Please read Matthew 25:1-13
Questions for personal consideration or family discussion: Who is being pictured by the ten virgin companions of the bride that went out to meet the bridegroom? What’s the obvious difference between the two groups? What’s the point for us?
Possible answers: The ten virgins perhaps can best be understood to picture the church as it waits for Christ’s return. One group remembers what their life is about - they are anticipating the arrival of the bridegroom. They stay prepared. Devout Christians in every generation since Christ ascended have expected His return in their lifetime. Their expectations have not been realized; yet, prepared for His return they have stayed prepared for their own departure be that sudden or slow. Jesus invested His blood in us and the work of His Spirit. He wants us to keep watching and waiting so that we are not lost in the end when He returns or we depart.
Prayer: LORD, help me to embrace the facts of my salvation not only in my mind but in my heart. Again, keep me watching, waiting, and working for You!
Please read Matthew 25:14-30
Questions for personal consideration or family discussion: Jesus is the greatest “investment banker”. What has He invested? Where has He invested it? What does He expect from His investment? What awaits those in whom He has invested?
Possible answers: Jesus has invested great gifts (“talents”) in His church. Each member has their unique gift or gifts from Him. Those gifts are given for a purpose. That purpose is to glorify God. The result will be blessed to and through His kingdom. In His grace, the LORD - who has given those gifts and the opportunities to use them as well as the motivation to use them – in the end will bless those who have used them to His glory. “Come and share your Master’s happiness!” Grace upon grace! What a God!
Prayer: Gracious Savior, You have gifted me with salvation and in Your grace You have a purpose for me as one of Your saved ones to glorify You to others. Help me to discover, develop and deploy my gifts to Honor You and bless others.
Please read Matthew 25:31-46
Questions for personal consideration or family discussion: What do you notice about God’s courtroom procedure that is “backwards” from our own? According to all the rest of the Scriptures, what is the basis for the division into the two groups? It might also seem rather incidental to the story; but, what do you learn about hell from verse 41? What special joy for our lives might we find in these verses? How might each individual Christian and every Christian congregation make use of this story?
Possible answers: In God’s courtroom the verdict is announced then the evidence to prove the justice of the verdict is presented. People are separated into two groups and then the proof is supplied by the all- knowing Judge of the living and the dead. The basis for His decision is faith - you either have it or you don’t. The presence of faith will be seen in one’s life. Hell was prepared for the devil not for man. But, men who prefer to align themselves with the devil in unbelief and unloving behavior will get what they want. They will spend eternity at the devil’s house. How wonderful for people who appreciate the costly love of Jesus to see Jesus in the needy around them. We who couldn’t do anything about a room in Bethlehem or a welcome in Nazareth or an intervention with Pilate can find countless opportunities to do for others today what we couldn’t do for Jesus then. He takes such actions personally!
Please read Matthew 26:1-16
Questions for personal consideration or family discussion: How many agendas do you see at work in the opening words of this chapter? Whose agenda was used? What emotions do you think were in the heart of the unnamed woman who anointed Jesus? What prophecy do you see in verse 13? What contrast do you see in the two stories – verses 6-13 and 14-16?
Possible answers: The chief priests and elders have their agenda – kill Jesus. But NOT during the feast. Later Judas seems to play right into their plan. God has a different plan. His plan will make use of their hatred and Judas’ betrayal; but, it will be done at God’s time. It will be done during the feast in fulfillment of all past Passover pictures and celebrations. The woman did a beautiful thing for Jesus! It came from a heart that believed Him to be the Beautiful Savior. Her heart was filled by His love for her and she loved Him in return. Jesus knew the gospels would be written and shared around the world until the end of time. Her act of faith would be known for all time and rewarded for all eternity. Could there be a greater contrast in human response to Christ than the woman valuing Him with her costly gift while Judas sells him for a miserly price?!
Prayer: Dear Jesus, may my life be a beautiful thing for You because of Your beautiful love for me!
Please read Matthew 26:17-30
Questions for personal consideration or family discussion: Can you think of some reasons why Jesus would wait until the last minute to let His disciples know where they would eat the Passover feast? Describe the demeanor of Jesus at the time described by these verses. Who was Jesus thinking of at this time? Toward what was He and can we now look forward?
Possible answers: Judas was intent upon betraying Jesus. If he had known ahead of time the betrayal and capture might have been attempted earlier than they were. Jesus was looking forward to celebrating with His disciples. Looking forward to providing them with His supper! Looking forward to one more night of intense communication with them and with God – then, during that night the final steps in His walk to save us would be taken. Jesus was thinking about each of His disciples then, including Judas; and, thinking about those who would follow in their faith’s footsteps, including you and me. He was also looking forward to an eternity “with you (them and us!) in My Father’s kingdom”!
Prayer: Dear Jesus, may we continuously celebrate Your love in fellowship with Your church here on earth until we are joined with You in the eternal marriage feast in Your Father’s glorious kingdom!
Please read Matthew 26:31-35
Questions for personal consideration or family discussion: What do you find amazing about this dialogue?!
