BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 27, Day 3: Matthew 26:57-68; 27:1-2; John 18:12-14, 19-24

Summary of passages: Matthew 26:57-68; 27:1-2: Jesus was taken before Caiaphas, the high priest and other teachers of the law and elders. Peter followed Jesus to see the outcome. They were looking for false evidence against Jesus so they could kill him but they did not find any despite the false witnesses. Two said Jesus had claimed he could destroy the temple and rebuild it in 3 days. Jesus refused to answer these charges.

Caiaphas asked him if he was the Christ, the Son of God. To this, Jesus did reply and said he would be sitting at the right hand of God and coming on clouds of heaven. Caiaphas tore his clothes and accused Jesus of blasphemy. The Sanhedrin agreed and they spit in his face and slapped him. Then they led him to Pilate.

John 18:12-14; 19-24: Jesus was arrested and brought first to Anna, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest, who was the one who wanted someone to die for the people.

Jesus, weary of being questioned, told Annas that he has always spoken openly and to ask those who heard him these tedious questions. Jesus was struck in the face for his flippant remarks and asked why for he told nothing untrue. Annas sent him to Caiaphas.

Questions:

5a) Annas

b)  Annas was Caiaphas’ father-in-law and an ex-high priest.

6a) Phase 1: The chief priests and Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus (Matthew 26:59-60) but they could not find any.

Phase 2: Two witnesses testified that Jesus had said he could destroy the temple and then have it rebuilt in 3 days. Here Jesus refused to reply. (Matthew 26:61-62)  The Sanhedrin were trying to get Jesus on a charge of trying to destroy the temple–a crime that would result in death.  However, John points out Jesus is speaking about the body (John 2:21) and by Jesus refusing to answer this, the Sanhedrin cannot prove anything.

Phase 3: Jesus was asked if he was the Son of God. He answered in the affirmative and was declared guilty of blasphemy here (even though Jesus was innocent since he is the Son of God), sentenced to death, and smacked around.  (Matthew 26:64-67)

b)  All of the chief priests and elders (the Sanhedrin) met officially to confirm the verdict from last night.  They came to the consensus to put Jesus to death and they bound him and brought him to Pilate. [Read Luke 22:66-71 for details on this trial].

7a) He quoted Daniel 7, saying in the future they would see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven.

b)  Jesus admits he is the Son of God but also says he will be the final judge when he sits at God’s right hand.  The roles will be reversed and he in the end will judge them for all of eternity.

c)  Blasphemy according to Webster’s Dictionary is “the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God; the act of claiming attributes of a deity; irreverence toward something considered sacred or inviolable.”  Thus, what Jesus was was true:  he is the Son of God and can therefore justly claim attributes of God and in no way be showing contempt for God.

Conclusions:  It’s like Jesus, knowing his destiny was set in motion and he was heading for death, was eager to get it over with.  He answered no questions and told them to ask others instead.  He wearied of watching the sins of man as they tried (and failed miserably) to justify killing him.

End Notes:  Annas was a previous high priest so the text can be confusing in John.  It is Annas who questions Jesus as well before Caiaphas and Annas is also still called the high priest.  Just like we call former governors of states still governors and Presidents still President, etc.  He kept his title for life.

Hence, Jesus was questioned several times that night.  By Annas.  By Caiaphas who gathered some Sanhedrin at his house.  And in Luke 22:66-71 the Sanhedrin officially assemble.

Everything about this trial broke Jewish law:  a nighttime trial, a trial during Passover, false witnesses who escaped punishment, presumption of innocence, waiting a day after a guilty verdict, etc.  This shows how desperate the high priests were to get rid of Jesus.

They ask Jesus about his threat to destroy the temple.  Jesus is silent.  John tells us Jesus was referring to his body (John 2:21).

Jesus’ silence and refusal to defend himself (although he could very well have with calling all the people he healed and others to testify to his miracles) frustrates Caiaphas to the point he called on Jesus to answer in the name of God.  Jesus did, simply, but followed by a warning:  I will be judging you in the future.

Finally, the get Jesus to admit he is the Son of God, which is blasphemy (the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God) if it had been false.

They spit in Jesus’ face and slapped him.  Imagine God’s reaction in heaven.  It had to take some might to not send angels down and wipe the Sanhedrin off the face of the earth.  As parents, I’m sure we all can relate.

Man is born God’s enemy (Romans 5:10, Colossians 1:21).  So we shouldn’t be shocked that they’d treat Jesus this way because probably in their hearts they knew Jesus was God’s Son.

Jesus protects his disciples to the end, not answering questions about them when asked.  Peter follows Jesus, determined to show he won’t be the one to deny him.  Still naive, huh Peter?

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BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 27, Day 2: Matthew 26:47-56; John 18:1-11

Summary of passages:  Matthew 26:47-56:  Judas arrives as Jesus is with the other disciples in Gethsemane.  There is a large crowd armed with swords and clubs with him.  Judas kissed Jesus, his sign to the guards as to which one was Jesus.  Jesus was seized and one of the disciples cut off a servant’s ear.  Jesus chastised him, saying to put his sword back for all who draw the sword die by the sword.  Jesus said he could easily escape if he wanted to but instead must fulfill Scripture.

Jesus spoke to the crowd, wondering why they are armed.  The disciples all abandoned Jesus.

