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?

About these ads

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 6, Day 2: Matthew 5:17-20

Summary of passage:  Jesus says he has come to fulfill the Law and the Prophets.  Nothing will disappear from the law until everything is accomplished.  If you break any of these command, you will be called least in the kingdom of heaven but if you practice and teach these commands you will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Questions:

3a)  That you cannot disregard the teachings of the Old Testament just because he is here and fulfilling it.  You still must obey the commandments.  (Reflects my post HERE again, doesn’t it?).  Jesus did not come to negate or destroy the word of God He had given to His people and the prophets.  He came to fulfill it.  Thus, through fulfilling it, the old laws had to be re-interpreted.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The same as Jesus’.  The Old Testament exists for our knowledge; so we learn from our mistakes.  It records the history of God’s people (our history) and gives us laws to follow.

c)  God.  The New Testament.  The Holy Spirit.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It is alive always.  Through prayer and study, it becomes ingrained in your heart and mind and propagates in your life.

4a)  The perfect righteousness of Jesus:  Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:20-22).  Romans 10:4 establishes Jesus as the end of the law for those who believe in him.  Old Covenant replaced with New Covenant (2 Corinthians 3:11 and Ephesians 2:15).

b)  Sacrifices:  Male without blemish (Leviticus 1:3 and Hebrews 4:15), offered continually (Exodus 29:38-39 and Hebrews 9:28; 10:8-11), to make atonement (Leviticus 1:4 and Hebrews 9:12)

c)  The prophecies of the Old Testament:  Just like we studied, he was born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), he was Immanuel, God with us (Isaiah 4:6), he performed miracles (Isaiah 35), he suffered for our sins (Isaiah 53), he established his kingdom during Roman times (Daniel 2:44).

Conclusions:  Question 4 was a doozy when we’re told to use the entire Bible.  Unsure what to think about this lesson or what BSF was trying to convey about the Old Testament versus the New Testament.  I’ll be anxious to hear the lecture on this one and read the notes.

I believe the point is this:  Jesus was the only one who could fulfill the Old Testament and all the laws because he was perfect.  Try as the Pharisees might, they were never perfect (Isaiah 64:6) and thus no one could stand before God as righteous.  We had to have Jesus to cleanse us and justify us before we could “enter the kingdom of heaven” and be with God.

And I believe that is Jesus’ point.  Everything in the Old Testament is true and should be obeyed.  Just now, Jesus will fulfill it and change some of the legalistic interpretations.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 4, Day 2: Matthew 4:1-11

Summary of passage:  Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.  He fasted for 40 days and nights and the tempter told him to turn stones to bread.  Jesus said he only needed the word of God to live.  The tempter took him to the highest point of the temple and told him to jump.  Jesus said not to test God.

The devil offered him to rule the world if he only would worship him.  Jesus told him to go away for only God deserves to be worshipped.  Angels came to him afterwards.

Questions:

3a)  The desert.  To be tempted.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  To share in our humanity, to become merciful and a faithful high priest in service to God so that he might make atonement for the sins of people.  Because he suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.  It encourages me because I know how much God loves us.  He didn’t need to be tempted for he understood us, His creation, completely.  But God sent Jesus to become man for our benefit–so we would more fully believe in Him.  So we would have an example of how to defeat the devil.  So that we could identify with him.  And so we could see Jesus’ holiness.

Jesus used a weapon we all can use–God’s word.

4a)  Eve was almost immediately blinded by the things of this world:  how good the fruit was and how pleasing to the eye it was and also her desire for wisdom.  She lost track of the things of God’s world, which at that point was His word since Adam and Eve lived in Paradise, and also God’s character and who He was.

Jesus never forgot who God was.  He used God’s words against the devil as defense.  He didn’t care for the kingdoms of this world for his eye was fixed on the kingdoms of God’s world.

b)  Differences:  Jesus used God’s words against the devil.  Eve had no defense in essence.  She believed the devil over God.  Adam and Eve tested God’s words; Jesus didn’t.  Eve gave into lust of the eyes, flesh, and pride.  Jesus did not.