Possible answers: Isn’t it amazing that Jesus knows everything that is going to happen? Isn’t it amazing that He sees the clear prophecy of this in the Scriptures (which as He said “are they which testify of me”)? Isn’t it amazing that He can so calmly and lovingly speak to them about Peter’s betrayal – no hatred, no self-centered concern? Jesus is going to save them even though He knows they are going to deny and forsake Him. He lets them know ahead of time so that they will not despair when they realize what they have done. They will remember that He is looking forward to being with them having known ahead of time about their shameful behaviors. What wondrous love is this!
Prayer: Dear Jesus, impress upon my heart that You love me even though You know all about my sin and weakness. May Your love make me strong and committed to You. Help me to remember the resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ. By his death and resurrection, I am forgiven and permitted to come into Your presence. Fill my heart with Your Spirit. Hear my prayer for the sake of Jesus Christ, my Savior.
Please read Matthew 26:36-46
Questions for personal consideration or family discussion: Ask yourself, “How do I prepare for my day? What’s the first thing I do as I face a difficult issue in my life?” This moment was the most critical in the history of the world since the fall into sin. How did Jesus face it? It was going to be the most critical time in Peter’s personal life too; how did he prepare for it? What do you think was pushing Jesus to the brink of being overwhelmed? As it turned out, upon whom could Jesus count? For what was Jesus praying in the first prayer session? Jesus prayer was in three segments. The second and third were the same. Do you see a progression between the first and the second? What was the answer to Jesus’ prayers?
Possible answers: If you and I prepare for our day and respond to any approaching difficulty without beginning with prayer, we are off to a bad start! Jesus faced this moment in time, upon which the fate of all people ever depended, by going to God in prayer. Peter faced his moment by going to sleep. Jesus “feared God”, He stood in awe of God’s holiness and glory. The thought of facing the holy God with guilt on His record and the expectation of enduring separation from God as God punished Him as the Substitute for all sinners – this is what pushed Jesus to the edge. He could count on no one but God, His disciples couldn’t even stay awake to pray for Him, attend Him, and encourage Him. In all three sessions of prayer Jesus obediently sought the Father’s will. First, if there is another way Father, please grant it. Yet, I want what You want “My Father”! Then a subtle change while the same seeking of God’s will – If this is the only way, I want what You want Father. The answer to Jesus’ prayer and to the world’s salvation was this: there is no other way, only through the cross of Christ can sin be paid for and salvation won. That is the way of salvation and Jesus is The Way!
Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank You forever for doing the Father’s will for me. The Father wanted me saved therefore You had to be condemned. There was no other way. Thanks for walking that way! May I walk in Your way in thankful love.
Please read Matthew 26:47-56
Background: Look at the last verse from yesterday (v. 46) – there were no surprises for Jesus. God’s in control. The Greek word indicates that Judas smothered Jesus with kisses. A Roman legion numbered 6,000 soldiers.
Questions for personal consideration or family discussion: How foolish was the armament of the crowd? How foolish was the action of Peter with his swordplay? What could the Father have sent if the Son so desired?
Possible answers: How many soldiers would it take to capture Jesus if He were unwilling to be captured? How many weapons would be enough? While those among the crowd that knew better deserved God’s judgment for their mob activity, Jesus love for them would restrain any wrath at that moment. Their time of grace was extended by His mercy. Peter’s rash action did not have the command and therefore also lacked the blessing of God. Man’s might could not accomplish the deliverance that was needed; only the might of Christ’s love permitting Himself to be captured, condemned and crucified could overcome the true enemies. The Father could have sent legions of angels to deliver Jesus; then, we would have remained ‘captured’ for eternity! Dreadful thought! Wondrous love!
Prayer: Dear Jesus, I am so ashamed of what I have done to you and failed to do for You. Thanks for doing everything I needed done!
Please read Matthew 26:57-68
Background: The classic example of a “trial” where the verdict and the sentence are known but the evidence and guilt are not shown. Not armed with prayer (v. 41) now disarmed from his sword (v.52) Peter still presses on to prove Jesus’ prophecy about him is wrong – “I, mighty Peter, won’t betray you.”
Questions for personal consideration or family discussion: Why, of course, did the Jewish tribunal look for false evidence? What was the expressed reason for their condemnation of Jesus? When was their condemnation proved unjust? When will they know it?
Possible answers: There was not true evidence of sin because there was nothing wrong with His life. Imagine that! Not one failure provable by man or known to the all-knowing God!! Not one! That’s our perfect record ‘clothed’ with Christ! How appropriate that the charge for which He was condemned was the ultimate truth – that He is God. His claim was proved true: “He was declared to be the Son of God with power by His resurrection from the dead.” (Romans 1:4) If they didn’t later repent, to their eternal sorrow they will find out on Judgment Day that they were wrong.
Prayer: Jesus You are wonderful – perfectly pure for and also completely condemned for us. We worship You as God, help us to serve You as our LORD!
Please read Matthew 26:69-75
Questions for personal consideration or family discussion: Why was Peter so vulnerable? What did it take to bring him down? How could it all have been different? What would Jesus do about it? Apply these facts prayerfully – really – to your own life.
Possible answers: Peter was vulnerable because: he relied on his own strength; he didn’t listen to God’s warning; he didn’t watch out for temptation; he didn’t pray. A lowly girl’s innocent remark started the denial process until it was fulfilled as Jesus had predicted. If he had only listened to Jesus’ repeated warnings to him! Still, Jesus ‘bailed him out’; took the punishment for all of his sin and still loved Peter. (Apply these things to yourself – do it!)