Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Bible Study: Synoptics #16: Controversies

Relevant Readings

The primary readings for this chapter are Matthew 22:15-23:39, Mark 12:1-40, and Luke 20:1-47.

Additional passages are: Genesis 4:8, Genesis 26:24, 2 Chronicles 24:20-22, Jeremiah 3:19, Hosea 9:15, Mark 12:41-44, Mark 15:22-27, Matthew 20:26-27, Luke 11:42-54, Luke 16:24, Luke 24:18-21, Acts 12:1-3, 1 Timothy 5:1, James 2:21, James 3:1-2, 1 Peter 5:5-7, and Revelation 18:23-24.


  1. To whom was Jesus speaking in Matthew 23:1?
    [T]o the crowds and to his disciples.
  2. In Matthew 23:2-3, what did Jesus tell the disciples to do concerning the Pharisees?
    They do not practice what they preach, so listen to what they say but do not follow their example.
  3. Find a contemporary application of Matthew 23:4. How do people do this now?
    They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on people's shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them. This can be applied to...
  4. What does Matthew 23:5-7 identify as the motive of the Pharisee's good deeds?
    The Pharisees wish to be seen by others performing good deeds, so that they can receive "places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation 'Rabbi'".
  5. How are Matthew 23:9-11 and James 3:1-2 connected?
    James writes that teachers will be judged more strictly, and Jesus is clearly judging the conduct of the Pharisees and other teachers of the law.
  6. Compare and contrast these verses: Genesis 26:24, Jeremiah 3:19, Luke 16:24, James 2:21, and 1 Timothy 5:1.
    These verses are related to Abraham. In Genesis, God tells Isaac that He will bless Isaac as He blessed Abraham and multiply Isaac's descendants. The quote from Jeremiah is God talking about Israel following Him and calling him Father. In Luke, the excerpt is from the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, wherein the rich man calls to Abraham to send Lazarus to comfort him. James writes that Abraham's faith in God, combined with his works (offering Isaac as a sacrifice), justified Abraham. Paul writes to Timothy that you should not rebuke an older man, but appeal to him as a father.
  7. What do these verses teach: Matthew 20:26-27, Matthew 23:11-12, and Mark 12:38-40.
    The two excerpts from Matthew teach that whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever jumbles himself will be exalted and that the greatest among you must be your servant. In Mark, Jesus says that the scribes are shallow, doing what they do only for commendation by men, when they shall receive condemnation from God.
  8. Describe the situation in the following verses: Genesis 4:8, 2 Chronicles 24:20-22, Luke 11:49-51, and Revelation 18:23-24.
    Cain kills Abel; King Joash has Zechariah killed; Jesus recalls the sending forth of prophets who were killed by the people of Israel; an angel describes Babylon as the cause of the deaths of the prophets and holy ones.
  9. What type of death does Jesus foretell in Matthew 23:34?
    Jesus foretells the crucifixion of some prophets and wise men and scribes.
  10. Describe the scenario in Mark 15:22-27.
    This is the crucifixion of Jesus.
  11. How did the disciples explain their disappointment in Luke 24:18-21?
    On the road to Emmaus, Cleopas tells the stranger (Jesus) that it is the third day since Jesus was put to death -- crucified -- by the chief priests and rulers, and that Jesus was hoped to be the one to redeem Israel.
  12. What happened to these disciples of Jesus: Acts 7:54-60 and Acts 12:1-3.
    Stephen was the first martyr of Christianity, stoned to death by the Sanhedrin. King Herod had James (the brother of John and son of Zebedee) killed.
  13. After denouncing the Pharisees, to whom does Jesus point in Mark 12:38-44?
    Jesus denounces the scribes as well, and then extolls the virtuous poor widow who gave all she had, rather than the rich who give a mere morsel of their wealth.
  14. What is the response of the Pharisees to Jesus's criticism, recorded in Luke 11:53-54?
    The Pharisees tried to catch Jesus in a false teaching, by being hostile and constantly interrogating him, to catch him at something he might say.
  15. What terms does Jesus use in Matthew 3:7-12 as well as here in Matthew 23:33?
    Both John the Baptist and Jesus call the Pharisees a "brood of vipers".
  16. What emotion does Jesus show in Matthew 23:37-38?
    Jesus laments for Jerusalem, stubborn to hear the Word of God through His prophets. He is disappointed in Jerusalem.
  17. Compare Jeremiah 12:7 with Hosea 9:15.
    In Jeremiah is written I abandon my house, cast off my heritage, and in Hosea: Because of their wicked deeds I will drive them out of my house.
  18. How does Peter write you can avoid hypocrisy in your own life, in 1 Peter 5:5-7?
    By cloth[ing] yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another.

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