John 18:1-11:  Jesus left the Kidron Valley and went over to an olive grove.  Judas familiar with the place came and brought soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees.  They were carrying torches, lanterns, and weapons.

Jesus met them and asked who they were seeking.  They answered, “Jesus of Nazarth.”  Jesus said, “I am he” and they drew back and fell to the ground.  He asked they let his disciples go.  Simon Peter drew his sword and cut off Malchus’s, the servant of the high priest, ear.  Jesus told him to put his sword away so he could drink the cup the Father has given him.

Questions:

3a)  Simon Peter

b)  The soldiers could have attacked and killed all of them including Jesus who would then not have been able to die on the cross for our sins as well as killing the disciples who spread the Good News to the world.

c)  He still didn’t understand that this was Jesus’ destiny and God’s plan because he tried to prevent it.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I can’t answer this.  I’m not for sure.  I believe all things have a purpose and in my adult life I believe I have been following God.  Even if it’s turns out to be wrong because I misinterpreted Him or heard wrongly, it is still His purpose for my life.

4a)  Matthew 26:56:  “Then all the disciples deserted him.”

Mark 14:50:  “Then everyone deserted him and fled.”

[Side Note:  Several sources I read said Jesus was humiliated by his arrest.  As I note below, Jesus willingly gave himself up to the soldiers.  I don't see  how he would be humiliated because of this.  However, I believe the fact that his brothers in arms (the disciples) fled would have brought shame and grief to Jesus' soul more so than being tied up and led to his destiny.]

b)  John 18:6:  “When Jesus said, ‘I am he,’ they drew back and fell to the ground.”

c)  He tells them immediately who he is and asks for his disciples to be freed (John 18:8).

Luke 22:51:  “No more of this!” and Jesus touched the man’s ear and healed him.

d)  John 18:9:  “This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled:  ‘I have not lost one of those you gave me’”.

John 18:11:  “Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”

Matthew 26:54:  “But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way?”

Matthew 26:56:  “But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.”

Mark 14:49:  “But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.”

Luke 22:53:  “But this is your hour–when darkness reigns.”

Conclusions:  Loved this lesson except for the personal question that was a bit of a stretch as it assumes we know God’s mind in our lives.  Loved how we read all the passages of this scene in the Bible.  Great comparison study!

End Notes:  Again, it’s important to note that Jesus did not hide from Judas.  He could have gone somewhere Judas would not have known where to find him; but, instead, it was not God’s plan.

We never think of the disciples as carrying swords but at various times (as shown here) they did.  Probably for personal safety especially while traveling to ward off robbers and thieves.  Most men owned and knew how to use a sword in first century AD.

The number of soldiers in a legion varied over time.  This could have been anywhere between 5400 to 6000 fighting men.  Imagine 12 of these legions of angels, fighting for Jesus.  What an awesome sight to behold!

How quickly do the disciples abandon Jesus after saying they never would at the Last Supper.  Yet Jesus knew (Matthew 26:31).  Imagine his heart-break, seeing his staunchest believers blanch in the face of cowardice.

Arrested is not the right verb here.  Jesus willingly gave himself up.  The verb here is describing the actions of man, not of God.

Map of Garden of Gethsemane:  HERE

Curiosity:  Anyone else wonder how Gethsemane became a “garden”?  Matthew and Mark just describe it as a “place.”  Luke describes it as the place Jesus customarily went on the Mount of Olives.  John describes it as “across the Kidron Valley in an olive grove”.  Somehow it is now known as the “Garden of Gethsemane” where Jesus was arrested.  Probably lost in translation somewhere along down the line.  Either way it’s a secluded place, calm and peaceful, where Jesus retreated and was arrested that fateful night.

Scholars say it was in fact a garden as it is the second time God fights for mankind with the devil.  The first was in the Garden of Eden.  The second is here–in the Garden of Gethsemane.

If you visit Israel today, you can visit a place where scholars believe may have been the Garden of Gethsemane.   Click HERE to visit the official tourist website.  The garden and the olive trees were destroyed by the Romans in the siege of 70 AD but scholars believe these trees today are descendants of those original ones.  Click on the picture to enlarge the olive trees and you’ll get a sense of where Jesus stood.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 26, Day 5: Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46

Summary of passages:  Matthew 26:36-46:  Jesus and his disciples travel to Gethsemane where Jesus goes to pray, taking Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him.  He asks them to keep watch with him as Jesus is overcome with sorrow.  Jesus asks God to take his cup from him but only if it is God’s will.

Jesus returns after praying to find his disciples asleep.  He tells them to watch and pray and if they would do that, the spirit would give them the strength to stay awake.  Jesus goes away and prays a second time, the same prayer.  He came back to sleeping disciples again.  Jesus leaves them and goes away to pray the same prayer a third time.  He comes back and chastises the disciples, telling them he is about to be betrayed and they are sleeping!

Mark 14:32-42:  Jesus took his disciples to Gethsemane and told them to wait while he prayed.  Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him to keep watch over him as his soul was overwhelmed with sorrow.  Jesus prayed to God, saying take the cup from him as everything is possible for God but only if it be God’s will.  Jesus returns and specifically chastises Simon for falling asleep, saying the body is weak but the spirit is strong.

