BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 21, Day 5: Matthew 21:1-17; Luke 19:28-44; John 12:12-19

Summary of passages:  Matthew 21:1-17:  On Jesus’ approach to Jerusalem, he sent two disciples to the village ahead of them to retrieve a donkey and her colt, which fulfilled Zechariah’s prophecy (Zechariah 9:9).  The disciples brought the donkey, which Jesus rode into Jerusalem.  The crowd spread cloaks and branches cut from trees on the road for him.  He caused quite the stir.

Jesus entered the temple area and drove out those selling there.  He overturned the money changers tables and benches of the dove sellers, accusing them of turning his temple into a den of robbers.  Jesus healed the blind and lame and children shouted his praise.  The chief priests and teachers of the law were unhappy with this.  Jesus stayed the night in Bethany.

Luke 19:28-44:  Jesus approached Jerusalem  and when he reached the Mount of Olives he sent two of his disciples ahead to bring him a colt.  The owners of the colt asked why they were taking it and the disciples replied because the Lord needs it.  Jesus sat on the colt and rode it into Jerusalem.  The whole crowd of disciples began praising God and some of the Pharisees in the crowd told Jesus to rebuke them.  Jesus refused.

Jesus wept over the crowd because they did not recognized Jesus for who he was.  Jesus predicts a day when their enemies will surround and kill them and tear down everything because of this.

John 12:12-19:  The crowd who had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem.  They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting praises.  Jesus found a donkey and sat upon it, fulfilling Zechariah’s prophecy.  His disciples still did not understand and wouldn’t until after Jesus’ resurrection how he fulfilled prophecy.

The crowd that had witnessed Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead spread the word and so many came out to meet him, causing great distress amongst the Pharisees.

Questions:

11a)  Jesus knew where the donkey and the colt were.  He told his disciples that if anyone asks, tell them that the Lord needs them and they will send the donkey, implying that they know who the Lord is.  Luke says that Jesus says the donkey has never been ridden, a fact he would only know if he had met the owner before.

b)  Matthew 21:8:  “A very large crowd”  Luke 19:37  “The whole crowd of disciples”  John 12:12:  “The great crowd that had come for the Feast”  Mark describes them simply as “many people” Mark 11:8

c)  Matthew 21:15-16 says the chief priests and the teachers of the law.  Luke and John say the Pharisees (Luke 19:39) & (John 12:19).  Mark says this does not mention this on Jesus’ entry but says how the next day the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for a way to kill him because of his teachings (Mark 11:18).

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The same words as the crowd:  “Hosanna to the Son of David!  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!  Hosanna in the highest!”.  John calls him “The King of Israel.”

12)  Zechariah 9:9 says how Jesus the king will be riding on a donkey.  Daniel 9:24-27 gives the exact days of when the Anointed One will come in relation to the re-building of the temple and how the people will not recognize this.

Psalm 118:24: This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.  The day Jesus enters Jerusalem is “the day” here.

13a)  To be a house of prayer

b)  John 2:18-22:  As a symbol for the body, specifically Jesus’ body

1 Corinthians 6:19:  To describe the body and a dwelling for the Holy Spirit.  “Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit”

Ephesians 2:21–22:  The temple is again described as our body being built to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.  You (believers) are build and joined together on and by Christ which will rise to become a holy temple.  So here, the body of Christ (the Church).  Read verses 19-20 as well for a clearer picture.

c)  The Holy Spirit cleanses us when it indwells us.  It washes us and we are reborn and renewed.  We receive the Holy Spirit when we accept Jesus as our Savior and his death on the cross that took away our sins.  Therefore, his blood washes away our uncleanness.

Conclusions:  Why aren’t we reading Mark and comparing it here (Mark 11:1-19)?  All 4 gospels record Jesus’ triumphal entry.  I would think that’s kind of important to study, wouldn’t you?  So I did anyways (since this is my bible study as well) and threw in the verses where appropriate.  Mark has his triumphal entry separated into two days:  The first just entering and the second day where he enters the temple and is there confronted by the priests.

Map from yesterday that shows how close Bethany is to Jerusalem and Jesus’ descent into Jerusalem:

http://www.bible-history.com/maps/images/matthew_jesus_comes_to_jerusalem.jpg

End Notes:  This is Jesus’ last week alive in human form on this earth.  Gone is all the secrecy as Jesus is ready to proclaim himself as King and fulfill prophecy doing it.  The entry is very public and Jesus knows he will garner attention and face his critics.  It is the Passover feast in Jerusalem which explains the crowds.