Similarities:  The serpent/devil was equally crafty and deceptive.  He tried to plant doubt of God in both Eve’s mind and Jesus’.  The devil was in physical form.  Both had a personal relationship with God and both had the same weapons available.

Conclusions:  Very similar to a lesson in Genesis last year (see Lesson HERE) where we were asked the exact same question with regards to Jesus.

Take away:  God loves us so much He allows us to be tempted so that we may turn to Him in faith.

Martin Luther once said that prayer, meditation, and temptation are the best instructors of God’s word.  Because in it we learn who He is.

We also see 40 days and nights in Noah and the Flood and the Israelites wandering in the wilderness.

Satan quotes God’s word as well but he twists it and leaves out important phrases.  It’s our job to know God’s word so we do not fall into the trap of twisted lies.

We will all face temptation.  But it is a sin when we give in.  The devil cannot win against us if we use God’s word as a weapon.  It is too powerful.  Through Jesus we know we can defeat the devil’s tactics.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 3, Day 3: Matthew 3:1-12

Summary of passage:  John the Baptist came to Judea preaching to the people that the kingdom of heaven is near (i.e. Jesus was coming).  He wore camel hair as clothes and ate locusts and honey.  People came from all over to confess their sins and be baptized by him in the Jordan River.

When the Pharisees and the Sadducees began coming, John warns them to repent for no longer can they hide behind Abraham as their father for Jesus is coming to judge.  He will baptize them with water but after him Jesus will come, baptizing them with the Holy Spirit.  He will clear out the evil-doers, gather his believers, and burn up whoever is left.

Questions:

4a)  Zechariah was a priest so he would have been an ideal choice to teach John the Baptist the laws.  His parents were upright and observed all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly.  He was born about 6 months before Jesus and they were cousins.  I wonder if they played together as kids and learned from each other.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I was raised a Christian.  I was raised knowing I had a purpose in this world and I believe I have all the experiences I need in order to fulfill His purpose for my life.

5a)  We are told the advice John gave to those wishing to avoid the fire.  He told those who have more than others to share.  He told tax collectors to not collect extra for themselves.  He told soldiers to not extort people.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The same.  Those who have more should give to those who have less.  We should not collect more from others than we need.  We should be content with what we have.  We should not be greedy and treat others how we want to be treated–Golden Rule.

6a)  Repentance for the forgiveness of sins and preparation for Jesus’ arrival

b)  In essence, John’s job was to tell everyone to ready their hearts for Jesus is about to come and set them free.  Thus, he baptized them with water as they repented (regretted) their sins and asked for forgiveness.  He doesn’t mention accepting Jesus into their hearts but I believe this is implied in believing the Messiah was coming.

7a)  I interpret this passage differently than BSF.  I see John’s job as making the path straight to Jesus and God.  Jesus levels every playing field for all are equal to come to him.  No more Old Testament stipulations of cleansing to come to God, which would be the mountains and the valleys and the hoops you had to perform to get to God.  Only Jesus is the way to Him now.

John’s job was to prepare the way for Jesus.  To tell those to repent and cleanse your hearts to receive him inside–to rid yourself of anything (mountains or valleys) standing in the way of Jesus.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  My sins are the rough places but they are not a mountain or valley or rough place to overcome for Jesus had done that for me.  I know when I stumble, God picks me up, and I keep walking His path no matter the obstacles (mountains or valleys) that lay before me.

Conclusions:  Challenging lesson that’s for sure as we were all over the place in the Bible.  I had an “ah-ha!” when I connected the dots in my brain with Elizabeth and Mary. Before, we hadn’t read Luke 1:5-25  just Luke 1:26-38 in Lesson 1 so I hadn’t realized the relationship between Elizabeth and Mary.  I had always heard John the Baptist was Jesus’ cousin but had never quite connected the dots.  Yeah, BSF, for making me read those passages TOGETHER!

I definitely had a different take on question 7 and an interpretation of the verse so would be curious to see your all’s answers.  In my life, I don’t see mountains anymore.  I see Jesus.  Plain and simple.