The same as Matthew here:  Jesus asks God twice more to take away his cup and his disciples are found sleeping while Jesus is turned over to sinners.

Luke 22:39-46:  Jesus went to the Mount of Olives with the disciples following him.  He told them to pray that they would not fall into temptation.  He withdrew a stone’s throw from them and prayed for God to take the cup from him if He was willing.  An angel from heaven appeared to strengthen Jesus.  Jesus prayed more fervently and his sweat was like blood falling to the ground.

Jesus rose and went back to his disciples and found them sleeping.  Jesus told them again to get up and pray so they wouldn’t fall into temptation.

Questions:

11a)  Gave up his earthly life.  He was beaten.  He gave up his will (to live) for God’s will (to die).

b)  He is angry and chastises them.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He is sorrowful that is giving up his earthly life.  He asks to stay longer if it be God’s will.  He is sorrowful, troubled, and sad about giving up his life for others.  He knows the physical pain that is coming and he doesn’t want to experience that.  He feels just like us and needs God and God’s strength just like us.

12)  Mark tells us Jesus includes in his prayer to God that “everything is possible for him”.  Mark tells us Jesus specifically yells at Peter about falling asleep.

Luke is the passage that deviates the most from the other two.  Luke says that Jesus told all the disciples to pray that they would not fall into temptation and that presumably all of them fell asleep.  Jesus was only a stone’s throw from them while praying.  An angel from heaven appeared to Jesus as he was praying to strengthen him.  Sweat fell from Jesus like drops of blood to the ground.

13a)  Jesus prays the same thing 3 times “Father, if it be possible, may this cup be taken from me.  Yet not as I will, but as you will.”  Luke says God sent an angel to strengthen Jesus.

b)  Lord, thank you for strengthening Jesus in his time of need that allowed him to sacrifice his life for our sins so that we may be with you.  May we all embrace your will as Jesus did.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclusions:  I find it fascinating how one passage usually always differs from the others.  How God wanted different facts recorded it seems.  It shows how each of us remembers things a bit differently and some things about experiences stand out to us while different things stand out to others.

End Notes:  The name Gethsemane means “olive press” so the area was surrounded by olive trees.  Olives are crushed to make olive oil.  Fitting then how Jesus was soon to be crushed.

Note the cup of wrath or judgment that we discussed in Matthew 20 (Lesson 21 Day 4).  Jesus is taking the cup that was meant for all of us.

Gethsemane was the last place Jesus needed to win in order to take our sins.  Imagine if Jesus had turned his back on us here.  The whole world would not be the same.

Jesus needed the disciples prayers here for him and for themselves in order to not deny him.  They failed miserably if you will.

Note the example Jesus sets here with repeated prayer.  If Jesus can repeatedly ask God for things, so can we.

Jesus knew Judas was coming, but he did not run.  Instead, he waited for him.  Jesus was the one in control of events.  As he continues to be today.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 26, Day 4: Matthew 26:31-35; Mark 14:27-31; Luke 22:31-38

Summary of passages:  Matthew 26:31-35:  Jesus tells his disciples they all will fall away from him and he will rise and go ahead of them into Galilee.  Peter denied he ever would abandon the Lord but Jesus said he would 3 times.  Peter still denied it.

Mark 14:27-31:  Same as Matthew.

Luke 22:31-38:  Jesus says that Satan has asked to sift Simon Peter (test him) so Jesus has prayed for him that his faith may not fail and tells Peter to strengthen the brothers.  Peter says he is ready to go with Jesus to death.  Jesus says Peter will deny him 3 times before dawn.  Jesus tells the disciples to bring a purse, bag, or sword for they are about to be persecuted.

Questions:

8a)  Peter was arrogant and cocky.  He says he will never fall away after Jesus tells them all are going to and even after Jesus tells Peter he will deny him 3 times Peter says he won’t.  To deny someone 3 times is weak in my opinion

b)  He says he won’t fall away, not him.

c)  Peter thinks he won’t fall away and he’s sure of himself even to the point of death.  When one is over-confident, failure tends to happen.  He is more susceptible to tricks when he believes he isn’t.

9a)  God’s sovereignty over Satan:  Satan had to ask God for permission to “sift” Simon or test him.

The tempted Christian:  Jesus prays for us that our faith may not fail and that we will be stronger afterwards to strengthen others

Jesus:  Jesus prays for us and is with us throughout the temptation.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Not for sure when I failed God knowingly although I’m sure I have failed many a time.  I definitely don’t feel like I have helped others because of my failures.  Hurt others would be more like it.

10a)  They will all fall away and Peter is going to deny Christ 3 times that night.

b)  Christ will rise and go ahead of them into Galilee.

Conclusions:  Easier than the previous days for the mere fact the passages are shorter and only covers one small event.  Question 8 should have been one question for the answers were all similar in nature.

End Notes:  By telling Peter he will deny him 3 times, Jesus is giving him a chance to pray to God to strengthen him for on his own, Peter is weak.  Peter, over-confident of his own abilities, dismisses Jesus’ claims–a mistake on Peter’s part that will haunt him the rest of his life.

