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Bible Studies

Matthew, Mark and Luke
Lesson 16
More Parables of the Kingdom of God

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Reading assignment for this lesson: Matthew 7:13-14, 22-23, 10:26-33, 37-39, 13:31-33, 18:12-14, 22:1-14, 23:37-39, 25:10-12, Mark 4:30-32, Luke 13:1-34, 14:1-35, 15:1-10

Jesus continued to use parables to explain the kingdom of God by comparing God's kingdom to yeast and to a mustard seed. He used these two parables to illustrate how the kingdom of God will arrive. He used images of a wedding feast and a great dinner to show who would be admitted and who would be excluded from the kingdom. He used examples of a lost sheep and a lost coin to demonstrate God's love for all people, even the outcasts of society.

1. In Jesus' time people commonly believed that if a person was suffering, it was because he or she had sinned. What did Jesus have to say about this belief? (See Luke 13:1-5, John 5:13-14, 9:1-3, 2 Corinthians 12:7-9, 2 Corinthians 1:3-6, 1 Peter 1:6-7, 5:10.)

2. a) What did the Parable of the Barren Fig Tree (Luke 13:6-9) mean to its original audience, the Israelites?
b) What does it mean to us? (See Matthew 4:17, 23:37-38, Luke 3:7-9, 13:5, Isaiah 5:1-7, Jeremiah 26:1-7, Amos 2:10-16.)

3. How is the kingdom of God like a mustard seed or yeast? (See Matthew 13:31-33, Mark 4:30-32, Luke 13:18-21, Luke 19:11, Mark 4:26-28.)

4. Who will be admitted to the kingdom of God and be saved? Who will be excluded? (See Matthew 7:13-14, 7:22-23, 25:10-12, Luke 13:22-30.)

5. How did Jesus expose the hypocrisy of the lawyers and Pharisees when He cured a man with dropsy? (See Luke 14:1-6.)

6. What does the Parable of the Wedding Feast (Luke 14:7-11) tell about the kingdom of God? (See Matthew 18:2-4, Romans 12:10-21.)

7. How can we apply Luke 14:12-14 to our lives today?

8. The Parable of the Great Dinner (Matthew 22:1-14, Luke 14:15-24) was about Israel's rejection of Jesus as Messiah. It was customary at the time to give two invitations to a dinner. The first invited the guests to attend; a second announced that the feast was ready. Apparently, all the guests had accepted the first invitation, but they made lame excuses when it was time to come. The angry and frustrated host rounded up anyone he could to attend rather than waste the feast that he had prepared. The host would have supplied suitable clothes for the guests to wear at a wedding. One man who showed his disrespect by refusing to wear the wedding clothes was ejected (Matthew 22:11-14).

In this parable the host represents God and the invited guests represent Israel. Israel had accepted God's offer to be His chosen people. But when God sent His Son Jesus to fulfill His promises, most of the people of Israel rejected Him. So, the salvation that had been offered first to Israel was offered instead to sinners and Gentiles.

What does this parable mean for us today?

9. Large crowds followed Jesus wherever He went. But Jesus warned them that being a true disciple would mean many hardships.
a) What was required to be a disciple of Jesus? (See Matthew 10:37-39, Luke 14:25-33.)
b) What are the "costs" of truly following Jesus today?

10. Self-respecting first century Jews did not associate with anyone they considered a "sinner." But Jesus did, and many people considered His behavior scandalous.
a) In the Parable of the Lost Sheep and the Parable of the Lost Coin (Matthew 18:12-14, Luke 15:1-10), how is a sinner like a lost sheep and a lost coin?
b) Why did Jesus associate with sinners? (See Matthew 9:10-13.)
c) What should our attitude be toward sinners? (See Matthew 7:1-5, John 8:7, Galatians 6:3-5.)

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