Interesting Notes:  Again, we see God choosing people off of ability, not what they look like.  John the Baptist dressed differently and ate bugs.  Not your ordinary guy in ancient times and not one you’d expect to deliver the life-changing message that the Messiah is coming.  God knows the heart; that is all that matters to Him.

It was commonly believed that if you were Jewish, you couldn’t go to Hell because of Abraham.  John tells them not to rest on their laurels but to be ready for if you are evil and produce bad fruit you will be cut down to Hell.

Begin to notice the predominance of the word “repent” in the New Testament and Jesus’ teachings.  Here, it is the first word recorded that John the Baptist said.  And it is the dominant message of Jesus:  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”  Matthew 4:17

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 2, Day 4: Matthew 2:19-23

Summary of passage:  Once Herod died, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to return to Israel with Mary and Jesus.  Joseph obeyed but settled in a town called Nazareth in Galilee out of fear of Archelaus who was reigning in Judea. This fulfilled what the prophets said that Jesus would be a Nazarene.

Questions:

8a)  Because God told him to and he obeyed.  We learned unequivocal obedience is rewarded by God.

b)  For two reasons.  One, he was afraid of Archelaus who was reigning in Judea after Herod’s death.  Two, Joseph was warned again in a dream (presumably by the angel) to not settle there.

9a)  Because Micah predicts the king will come from Bethlehem, not Nazareth.

b)  It was God’s plan for Jesus to come from the humble so no one would think they were unworthy to be His.  It’s helpful to me because I came from a dinky town in the middle of a cornfield.  It gives us all hope that we are someone, that we can make a difference no matter where we are from, that we are all special and chosen for God’s plan, and we are loved and saved no matter our background or past indiscretions.  We are His just like Jesus.

c)  I think humans try to rationalize everything.  But in reality love is irrational.  And it is love that God acts out of.  Think of all the things we do for love that doesn’t make sense: we would sacrifice ourselves for those that love, perhaps the greatest act of love there is. We do stupid things.  We put ourselves in harm’s way.  We say stupid things.  We hurt others for those we love.

If we can compare God’s wisdom to the irrational acts of love, we might get some sense of God’s ways.  For they will never make sense to us.  The fact God would send His son to die for us doesn’t make sense.  Yet it is not for us to make sense of God.  Only to have faith in Him.  For man uses his mind to place value; God uses His heart.

Conclusions:  I groaned at question 9 because we were being sent all over the place.

Yet no matter our background, we are His.  If we just remembered that one fact throughout the day, we’d live in peace, joy, and comfort.

Interesting Notes:

Note that Joseph chose to settle in his hometown of Nazareth.  It was a small and insignificant place with a bad reputation.  But more than that, everyone would know the circumstances of Jesus’s birth since Mary became pregnant before her betroyal.

A BIG challenge this year will be keeping all the predictions of Jesus from the Old Testament straight and THEN sorting each prediction out as it is fulfilled in the New Testament in Jesus’s life.

We have the benefit of a book to help us.  Being the average Joe in the first century AD who had to rely on memory, I’m not for sure I would have been able to do it.

Side Notes:  Every commentary I read said Nazareth had a “bad” reputation.  When I tried to find out why, I found nothing supporting this assertion.  All we have to go off of is Nathanael’s comment in Matthew and it can be interpreted many ways.  Nathanael was from Cana, a nearby village that might have had a rivalry with Nazareth.  Hence, presuming Nazareth had a “bad” reputation is just that:  a presumption.  In actuality, we have no concrete evidence or writings to support that presumption.

Map of Jerusalem, Nazareth, and Cana HERE

Archelaus is only mentioned this one time in the Bible.  He is the son of Herod who survived to succeed him.  He ruled Judea, Samaria, and Idumea from 4 BC to 6 AD but was replaced by the Roman government and banished to Gaul (modern day France).

Some scholars think Archelaus is the man in the parable of the pounds found in Luke 19:11-27.