As Peter demonstrates, it’s okay to stumble in our walk with Christ as long as we get back up. Peter made some mistakes but did he ever make up for them!  We are human and we will stumble.  To expect otherwise is unrealistic.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 26, Day 3: Matthew 26:17-30

Summary of passage:  Jesus made preparations for the Passover dinner.  He told the disciples to go to Jerusalem to a certain man’s house and tell them the teacher is going to have Passover dinner at your house.  So they did.  So, at Passover, Jesus announces that one of them will betray him in less than 24 hours.  All denied it and Jesus pointed out it would be Judas, who was foolish enough to ask Jesus who told him the truth.  He told him it would be better if he had not been born.  (OUCH!).

Jesus blessed the bread and gave it to his disciples, saying eat this as my body.  He gave them wine and said drink this as my blood of the covenant.  They sung a hymn, presumably finished dinner, and went to the Mount of Olives.

Questions:

6a)  Passover

b)  The Jews celebrate Passover as a festival to remember God’s liberation of His people from Egypt.  The name comes from God’s instruction to the Jews to mark their homes with lambs’ blood so that the angel of the Lord would “passover” their homes during the 10 Plagues God inflicted upon the Egyptian people.  Exodus 11-12 records God’s instructions to Moses regarding the punishment of killing the first-born child of the Egyptians and His command to celebrate this as the Feast of the Unleavened Bread to remember God’s great deeds.

c)  He blessed bread, broke it, and said eat of his body.  He blessed wine, drank it, and said drink of this wine as this is the blood of the covenant.

7a)  Luke 22:19-20:  Bread:  Jesus’ body  Wine:  New Covenant in Jesus’ blood for us

John 6:51-58:  Bread:  Jesus’ flesh and whoever eats of it will live forever.  Wine:  Jesus’ blood and drinking it will give everlasting life.  Feed on Jesus and live.  Bread that came down from heaven.  Manna from Moses does not give everlasting life.  Here Jesus emphasizes the difference.

1 Peter 1:19:  “with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect”

1 Peter 2:24:  Bread would be his body here and our sins.  Wounds would be his blood and represent our healing and righteousness

1 John 1:7: Jesus’ blood purifies us from all sin.

b)  Verse 24:  “Do this in remembrance of me.”  Verse 25:  “Whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”  Verse 26: “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  You are remember Jesus as Lord and Savior and his suffering on the cross for me.  I personally think verse 28 is much more helpful  “a man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.”  Take this seriously, take a moment, confess your sins, ask for forgiveness, and be close to God.  Don’t just go through the motions.

Conclusions:   It is a pet peeve of mine when BSF only puts the required reading at the top but then the first question requires us to read more.  This should be put in the headline.  Hence, this day is deceiving.  It’s just as much work as yesterday was.

Interesting that we didn’t read Mark’s, Luke’s and John’s account of this very important event especially since John, once again, varies widely and adds details no other does.  It is John who tells us Jesus washed the feet of his disciples.  It is him who tells us Judas has been prompted by the devil to betray Jesus and that Jesus sends Judas away to do it quickly.

End Notes:  Once again, John deviates from the others and thus throws a kink into the timing.  Matthew, Mark, and Luke present this event as happening on the Passover.  John says this happened before the Passover (13:1) and Jesus was crucified on the Passover (John 18:28).  Scholars argue that maybe Jesus ate earlier than Jewish custom or Jesus deliberately held this feast sooner so as to have the time with his disciples.  To me, this argument is unimportant with the result of Jesus’ death:  Salvation.  The rest is nice to know but not life-changing.

Jesus was hoping Judas would repent of his sin and this is why Jesus brings up the betrayal.  Jesus knew his betrayal was fixed and would not be changed, but he was hoping Judas could still be saved.  Psalm 41:9 by David “Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.”

Can you imagine how Jesus’ heart broke over this?  How many of us have experienced a similar kind of betrayal by a loved one; yet, thankfully, only our heart breaks and our lives are not threatened.

[Side Note:  Dante's Divine Comedy has Judas in the lowest place in Hell.  This is suitable for Judas does the opposite of repenting:  he denies it as well and becomes as hypocritical as the chief priests.].

Every disciple was incredulous.  And none of them pointed a finger at others.  All were shocked.

Once again, it is John who throws a wrench in this debate:  Was Judas present at the Lord’s supper or did he leave before hand (John 13:30)?  Again, up for debate.  Most scholars say Judas was not present at the Lord’s supper for the mere fact of what the Lord’s Supper represents.  Another question we’ll have answered when we get to heaven.  There are no 100% answers here.

My Bible does not have New Covenant but New is in some manuscripts.  Hence, Jesus is God when he institutes the covenant as only God can.

For hundreds of years, there has been debate on if the bread and wine becomes actual blood and body of Jesus (transubstantiation and a Roman Catholic belief) or consubstantiation where the bread and wine are the blood and body of Jesus by faith and not transformed (usually propounded by Protestants from Martin Luther and Calvin on).

Whatever you believe, what matters is what your heart believes:  do you accept Jesus as your Savior?

We must take and eat.  We must choose to accept his life.

The Greek word for thanks is “eucharist”.  Hence, the Lord’s supper being known by some as the partaking of the Eucharist.

I’ve missed the fact Jesus sang at the Last Supper until now (Go BSF!).  Can you imagine?  Jesus singing?!!

What did Jesus sing?  It is traditional for Jews to sing Psalm 116-118. Beautiful.

