The Sixth Sunday of the Season of Lent

also known as Palm Sunday

and as “The Sunday of the Passion”

April 02, 2023

Why do we call this “Holy Week?”


The Sixth and Last Sunday during the Season of Lent is alternately known as “The Sunday of the Passion” and – by its more “traditional” designation of – “Palm Sunday.”    It always marks the beginning of “Holy Week.”

            Regardless of the name, or title, by which we designate it, this day is a very special, and very significant one for us, who have gathered here to listen to God’s Word and offer Him our worship and praise today.

            You see, Palm Sunday/The Sunday of the Passion is the start of the final, climactic week of the Lenten Season.   Since Lent began on Ash Wednesday, we’ve been spending our time in our worship services alternating between – on Sundays – considering (and celebrating) the victories which Christ our Savior has won for us against Satan and his wicked kingdom .   On Wednesday evenings we’ve been considering “The Personalities of Christ’s Passion”….people who plotted, carried out or observed the death of Christ.  Sadly, we see ourselves and our sin in so much of what happened to Jesus as He died for our salvation.

            Each week of Lent, as we have come closer to Calvary and Christ’s open tomb, the intensity of our penitential reflections over our sins, which ultimately necessitated the sufferings, death, and resurrection of our Lord, has increased. 

            This final week in Lent – “Holy Week” – then, is, for Christians, something akin to the final crescendo at the close of a great orchestral work.   For, beginning with today (Palm Sunday) and moving through Maundy Thursday and Good Friday later this week, our penitential preparations will be reaching an emotional and spiritual climax as we see ourselves in the crowds that both acclaimed Jesus on Palm Sunday and subsequently cried out for His crucifixion a scant five days later on Good Friday.     For not only did the Jews bring about Jesus’ death, every sinful human being is responsible for it – me and you included.

            The Sixth Sunday in Lent has traditionally been known as  Palm Sunday, but it is also identified by the liturgical title  “The Sunday of the Passion.”   This latter designation serves to emphasize that with this Sunday the intensity of Christ’s “passion” (His comprehensive sufferings for our sins) increases as He enters Jerusalem and proceeds through the events of Holy Week until they culminate with His death on Good Friday and His bodily resurrection three days later.  

            If you and I are going to properly observe Palm Sunday and the rest of Holy Week, we’re going to need to do more than just observe some church traditions, sing a few Lenten hymns and let those Biblical reports of what once hap­pened to Jesus in Jerusalem, before Pilate, and on Golgotha, go in “one ear and out the other.”   Each of us truly will want to recognize that our spiritual lives and our eternal salvation are intimately connected to the events that constitute the Passion History of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.   Not only are we (like the Good Friday crowd) personally responsible for them due to our sins, but – because of His Good Friday self-sacrifice and His Easter morning vicarious conquest of death and the grave…..Jesus is solely responsible for our sins being forgiven and our souls being saved for heaven.  

            And so, through the eyes of faith let’s follow Jesus as He begins that first Holy Week by entering Jerusalem to the waving of palm branches and the shouts of “Hosanna” acclaiming Him as the King of Kings.   And let’s continue to stay with our Savior throughout this Holy Week – on Maundy Thursday as He institutes the Lord’s Supper and later agonizes in prayer for Himself and us in Geth­semane before He suffers abuse at the hands of His enemies.   We’ll also strive to be present with Him on Good Friday during His trials before Annas, Caiaphas, Pilate, and Herod, all the way to the nails and cross and brutal death which He endured on Calvary.   But especially, let’s not fail to  gather together again next Sunday, when with the eyes of our faith we will stand at His open grave celebrating the proof that Jesus accomplished all that He came to do for our forgive­ness and salvation.  

Introduction to Today’s Worship Service

            The waving palms and shouts of “Hosanna in the highest!”  raised to Christ on that first Palm Sunday warmly welcomed into the city Him who was and remains King of Kings and Lord of Lords.    Likewise today we will acclaim and thank Christ for being our Savior and Lord through the words of our sermon hymn “Christ the Life of All the Living.”   Also, we will acknowledge Christ’s Kingship over our lives and everything that exists  when we close today’s service by singing “Crown Him with many Crowns.”    

            Today’s Opening Reading is the traditional Gospel lesson for Palm Sunday – the account of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem as royalty (riding on a donkey and entering to the acclaim of the crowds shouting “Hosanna in the highest, blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord”).     

