and outward show. Do you see how this may happen within the Christian church? In what ways may this temptation come?
  2. Note the repetition of the word ‘hypocrite’ or ‘play-actor’. How is this seen in the attitude of the Pharisees to others (verses 13-15), and in their vows and promises (verses 16-22)? What do we need to do to avoid becoming like them?

Notes

  1. Verse 5. The phylactery was a small box of leather containing portions of the law and strapped to forehead and to left arm. The fringes of the garments were four in number, attached to the dress as a symbol of the law.
  2. Verse 15. ‘A son of hell’: Greek Gehenna, meaning ‘worthy of suffering punishment in the after-life’.

Matthew 23:23-39

  1. The Lord accuses Pharisees in verses 23-26 of a serious lack of proportion in their practice of religion. Can you find modern examples of this dangerous tendency?
  2. The chapter comes to a climax with our Lord’s teaching on the inevitability of judgment (verses 29-39). Yet consider the love of Christ for Jerusalem, which is clearly shown. What was it that made judgment inevitable?

Matthew 24:1-31

  1. What is the pattern of future history as predicted by Christ in verses 1-14? Make a list of the prominent features and see how they apply to our present age.
  2. According to the teaching of these verses how should a Christian react in days of political upheaval and worldwide distress? On what can the Christian count?

Notes

  1. The reaching of this chapter is in answer to the two questions of verse 3. The disciples seemed to think of these events as contemporaneous. Christ sees the fall of Jerusalem as a foreshadowing of the day of his return. It is possible to be dogmatic about the division of the chapter, as references to the two events are so interwoven, but the following is suggested. Verses 29-31; the day of Christ’s coming. Verses 32-51; preparation for both events.
  2. Verse 15 refers back to Dan. 11:31 and in this context seems to point to the setting up of the Roman ensign within the sacred precincts of the temple.
  3. Verse 27. ‘Coming’ is in Greek parousia, meaning the official visit of a king. Cf. verses 3, 37, 39.

Matthew 24:32 – 25:13

  1. What truths concerning our Lord’s return are unmistakably certain, and what matters are left uncertain? What, in consequence, ought the Christian’s attitude to be?
  2. The parable of the ten virgins (25:1-13) teaches a final division. What is the basis of that division? How can we join the company of the wise? Cf. Matt. 7:21-27.
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