Could you sing before your death?  If you have Jesus, you can do anything!

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 26, Day 2: Matthew 26:1-16; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-11

Summary of passages:  Matthew 26:1-16:  Jesus tells the disciples that the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.  The chief priests and elders assembled in the palace of the high priest of Caiaphas and plotted to arrest him and kill him.  But not during the Passover Feast or the people may riot.

That night while Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon the Leper a woman came to him and anointed him with expensive perfume.  The disciples were indignant, saying she could have sold that perfume and give the money to the poor.  Jesus chastised them, saying she was doing a beautiful thing for him who will not always be with them.  She was preparing him for burial.

Judas went to the chief priests and offered to hand Jesus over to them.  They offered him 20 silver coins and Judas agreed.

Mark 14:3-9:  Mark adds the details that the perfume could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and some present rebuked her.  She did what she could.

John 12:1-11:  John says this happens 6 days before the Passover while Matthew says it was only 2 days.  He says it happened at a dinner given in Jesus’ honor.  Martha served and Lazarus was present.  Mary was the one who took the bottle of perfume.  She poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair.  It says Judas was the one to object and his motives were selfish:  he wanted the money for himself and since he was apparently in charge of the disciples’ money, he would take some for himself.

A large crowd came to the house to see Jesus and Lazarus.  Hence, the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well since many were being converted to Christ because of the testimony of Lazarus.

Questions:

3)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It challenges me to give the most precious possessions I own to Jesus as Mary did and to humble myself before him with no regard to how it may be perceived by others or what repercussions might come about.

4a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Apparently, Judas was a greedy man and probably jealous of Jesus.  Jealousy and greed lead to even greater sins of betrayal and even selling your soul.  Lesson is to be on guard against such sins.

b)  He was paid 30 pieces of silver.  In Exodus we learn 30 pieces of silver was the penalty to be paid to a master if a man’s bull gores a slave.  The bull must also be stoned.  In Zechariah the shepherd was paid 30 pieces of silver for his work, which the Lord said to throw back to the potter so the shepherd did.  The shepherd here is Jesus.  Read more of Zechariah for context here.

The point here is that 30 pieces of silver (about $25 today) was a small amount–the amount a slave was worth and a slave’s life was worth.  Christ was valued as nothing when in reality his gift to us is priceless.

5a)  According to Jesus and recorded in all 3 gospels here, the perfume was serving as an anointment for burial.  Here, the heart gift is important.  Mary was giving Jesus all her heart and all her worship.  She was giving him all she had–all his due–all that is his.  She (a woman) understood the coming days.

When you do, when you give, and when you live all for him, you do no wrong.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Well, “good things” is subjective.  I don’t think any time spent in prayer, reading the Bible, or worship is a waste.  Could I be doing other things and do others things call my attention?  Yes.  Time is a precious commodity and it is always a trade-off when we decide how to spend our time.  But I don’t “consider” any time I do spend a waste.  I am called to spend time with the Lord and I consider it a privilege every time I do.

I’m not tapping my foot during worship, impatient if that’s what this is about.  I think it’s all a priority.  You spend time with God first, others second, your stuff last.  Whether you always do this or not is a different question.  But no time is a waste when spent on God.  No matter how little or how much you do do.

Conclusions:  Lots of reading for this day and in the coming days of parallel passages.  It was interesting just how much different John is from Matthew and Mark.  This doesn’t necessarily mean it is a contradiction.  Since Matthew and Mark doesn’t give dates, it could be a flashback for Matthew and Mark as they record events out of order.  They really don’t say specifically like John does.  Jesus was at Bethany for a whole week before Passover so this could have taken place any time during that week.

I wonder why Mary wasn’t mentioned by name in Matthew and Mark and neither was Lazarus.  Fascinating.

End Notes:  Jesus is now done with his teachings.  The rest is preparing for his crucifixion.

Matthew’s use of the words “assembled” and “plotted” is deliberate.  It is supposed to remind the readers of Psalm 31:13.

Simon the Leper is unknown in Scripture outside of this verse.  We can presume he was one Jesus cured but his distinction still stuck.

Caiaphas was high priest from 15 AD-36 AD.  This was an extraordinarily long time for a high priest.  This shows just how skilled Caiaphas was in keeping the Jews and the Romans happy.

Two years after the crucifixion of Christ, both Caiaphas and Pilate were out of power, replaced by the future Roman Emperor Vitellius.  Caiaphas killed himself after this, some say out of guilt of the crucifixion of Christ.

Amazing how the high priests thought they were in control.  They did not want to kill Christ during Passover; but as we’ve seen, Christ is in control and his plan was different.

Scholars believe the Mary in John is the sister of Lazarus and Martha.

Why is this story not recorded in Luke?  There is in Luke 7:36-50.  Scholars believe Luke’s a separate anointing that took place in Galilee.  Still, some of the details in Luke’s account mirrors John’s account such as the anointing of the feet and the wiping of the hair.

This is one of those things we’ll have to ask John and Luke about when we get to heaven!

Was this waste?  If everything is from Jesus, then it’s all for Jesus as well.  This was an intense act of love, giving Jesus all his due.  Hence the chastisement of Judas and others.