            This morning’s Responsive reading is one familiar to nearly all our worshipers today:  Isaiah’s inspired depiction of Jesus as the Suffering Servant, the Lamb of God Who bore the sins of the world on His shoulders.   Reading Isaiah 53 together is a very fitting way for us begin our Holy Week observance.    

            Our New Testament Lesson this morning comes from the book of Hebrews.  It speaks about certain aspects of Jesus “period of humiliation” – that part of His ministry during which He voluntarily humbled (or limited) Himself by not utilizing all of His divine power, glory and wisdom.   He limited/humbled Himself for the express purpose of serving as our sinless Substitute in life and so that through His sufferings and death He could spare us hell’s horrors and instead secure for us everlasting salvation in heaven through faith in Him. 

            This morning’s Children’s Lesson is based on II Corinthians 8:9, and will focus our attention on all that Christ gave up for us in order that we might one day be able……through faith in Jesus…… to live with Him forever in heaven.   

            Finally, with today also being known as “The Sunday of the Passion,”  we’ll find ourselves in Matthew’s Gospel for today’s Sermon Text / Gospel Lesson.   Here the inspired Apostle records the “daytime” events of Good Friday, beginning with Jesus’ trials before Pilate, continuing with His crucifixion and the sufferings – physical and spiritual – that He underwent while on the cross, and culminating in His death for our sins.   Using this portion of Scripture as the basis for our sermon, we’ll examine in some detail “Christ’s Passion from Two Perspectives:”   first, the human dimension;   and second, the divine dimension.     We’ll look at some of the significant aspects of Pilate’s handling of Christ’s trial, and also notable elements of His crucifixion for us.  Most importantly, we’ll want to see that all mankind was actually on trial that day, us included – and that through Jesus as our Substitute, we were declared both guilty (functionally – according to divine Law which we have violated) and totally innocent of all our sins (forensically/judicially declared “not guilty”… God’s grace, for the sake of Jesus’ sufferings and death in our place).

                                                                                          A Brief Overview of Holy Week

            The final Sunday in Lent is customarily known as Palm Sunday, and in some circles as “The Sunday of the Passion of our Lord.”   This day marks the beginning of that seven day period fittingly referred to as “Holy Week.”  During this special week of the church we focus on the sufferings, death, and resurrection of our Lord with greater attention, reverence and devotion than perhaps at any other time during the year.   As it has been done throughout the reading of the Passion History during our six midweek Lenten vespers (evening) worship services, we will recall once more what hap­pened to Jesus in Jerusalem, before Pilate, and on Golgotha.    The waving palms and shouts of “Hosanna in the highest!”  raised to Christ on that first Palm Sunday warmly welcomed into the city Him who was and remains King of Kings and Lord of Lords.   Likewise as we observe Palm Sunday this morning, we acclaim Christ as our King and Lord and express our devotion to Him by also declaring:  “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!  Hosanna in the highest!”       

            Holy Week, itself, has a number of interesting facets to its significance.   Although in our Lutheran church it is not customary to worship on the Wednesda­y of Holy Week, it is worth noting that this day has been given the name “Spy Wednesday,” since the Gospels identify it as the day when the treacherous covenant to betray Jesus was consummated by Judas and the chief priests (Luke 22:1-6).   

            The Thursday of Holy Week has always been a day of great significance for the Christian Church, chiefly because it commemorates Jesus’ institution of the Lord’s Supper.   The name by which it is most commonly known, Maundy Thursday (from the Latin Dies Mandati, “Day of the Commandment”), has particular reference to the Savior’s injunctions regarding the way humility, selflessness  and love should exemplify the brotherhood of believers (John 13:34).   An ancient custom connected to this day encouraged the practice of carrying gifts to the poor in hand baskets which were called “maunds.”  

            Of course, the pinnacle of our Holy Week observances is Good Friday, the day on which Christ was crucified.  Its earliest name was “Parasceve,” which means “preparation.”   Other names were “Day of the Lord’s Passion” and “Day of the Cross.”  The designation Good Friday is a peculiarly English expression.  It reflects the joy of completed redemption and protests against the superstitious notions that all Fridays are “unlucky” as well as against the idea that this particular Friday should be observed in funeral gloom and despair.    Nevertheless, it is a day of solemn mourning for the Christian, given the reality that Christ died that day for all the sins that each of us has committed.  

