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 teaching 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 impossible to be dogmatic about the division of the chapter, as references to the two events are so interwoven, but the following is suggested. Verses 4-14: general principles. Verses 15-28:the siege and destruction of Jerusalem.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.
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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 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 22:15-46

  1. Comparing the teaching of Jesus in verses 15-23 with Paul’s teaching in Rom. 13:1-7, outline the duty of the Christian to the state.
  2. Verses 23-33. On what does Christ base his teaching about the fact of resurrection?
    What features of the life of the world to come emerge from this teaching?
  3. Verses 41-46. Christ’s counter-question here makes some clear claims.
    What are these?
    Ps. 110:1 is cited in verse 44. Consider the use made of this elsewhere in the New Testament. Cf. Acts 2:33-36; Heb. 1:13; 10:11-13.
    Of what truths and hopes are we thereby assured?

Matthew 22:1-14

  1. In this parable what are we taught about the pattern of Christ’s ministry, and what challenges do you find to evangelistic outreach?
  2. In verses 11-13 what do you understand to be the significance of the wedding garment?
    Cf. Zech. 3:1-5.
    Consider the balance in these verses of the free invitation of the gospel and the demand for holiness, ‘without which no one will see the Lord’ (Heb. 12:14).

Matthew 21:23-46

  1. Verses 23-27. People often ask for more understanding or for more proof before they respond to Christ.
    How did Christ himself answer such a demand?
    What are the conditions of receiving more light?
    Cf. John 7:17. In what way does the brief parable of verses 28-32 underline the same teaching?
  2. Verses 33-44. What is taught by this parable concerning the character of God, the person of Christ, the responsibility of men and women, and the reality of judgment?
    Do you find anything significant in the reaction of the Pharisees in verses 45, 46?

Note: Verse 44 (see mg.) is omitted in many manuscripts. But it teaches that there will be brokenness either in repentance or in final judgment.

Matthew 20:29 – 21:22

  1. What claims concerning the person and work of Jesus are here:
    9a) publicly made by Jesus himself, and
    (b) openly acknowledged by others?
    What particularly provoked either rebuke and indignation, or prayer and acclamation?
    Can you keep silent?
  2. What was Christ condemnation in his cleansing of the temple (21:12, 13), and in his cursing of the fig tree (21:18, 19)?
    If he similarly came into our church or examined our lives, what would he see and say?