Judas, having been rebuked publicly by Jesus here, probably took this as the last straw.  Hence, his desire to turn Jesus over for profit.  His jealousy probably raged here and he desired revenge.

Many scholars have speculated as to Judas’ motivations.  Some point out he may have been from Judea, making him the only disciple from that area.  Hence, he might resent the prominence of the others.  Some say he wanted Jesus to reveal himself so he thought his actions would hurry this up.  Some even say he didn’t believe Jesus to be the Messiah and he decided to cut his losses.

Whatever Judas’ motivations, we only know the outcome:  Judas sold Jesus for greed.  He profited.  That’s all the Bible says and that is sufficient for us believers.  All of God’s word is sufficient.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 25, Day 5: Matthew 25

Summary of passage:  In the parable of the Ten Virgins, Jesus tells the story of 10 young virgin women who grabbed lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.  Five were prepared by bringing extra oil and five weren’t.  The five who didn’t bring extra oil went back to town to buy more and while they were gone, the bridegroom arrived.  They went into the wedding banquet with him.  The late-comers, the 5 who went back to town, were not allowed in because the door had already been barred shut.

Jesus tells his disciples another parable.  A master decides to go on a journey so he calls his servants and gives each some property to them.  One servant receives 5 talents, another 2, and another just 1. The man who had received the 5 talents went out and put his talents to work so that he gained 5 more.  The one who received 2 talents went out and gained 2 more as well.  But the man who had only received 1 talent went off and buried his under a tree.

The master returned and settled accounts with his servants.  Because the one with 5 talents had doubled his, the master praised him and put him in charge of many more things.  The same with the man who had doubled his 2 talents.  The one who had received the 1 talent was chastised by the master.  He had his talent stripped from him and given to the man with 10 talents now.

Everyone who has more will be given more.  Those who do not have will have even what they have taken from them and be thrown into the darkness.

The Son of Man will separate all the nations gathered before him.  Those on the right will inherit the kingdom of heaven and eternal life that has been prepared for them since the creation of the world because they took care of Jesus through taking care of others (his sheep).  Those on his left will go to Hell and eternal punishment for they did nothing for him nor others.

Questions:

13a)  The meaning of the Greek word is “age-long”.  There has been debate on whether this means at some point the “age” will come to an end and the damned will have another chance at redemption.  But to believe this, then you must believe that the righteous “age” will also have an end.  Hence, most scholars agree that heaven and hell are ever-lasting, forever, and without end and once in, you cannot leave.

b)  Matthew 25:10:  It will be a banquet/party

Matthew 25: 21, 23:  You will share your master’s (Lord’s) happiness or joy.

Matthew 25:34:  You will share in the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world–your inheritance and your blessing.

c)  Matthew 25:12:  Jesus will not know you in Hell.

Matthew 25:30:  Hell is dark with weeping and gnashing of teeth and you will be worthless

Matthew 25:41:  The cursed will be departed from God into eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

14a)  Personal Question.  My answer: [Note:  I think the Sheep and Goats is NOT a parable.  It's a description of Jesus' Second coming and the judgment that will happen at that time.  Hence, it is not teaching us anything per se, especially in a clouded way.  Hence, the question should either say two parables or just say in this chapter.]

They are all relating the importance of being prepared for Jesus’ second coming.  Being prepared physically, spiritually, with works, and with talents for His kingdom.  They are all emphasizing how it could be any time.  The groom comes at an unexpected time.  The master returns unannounced.  Jesus divides when he returns which we don’t know.  The importance of individuality here where it focuses on people themselves being prepared.  In other words, don’t worry about what others are doing; worry about what you are doing.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I loved how the kingdom has been prepared for me since the creation of the world.  To think I’m that special to God that He made a place just for me so long ago and He provided Jesus so I could be there.  It’s overwhelming to think about and definitely praise-worthy.  It is encouraging to know I have work to do.  It is encouraging to know my talents are my own and I have a unique commission in this life to fulfill it.  Furthermore, if I do even the littlest of things, even if insignificant to me, for others, it is doing it for Jesus.  Powerful stuff!

Conclusions:  I liked how all the verses we looked up was in this chapter and not elsewhere in the Bible.  A nice break.  I haven’t said this much this year but this is the first lesson I can remember all year that we’ve had a “review” day and studied the chapter as a whole on Day 5.  A filler day, but an important one to reflect on lessons learned.

Only 3 more chapters to go in the Book of Matthew.  Can you believe it?!

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 25, Day 4: Matthew 25:31-46

Summary of passage:  The Son of Man will separate all the nations gathered before him.  Those on the right will inherit the kingdom of heaven and eternal life that has been prepared for them since the creation of the world because they took care of Jesus through taking care of others (his sheep).  Those on his left will go to Hell and eternal punishment for they did nothing for him nor others.

Questions:

10a)  A throne on earth in heavenly glory

b)  All nations, the world, people everywhere

11a)  By doing for their brothers (or others).  This includes feeding, clothing, inviting in, taking care of when sick, visiting in prison.

b)  By not doing for their brothers (or others).  This includes by not feeding, clothing, inviting them in, looking after them when sick or in prison.

12a)  They said they never fed Jesus himself or gave him something to drink or invited him in or clothe him or see him sick or in prison to care for.  The ones on the left said the same thing, adding they never saw him to help him.

b)  Romans 2:7-11:  If we do good and seek to do His glory, we will receive glory, honor, and peace.  If we are self-seeking and reject the truth and follow evil, we will meet with wrath and anger, trouble and distress.