In the time of Abraham, donkeys were used by royalty for transportation.  The horse has only recently been introduced to Israel and thus royalty now rides on horses.  Now, only the poor ride on donkeys.  Jesus is coming in humility and peace.

The palm branches symbolized victory and success.  Hosanna means “Save!” and the crowd used it as a form of praise.  We praise God in loud voices because we need to praise God.  Use whatever you have.  It doesn’t have to be fancy.  It can be as simple as a palm branch.  Or, in response to Him, the people laid down their cloaks.  This was a much bigger sacrifice for in ancient times people usually only had one set of clothes.  So this was literally giving the clothes off of their back for Jesus.

Jesus cleanses the temple of all those defiling it and then heals the outcasts.  Note how the chief priests and the teachers of the law do not care that Jesus is praised by children and healing others nor about the greed and thievery in the temple.  All they care about is the threat to their power.  This is the one place Gentiles could come and worship and for the moneylenders and sellers and buyers to be there, they were preventing the Gentiles (all nations) coming to Jesus.

Jesus weeps as God weeps over our sins and our hard hearts for he knows what is to come for those who do not choose him.

It was common for pilgrims to stay outside the city during the Feast.  The inns were probably booked and the prices were probably higher.  Just like in modern times.  You stay in the suburbs to save money!

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BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 21, Day 3: Matthew 20:1-16

Summary of passage:  Jesus gives a parable to illustrate the kingdom of heaven and his principle he had just stated in the previous verse of the last being first.  He tells the story of a landowner who hired workers for his fields.  He hired workers all throughout the day, promising them one denarius for their labor for that day.

At the end of the day, the landowner hands out the wages.  He pays all the men the same, whether they worked all day or only one hour of the day.  Those who had worked all day began to grumble against the landowner for they felt they had borne the majority of the work.  But the landowner says they all agreed to work for one denarius and since it is his money, he can do with it as he pleases.  Due to his generosity, the last is first.

Questions:

7a)  This parable is an illustration of how in God’s kingdom the last will be first and the first will be last for the landowner paid the last ones hired first and he paid them the same amount for less work.  It also shows the reward (denarius) and how God’s rewards are not like man’s rewards.

b)  It shows God’s grace, which is a gift from God and we don’t have to earn it.  It shows how the person who comes to God at the end of life enjoys the same benefits as life-long followers of Jesus and being jealous of that can only rob us of the joy God has given us throughout our entire lives.  God is in control and ultimately decides who gets what and we are not to question His judgement nor to worry about others.

Some scholars also say this illustrates the dawning of the Gospel, how it all started with John the Baptist, Jesus, Pentecost, Jews, and then the Gentiles.

c)  The older brother and the men who worked all day have the same attitude:  they deserve more because they worked harder and obeyed and did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and those who disobeyed and barely worked are receiving the same.  They both fail to grasp God’s grace:  His promises are for all and His rewards are for all.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We and they don’t deserve anything but hell.  It’s well to keep that in mind when we all have a tendency to become jealous of others or think we are better than others because of what we have done.  God’s grace alone is what saves us.

e)  Personal Question.  My answer:  No matter how evil people are or how twisted their earthly life may have been God will forgive and welcome them if only they believe.  We here on Earth want justice and consequences  and ours is not God’s.  We would say they don’t deserve heaven.  God says they do.  Our ways are not His ways.  God’s grace is amazing in that way.  We don’t deserve Him yet for some reason, He wants us and gives us a way to be with Him.  And for that we should all be grateful.

Conclusions:  I love this story!  I wanted to spend all of Lesson 21 on it!  It is such a clear picture of how God’s ways are not our own, of God’s fairness and justice, and of God’s grace that it is humbling for us who do God’s will to remember God is for everyone no matter their sins against us.  And when judgment arises, we need to remember God judges and we are to love.  Period.

End Notes:  The marketplace was where day-laborers gathered with all their tools, hoping to be hired.  Early in the morning was probably dawn.  A denarius was the going rate at that time for a day’s pay.

The landowner went every 3 hours to the marketplace.  So assuming dawn was 6 am, the third hour would be 9 am, the sixth hour would be noon, and the eleventh hour would have been about 5 pm.

Note the landowners surprise to find workers.  During harvest time, it was a race against time to get the crops in and yet some are still standing idle.

Spurgeon applies this to all of us:  why should any of us be standing around idle when we have God’s work to do?  He has hired us to do a job and we need to be doing it!

The early workers expected more after seeing the late workers get paid a denarius.  How many times do we expect more (especially from others) and our hopes are dashed, leaving us feeling offended, slighted, wounded, and hurt feelings?

