The Resurrection – Matthew 27:55-28:15 – Bible Study Notes

The resurrection of Jesus is at the centre of the gospel and our faith. It shows the truth of his teaching, it proved Jesus to be the Son of God and it ultimately transformed the course of history. The importance can’t be emphasised enough.

1. What evidence is there to suggest that Jesus was really dead?

Joseph prepared the corpse, which would’ve shown the normal evidences for death.

2. Matthew includes some interesting detail about the request made of Pilate by the chief priests and Pharisees that isn’t in the other gospels. What does this show about the Jewish leaders’ perception of Jesus?

They knew that he had staked his whole ministry on his ability to rise from the dead.

3. How do the religious leaders unwittingly help fulfill the purpose of God?

In their efforts to protect Jesus’ body from theft, the enemies provide irrefutable evidence for the resurrection.

4. Why do you think Jesus appeared to the women first before his disciples?

  • The women were the last to leave Jesus at his death and the first to find him alive.
  • A reward for their love and devotion; a rebuke to the unbelief of the men who were his closest friends.

5. Evidence of the resurrection includes the empty tomb. The guards witnessed the earthquake which the angel employed to remove the stone and trembled in his presence. What’s strange about the guards’ instruction to the religious leaders?

They couldn’t have known who ‘took’ the body if they were really sleeping when it happened.

6. What’s significant about the resurrection? What does it mean for us today?

  • The empty tomb established the credibility of Jesus and his teaching.
  • Assured his identity as the Son of God (Romans 1:4).
  • It demonstrates Jesus’ ability to save (Romans 4:25).
  • It provides us with a measure of the power which is at work in us so that we can live the Christian life (Romans 8:11).

The disciples’ lives changes dramatically. Before the resurrection, they were a defeated group of men. After, they fearlessly proclaimed the gospel, even when facing opposition and danger.

7. Do we sometimes forget that Jesus Christ is alive and working among us?

Open for discussion.

Jesus’ Great Confession; Peter’s Great Denial – Matthew 26:57-75 – Bible Study Notes

Two events are being described simultaneously – Jesus’ great confession and Peter’s denial. They contrast each other. At the very moment Peter is denying knowing Jesus, Jesus is affirming his identity.

1. What was wrong with this trial?

  • Judges aren’t neutral. They seek any testimony that will justify their plan to kill Jesus but they can’t do it.
  • False witnesses.

2. What happened when two witnesses finally agreed?

Charges weren’t viable. It was, at best, a corruption of what Jesus said. 

3. Why did Jesus not speak when asked?

The charges weren’t worthy of comment or defence.

4. The high priest had a flash of inspiration and decided to charge Jesus under oath to the question ‘Are you the Christ, the Son of God?’. Jesus wasn’t obliged to answer it. Why do you think he did? What’s significant about his answer?

To refuse would imply that he wasn’t the Messiah, the Son of God. He also referred to himself as the Son of Man. 

5. What do you make of the reaction once the verdict is announced?

Disproportionate outpouring of wrath and contempt.

Meanwhile, Peter is in the courtyard of the high priest’s house, warming himself by the fire.

6. What are the differences between the three denials?

In the first case, Peter doesn’t specifically deny knowing Jesus, he just says that he doesn’t know what she’s talking about. That’s enough to silence the first slave girl. 

Another slave girl confronts Peter. She speaks to those standing around and this is more threatening. He denies associating with Jesus, underscoring it with an oath. 

A third person gives a more persuasive accusation. Peter denies more pointedly knowing Jesus and this time, punctuated it cursing.

This is the last time Matthew refers to Peter by name in this gospel. While he provides an outcome for Judas, he doesn’t for Peter. 

Don’t forget we see a different, transformed Peter in Acts 4:8-14.

7. What do the two passages demonstrate about humans?

Desperately sinful. Apart from the grace of God, hopelessly lost.

8. What do the two passages demonstrate about Jesus?

Perfection. Everything he predicted happened as he said it would. Though men failed, Jesus did not. 

If God can transform this kind of apparent tragedy into a triumphant work of redemption, he can cause every event in our lives to work out for His glory and for our good.

The Passover – Matthew 26:17-35 – Bible Study Notes

This is the day before Jesus would be crucified. 

1. What is Jesus getting at in the first three verses? What’s the key point?

He knows what’s going to happen. This was part of God’s plan. 

2. What’s significant about the Passover meal?

Celebrated each year as the Jewish people remembered how God spared them and saved them in Egypt.

It involved bread and four cups of wine. First being Kaddish – ‘to sanctify’, second being the cup of remembrance. Third is the one Jesus held up – cup of salvation. Fourth at the end, one would say ‘next year in Jerusalem’. Jesus didn’t as he said he’d drink it in his Father’s kingdom. 

3. How did the disciples respond? Either in first three verses or after Jesus said one would betray him.

They were sad. None of them thought they could be the one. 

4. Why do you think Judas betrayed Jesus?

  • Possibly money. 
  • It would force Jesus to assert his true power and overthrow the Romans. 
  • He thought Jesus was a false Messiah.
  • He was upset about Jesus’ casual attitude towards the law. 

5. How might we be like Judas?

We can want to force Jesus’ hand on something.

6. How might we be like Peter?

We can miss the point. Proud disciples always mess up. 

7. What can we learn from all this? How can we be different? What’s Matthew’s point?

Jesus is the only way. He is the Passover lamb. We need a lamb who dies instead of us. He is our substitute.

The Parable of the Talents – Matthew 25:14-30 – Bible Study Notes

1. What’s one of the main themes in Jesus’ teaching about his return?

Time. His return won’t be immediate but after much trouble. 

2. What are the two references to time in this parable?

The master stayed away for a long time and the faithful servants went immediately to work.

A talent was a measurement of weight so it didn’t have a constant value. People reckon that today, a talent is equivalent to 20 years’ wages.

3. Look at verse 29. How is it that the one ‘who has not’ has something taken away?

The one who has his master’s money but made no profit. The third servant has no gain to give his master so his talent is taken away and given to the one who did make a profit. 

4. How are the first two servants rewarded by their master?

  • They’re commended. “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
  • They’re given greater responsibilities. 
  • They’re invited to “enter into the joy of your master”. 

5. What does this mean and how does it compare with the response in verse 30?

Enjoying the bliss of heaven. Eternity without God and without joy.  

6. What’s at the heart of the third servant’s problem?

His view of his master and the work he has assigned. The word ‘hard’ is far from flattering.  

7. Do you think it’s harsh for God to expect a profit from us?

God expects us to grow over a period of time. He rejoices in it and is displeased when we fail to grow. 

8. How can we be more profitable spiritually?

Bringing glory to God is profitable. Exaltation. Evangelism. 

Works are the result of faith, not a substitute for faith. Works are fruits that are evidence of true faith. Works that make a profit for the kingdom are the basis for our rewards.