            Worship services on this day obviously emphasize the death of Christ as our sin-substitute.   Some Christian congregations commemorate the three hours Christ spent on the cross with a “Tre Ora” (Three Hours) service which lasts from noon to three in the afternoon.   This was a service practiced primarily by churches in the Western Church (Europe).  

            Another traditional approach to commemorating Good Friday is known as “Tennebrae,” the Latin name for “darkness,”   This “Tennebrae” service is usually observed after sunset, and is developed around the reading of and commentary on the seven statements (words) of Christ while on the cross.   As the service progresses, at the conclusion of each of the seven commentary/readings the lights of the worship area are progressively dimmed until everything is completely darkened once Christ’s death is announced.   After a few moments’ reflection upon the “darkness” of sin, a “Resurrection Candle” is lit and brought to the altar while a brief statement is read reminding the congregation that Christ has promised He will not remain in the grave, but will rise after three days.  The congregation then pauses for silent prayer and exits the worship area and church building in silence, meditating upon all that God accomplished for us on that first Good Friday.   The service of Tennebrae was generally practiced in the early Eastern Churches (from Greece eastward).   For some, the custom of fasting is observed in the time between the close of the Maundy Thursday evening worship service and the end of the Good Friday service.  Through fasting the Christian is able to share (be it ever so lightly) in a portion of our Savior’s physical sufferings for us, and thus better appreciate His tremendous sacrifice for our benefit.  

            The final day of Holy Week is known as “Holy Saturday.”  It focuses both on the time when our Lord’s body lay in death in the tomb and on His descent into hell — the two stages referred to in the Apostles’ Creed as “dead and buried;  He descended into hell.”  The purpose of Jesus’ descent into hell is misunderstood by many Christians.  Following His death, Jesus did not descend into hell in order to suffer for  our sins.  Some of His final words on Good Friday, “it is finished,” prove to us that with His death, Christ’s suffering for sin was complete.   Rather than going there to suffer, Christ descended into hell to proclaim and demonstrate His total victory over sin, death, and Satan by going unhindered into the “headquarters” of the Devil.   Scripture supports this understanding of Christ’s victorious descent into hell in I Peter 3:18-20 and Colossians 2:15.  As with Good Friday, Holy Saturday is observed with a solemn spirit, yet it also contains an element of anticipation in preparation for the celebration of the Lord’s resurrection on the next morn.




Grace Lutheran Church Welcomes You To Worship    If you are a first-time guest today, we are honored that you’ve chosen to worship with us this morning.  If you have been with us before, we’re glad to have you back with us to worship our Savior, Jesus Christ!  The order for our worship service is printed in this service bulletin.  You will find that our worship is made up of three essential ingredients:  praise, instruction from God’s Word, and prayer.  We sing our praise to God for all of His gracious blessings.  We receive instruction from His Word in our various Scripture Lessons and through the Sermon.  Our prayersconsist of expressions of repentance for our sins, plus requests for God’s forgiveness, guidance, and continued blessings.  We trust that God will bless you through His Word as we worship today.




Pre-Service Prayer –   In the name of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.  My heavenly Father, I thank You through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, for keeping me through the night from all harm and danger.  Keep me through this day also from sin and every evil that all my doings and life may please You.  I commend my body and soul and all things into Your hands.  Let Your holy angel be with me, so that the devil may have no power over me.  Amen.

The portions of God’s Word used in this worship flyer have been taken from The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version     Copyright 2019,   The Wartburg Project, Inc.   All rights reserved.

Used with permission.     Music and lyrics, unless otherwise noted, are used with permission via #A712831   

“Majesty” is used with permission from Trust Management under CCLI # 1366699


The Order of Worship for Palm Sunday

Prayer upon entering the sanctuary                                                                                      Pre-service Music

We Praise Our God


The Greeting and Invitation to Worship


Pastor            We begin this service in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.   Amen.