James 2:14-17:  Act out your faith:  if you see someone in need, help them.  Offer clothing and food.

1 John 3:16-19:  We ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.  If we see someone in need, we need to have pity on them and help if we are able.  Love with actions and in truth and then we will know we belong to Him.

Conclusions:  Sigh of relief!  Much, much easier than the last two days.  Basically, what you do for others, you do for Jesus himself.  Be kind and generous and do what Jesus would do since he is not here in person to care for his sheep, then we are to care for his sheep in his name.

End Notes:  This judgment is different than the one in Revelation 20:11-15.  This one happens on earth, right after Jesus returns and seems to be only for the Gentiles.

Sheep and goats were pastured together but at night separated since goats need to huddle for warmth but sheep with their wooly fur do not.

This judgment is based purely on works.  The ones on the left were condemned for being indifferent and doing nothing.  Hence, scholars believe this was a separation before Jesus’ millennial reign.  I am no expert in this area so I defer to our forthcoming study of Revelation to clear this one up.

This ends Jesus’ Olivet Discourse and Jesus’ teachings and now we will focus on the events that lead to Jesus’ death.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 25, Day 2: Matthew 25:1-13

Summary of passage:  In the parable of the Ten Virgins, Jesus tells the story of 10 young virgin women who grabbed lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.  Five were prepared by bringing extra oil and five weren’t.  The five who didn’t bring extra oil went back to town to buy more and while they were gone, the bridegroom arrived.  They went into the wedding banquet with him.  The late-comers, the 5 who went back to town, were not allowed in because the door had already been barred shut.

Questions:

3a)  They were all virgins.  They all had lamps they took out to meet the bridegroom.  They all waited for the bridegroom and all fell asleep doing so.  All woke up at the same time and trimmed their lamps.

b)  The wise virgins are believers who have accepted Jesus into their hearts.  The foolish ones are generally all non-believers but specifically those who have heard of Jesus but haven’t committed to him.

4a)  Matthew 7:13-14:  We must walk down the narrow, small road and enter the gate that leads to life that only a few find.

Matthew 7:24-27:  We must put into practice Jesus’ words because then we will be like a house with a firm foundation that no storm can topple.

Matthew 24:4-5, 42, 44:  Watch out for Christ for no one knows when he will come.  Watch out for those pretending to be Christ.

John 1:12:  Believe in Christ and you will become a child of God, born of God.

1 Thessalonians 5:4-8:  Be alert and self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate and the hope of salvation as a helmet so we can receive salvation through Jesus and live together with him.  Encourage one another and build each other up.

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24:  Christ will allow us to be blameless at his coming and will give us peace and sanctification.

[I liked 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 better:  Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, test everything, hold on to the good, avoid evil, heed prophecy, have a fire within your Spirit.  Great stuff!]

b)  John 3:5-8:  You must have the Holy Spirit (accept Jesus) within to enter the kingdom of God.  When you accept Jesus, you are born again with the Spirit.

Romans 8:9:  If you have the Spirit, you belong to Christ and are controlled by the Spirit and not controlled by a sinful nature.

Ephesians 1:13-14:  Once you accept Jesus, you are marked with a seal of the Holy Spirit which guarantees our inheritance in God’s kingdom as His possession until we are redeemed at the Second Coming.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  These passages tell us that Jesus knows us and he calls us.  We are alive by the Holy Spirit and His children.  I am assured that with Jesus I will be at the wedding banquet on time!

Conclusions:  Very straight-forward parable about being prepared for Jesus.  Accept him now or you may not be at the wedding banquet.  Lots of verses today (and tomorrow) to look up so allow extra time to answer these.

Map of Mount of Olives:  http://bibleatlas.org/full/mount_of_olives.htm  As you can see, it’s in between Bethany where Jesus is staying and Jerusalem where Jesus is headed each day.

End Notes:  This chapter is a continuation of the Olivet Discourse.  Jesus is still speaking to his disciples on the Mount of Olives.  He is continuing the theme from Matthew 24 to be ready for his return.  He uses an example that every Jew would have understood 2000 years ago (which we don’t necessarily get).

It was Jewish tradition that after the betrothal, the marriage would take place and the groom would come for his bride at an unexpected time.  The brides’ maids who were usually about 10 in number would go out and meet him with lamps and bring him to his bride.

Breaking tradition, Jesus’ analogy has him as the bridegroom.  In the Old Testament, God had always been described as the bridegroom (Isaiah 54:4-5; 62:5; Jeremiah 2:2; Hosea 1-3, and many more).

Even though the brides’ maids slept, they were prepared.  And when the call went out in the middle of the night (an unexpected time), they answered.

If oil does indeed represent the Holy Spirit, then the truth is that without the Holy Spirit, you are not ready for Jesus.

We should be constantly re-filling ourselves with the Holy Spirit else we enter a period of lackadaisical living–unmotivated, purposeless, passionless, laziness, and unproductive overall.  This is my prayer today:  to fill me up more so I may overcome this period in my life.

The penalty is too severe if we are not prepared–eternal life without Jesus in Hell.  Are you willing to pay it?

