Week 43: Matthew 18-28

Prepare these questions for Sunday, January 26, 2014.

We continue with the rest of the book of Matthew, which adds more parables and the story of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. These passages cover some of the most well-known portions of the Bible.

1. One of the key concepts of Matthew is that those considered weak, unimportant, or insignificant are of great value to God. Look at the passages in 18:1-14, 19:16-30, 20:1-16, and 20:20-28. How do these stories convey the message that God values the humble?

2. Through both parables and responses to religious leaders (the Sadducees and Pharisees), Jesus reveals some of what frustrates and angers God. Read chapter 18:21-35 and chapters 21, 22, and 23. Based on these verses, what qualities anger God, especially regarding so-called "religious" people? Are you guilty of any of these behaviors in your own life?

3. Memorize the verses found in chapter 22:37-39. These are called the "Greatest Commandment" and are the crux of how anyone claiming to follow God should live his or her life. What would look different in your life if you were to live out this "greatest commandment"?

4. Chapters 24 and 25 deal with another big concept: no one knows when Jesus will return (or when your earthly life will be over) and you are expected to make good use of the gifts you've been given while you're here. How did Jesus explain these ideas in these chapters? What can you do differently this week that will help to ensure that your talents are not wasted during the unknown amount of time you have on this earth?

5. The end of Matthew details the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Read these verses and try to ignore what you think you already know about this story. Read only what is written and not what you've seen in movies or books. What, if anything, stands out to you that you didn't know or think about before? Why, according to these verses, did Jesus die on the cross?

6. The verses in 28:18-20 are called The Great Commission. They are the last words spoken by Jesus before his ascension into Heaven and they are directed at those who chose to follow him. What impact do you think these words had on his followers at that time? How can you apply them to your life now?

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