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’.
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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?

Matthew 19:23 – 20:28

  1. Consider the teaching of Jesus on riches and possessions.
    With verses 23-26, cf. Luke 6:24; 8:14; 12:13-21.
    Compare Paul’s teaching in 1 Tim. 6:7, 10, 17.
    But note that Christ gladly received help from the rich (cf. Luke 8:2, 3).
  2. Is there a place for the concept of reward in Christian service?
    What do verses 27-30 teach about this?
  3. Verses 1-16. What is the main teaching of the parable of the laborers in the vineyard?
    What does it have to say about the legalistic spirit in Christian service?
  4. Verses 17-19 are the third prediction by Christ of his own passion. Cf. 16:21; 17:22, 23.
    What new details are added here?
    What do verses 22 and 25-28 reveal of the mind of Christ with regard to what was ahead?
  5. In what ways do verses 20-28 prove the disciples to be out of sympathy with Christ at this moment?
    What do both Christ’s teaching and his example demand of us?

Matthew 19:1-22

  1. In Christ’s answers to the Pharisees and the disciples on the subject of marriage (19:1-12), what does he teach about the place and character of marriage, and what does he say about the celibate life?
  2. Verses 16-22. What do you find commendable in the young man in this incident?