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 25, Day 3: Matthew 14-30

Summary of passage:  Jesus tells his disciples another parable.  A master decides to go on a journey so he calls his servants and gives each some property to them.  One servant receives 5 talents, another 2, and another just 1. The man who had received the 5 talents went out and put his talents to work so that he gained 5 more.  The one who received 2 talents went out and gained 2 more as well.  But the man who had only received 1 talent went off and buried his under a tree.

The master returned and settled accounts with his servants.  Because the one with 5 talents had doubled his, the master praised him and put him in charge of many more things.  The same with the man who had doubled his 2 talents.  The one who had received the 1 talent was chastised by the master.  He had his talent stripped from him and given to the man with 10 talents now.

Everyone who has more will be given more.  Those who do not have will have even what they have taken from them and be thrown into the darkness.

Questions:

6a)  Proverbs 3:13-15:  Finding wisdom and gaining understanding or knowledge.  You will be more profitable and will yield more.

Matthew 13:52:  Learn about the kingdom of heaven

Matthew 28:19-20:  Go and make disciples of all nation, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything God commands.

John 1:9-13:  Light, knowing Jesus and God, and believing in Jesus and God.

John 13:15:  Following Jesus’ example–doing what he has done for us.

John 21:15-17:  Feed Jesus’ sheep and care for them out of love of Christ.

2 Timothy 3:16-17:  Scripture that is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness to be equipped for good work.

In essence, we are responsible for knowing Him and telling others about him.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He has entrusted my children to me that I am to teach and train up in Him.  He has given me a talent/passion for writing that I am trying to use for His glory.  He has given me a passion for His word so that I may share my knowledge with others.  He has given me a husband to care for as well and share my knowledge with.

7)  Five Talent:  He went immediately out and put his money to work and gained five more.  He was rewarded by being put in charge of many things and sharing in his master’s happiness.  He was apparently hard-working, enthusiastic, and obedient.  He was good and faithful.

Two Talent:  He gained 2 more talents as well and was rewarded with more things and happiness.  He was obedient as well, good and faithful.

One Talent:  He buried his money in a hole, afraid of his master.  He had the one talent taken from him and given to the man with 5 talents and he was thrown outside into the darkness with weeping and gnashing of teeth.  He was “wicked and lazy”.

8a)  We are told he was afraid of his master.  He was overly cautious, not wanting to risk anything or lose the 1 talent given him.

b)  God will repay you for the years lost and bless you.  You will have plenty to eat and will be full.  You will praise God for these wonders in your life and know He is God.  You will never be shamed again.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  In all honesty, no, I can’t.  I can’t think of a time I have hidden my talent and then brought it out, used it, and was rewarded for it.  I like to think I’m authentic and what you see is what you get.  I try not to hide anything nor deceive.  I’m not one to be frightened of consequences if I am following God’s will.  There were times as a child where I was shy but no specifics jump out at me.  I think I’m still searching in all honesty for my talent to be discovered.

9)  “For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance.  Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.”  God gives you things.  If you use these gifts, more will be given to you.  If you don’t, all will be taken away.

Conclusions:  Another dousy of a lesson with lots of verses to look up for the second day in a row!  This is about using our gifts that God has given us for Him and not for us.  And when we do that, we will be entrusted with more to use for His kingdom.  Great lesson worth the extra time involved!

End Notes:  In today’s terms, a talent would be worth close to $1500 and maybe much more.  The talent was a weight so the worth of a talent would depend on if it were made of gold, silver, or copper.  Most scholars estimate it at around 6,000 denarii or about what a day laborer would earn in 20 years!

In Greek, the word is a money denomination but we do derive our English word “talent” from this parable by Jesus (neat, huh?).  The meaning has evolved to take on more than as a unit of currency.  Now it can stand for extraordinary ability or natural aptitude or skill.

The servants were given money according to their ability but each was given some and still a significant amount.  Everyone received something and it is only man’s pride and envy that produces jealously over the gifts instead of being grateful for what their gift is.

The first and second servant took action and did something with their talents.  The third did nothing.

Note the master returned after a long time.  We will give account and we are called to remain faithful no matter how long our lives are.

Other Bible translations have “happiness” as “joy of your lord.”  From that sense it is clear Jesus is referring to heaven with God.

The third servant’s attitude is:  because the master was so great, he was unneeded so he therefore did nothing. At least he gave back to the master what was his.  So often today people think gifts from God are theirs, it belongs to them, and they can do what they want.  This man is full of excuses.  Some people today even blame God for their failures.

Note the strong condemnation against laziness.  It is a sin when you are not working for the Lord.  He accepts no excuses.

The man could have at least put the money in a bank.  This would be similar to helping others do the Lord’s work if you refuse to do the work assigned to you.  But he didn’t.  Therefore, he was not of the Lord nor of a heart of Jesus so he was cast to Hell.

Here Jesus is saying:  Each person in the kingdom of heaven is given a certain number of gifts and opportunities (talents) to serve God.  We can either waste those opportunities or invest them in a way that furthers the kingdom.

We must be ready for Jesus’ return.  One way is to use what he has given us wisely.  We must be about the Lord’s business, not ours.  What have you done with your money, knowledge, talents, time, and abilities?  Sometimes it’s about what we don’t do instead of what we do do.