The phrase “evil eye” in some editions and not in the NIV which is translated as envious means the same thing. “Evil eye” was used by the ancient Jews to denote a jealous person.  I just found this fascinating.  The expression also means in many cultures that a look can bring misfortune upon someone.  It is a belief held by most cultures as far back as Classical antiquity (recorded times) so presumably further than that.

Fascinating history of the “evil eye” HERE

I’ve always heard this as “to give someone the evil eye”, which means to look at someone in a mean or angry way.  Fascinating how expressions and meanings change over time (and not change over time)!

God reserves the right to be more than fair and more generous to others.  He is always fair but to some He blesses more.  That is His divine right as God.  We are to look at this as a blessing to us as well for we are all one body, doing His work.

Everything is under God’s grace.  It is through His grace that we:  are alive.  Are given His calling. Are given the ability to do His calling.  Are given the opportunity to do His will.  Are given success at doing His will.  Are forgiven, made righteous, and receive eternal life.  All God’s grace. Everything.

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 21, Day 4 Isaiah 48:1-11

Summary of passage:  God calls out Israel, saying they take oaths in His name and invoke him but not in truth or righteousness.  God foretold events and they came to pass because He knew how stubborn His people are; yet, they still turned to idols and gave the Lord no credit.  So, from now on, God will tell them of new and hidden things that they haven’t heard of before today so they cannot use the excuse of “Yes, I knew of them”. People are born sinners.  Yet for God’s own sake, He delays His wrath.  For His glory and praise God stays connected to His people.

Questions:

8a)  They went through the motions of taking oaths and invoking God but it was not in truth or righteousness.  God has shown Israel His power yet they still sin and turn to idols.

b)  God is not in their hearts.  He has become a routine so much so they don’t think on Him.  This can happen to me when my life is cluttered with little problems.

9)  God says from now on He will tell Israel of new and hidden things they have not heard of before today so they cannot say, “Yes, I knew of them”.  People are sinners from the womb.

10a)  God delays His wrath for His sake and His glory

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God knows us so intimately and knows we are born sinners due to the Fall and knows we don’t listen sometimes yet He shows us mercy for His sake.  He loves us no matter what.  No matter how much I mess up God Still has my back.

Conclusions:  God loves us despite our imperfections.  He understands us like no other.  I just wish I could be so compassionate, loving, and understanding with others and their imperfections and sins.

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 21, Day 3 Isaiah 47

Summary of passage:  Babylon will no longer be called tender or delicate.  Its nakedness will be exposed and its shame uncovered as God will take His vengeance.  Babylon will no longer be called the queen of kingdoms. Babylon showed no mercy to God’s people and burdened them with a heavy yoke.  They thought they would keep the people of Judah forever!  Babylon claimed to be God, saying “I am, and here is none besides me.”  I will never suffer lose of my children or become a widow.  But disaster will fall, one their diviners will not foresee.  These astrologers cannot save themselves, let alone the people of Babylon.  No one can save them.

Questions:

5a)  A virgin is innocent, pure, chaste, and unspoiled.  No longer will Babylon be like a virgin.  It will be exposed for the evil, corrupt nation it is.

b)  Sit in the dust without a throne, no more will they be called tender and delicate.  They will take millstones and grind flour.  Their veil will be removed and they will wade through streams.  Nakedness and shame will be exposed.  No more will Babylon be called the queen of kingdoms.  God will take His vengeance and spare no one.

c)  Babylon showed His people no mercy; it laid a heavy yoke on them.  Babylon planned to continue this treatment of God’s people forever.

6a)  Babylon claimed to be God, saying, “I am, and there is none besides me.”  Claimed never be a widower or lose children.  Claimed no one saw their wickedness–but God did.  God the real “I am, and there is none besides me.”

b)  Personal question.  My answer:  Pride sometimes and I need to be humble in attitude and speech.  Sometimes I forget God sees everything so I can get away with with nothing.

7a)  Completely ineffective.  Babylon relied on magic and sorcery, which will not save them from God’s judgment.  They can’t deliver themselves or others.  No one can save them.

b)  Belshezzar, King of Babylon, was killed and Darius the Mede and the Persians took over the kingdom.

c)  Only God can solve your problems.  Everything else is empty.

Conclusions:  Great example of how success can get to your head and pride takes over and you forget how you got to where you are.  Babylon apparently forgot how the God of the Universe gave them all the nations and had the audacity to abuse His people.  They misused God’s mandate–something we see all too often today.