The Palm Sunday Traditional Gospel Lesson                                                                            Mark 11:1-11


As they approached Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, on the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples 2 and told them, “Go into the village ahead of you. As soon as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it here. 3 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it, and he will send it back here without delay.’”     4 They left and found a colt on the street, tied at a door; and they untied it. 5 Some who were standing there asked them, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” 6 The disciples answered them just as Jesus had instructed them, and the men let them go.   7 They brought the colt to Jesus, threw their garments on it, and Jesus sat on it. 8 Many people spread their garments on the road. Others spread branches that they had cut from the fields. 9 Those who went in front and those who followed were crying out,   Hosanna!  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!   10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!   Hosanna in the highest!    11 Jesus went into the temple courts in Jerusalem and looked around at everything. Since it was already late, He went out to Bethany with the Twelve.


after which the Congregation will rise for


Responsive Reading for the Start of Holy Week                                                                                                                                                             Isaiah 53

P:  Who has believed our report and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?


C: He grew up before Him like a tender shoot,    and like a root from dry ground.  

P:  He had no attractiveness or majesty.   When we saw Him, nothing about His appearance made us desire Him.    

Men & Boys:  He was despised and rejected by men,     a Man Who knew grief     Who was well acquainted with suffering.


Women & Girls:  Like someone whom people cannot bear to look at,       He was despised,  and we thought nothing of Him.


P:  Surely He was taking up our weaknesses,    And He was carrying our sufferings.   We thought it was because of God that He was smitten, stricken and afflicted. 

C:  But it was because of our rebellion that He was pierced.


Lectern Side   He was crushed for the guilt our sins deserved.

Pulpit Side:    The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.  


P:  We all have gone astray, like sheep.


C: Each of us has turned to His own way; but the LORD has charged all our guilt to Him.


P:  He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth.   Like a lamb He was led to the slaughter,  and like a sheep that is silent in front of its shearers,  He did not open His mouth.


C: He was taken away without a fair trial and without justice.   And of His generation, who even cared?”


Women & Girls:  So He was cut off from the land of the living.


Men & Boys:  He was struck because of the rebellion of my people.


P:  They would have assigned Him a grave with the wicked,     but He was given a grave with the rich in His death,     because He had done no violence,     and no deceit was in His mouth.     

C: Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush Him     and allow Him to suffer.    Because You made His life a guilt offering,   


Pulpit Side:    He will see His offspring.   He will prolong His days,    


Lectern Side:  and the LORD’s gracious plan will succeed in His hand.


P:  After His soul experiences anguish,    He  will see the light of life.   He will provide satisfaction.      Through their knowledge of Him,   my Just Servant will justify the many,  for He Himself carried their guilt.


C: Therefore I will give Him an allotment among the great,        and with the strong He will share plunder,       because He poured out His life to death,      and He let Himself be counted with rebellious sinners.


P:  He Himself bore carried the sin of many,   and He intercedes for the rebels.

After which the Congregation will be seated for



The Opening Hymn                                                                           Hymn 130  “Hosanna, Loud Hosanna”

1 Hosanna, loud hosanna,      The little children sang;     

Through pillared court and temple   The lovely anthem rang.

To Jesus, who had blessed them,   Close folded to his breast,

The children sang their praises,   The simplest and the best.

2 From Olivet they followed    Mid an exultant crowd,

The victor palm branch waving    And chanting clear and loud.

The Lord of saints and angels    Rode on in lowly state

Nor scorned that little children   Should on his bidding wait.

3 “Hosanna in the highest!”    That ancient song we sing,

For Christ is our Redeemer,    The Lord of heav’n, our King.

Oh, may we ever praise him    With heart and life and voice

And in his royal presence    Eternally rejoice.

After the hymn, the Congregation will rise asr


We Make Confession Of Our Sins To God

Pastor      God, our Heavenly Father, invites us to come into His presence and to worship Him with humble and penitent hearts.  Therefore, let us now turn to Him, acknowledging our sinfulness and seeking His forgiveness for all our sins.

Congregation Holy and merciful Father,   I confess that I am by nature sinful   and that I have disobeyed You in my thoughts, words, and actions;    I have done what is evil in Your sight   and have failed to do

 what is good.    For this I know that I deserve Your punishment, both now and for eternity.     But I am truly sorry for all my sins,   and trusting in the perfect life   and innocent death of my Savior,   Jesus Christ,    I plead:   God have mercy on me, a sinner.


Pastor      Our gracious Lord and Master has shown us His mercy:   He has given His one and only Son to save us from all our sins.     And now, carrying out my office as a called servant of Christ,  and according to His

command and authority,   I forgive you all your sins   in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  May the peace of God rest upon all of you.    Amen.

And now, in the confidence and peace of Christ’s forgiveness, let us join together in song, to praise our Majestic Redeemer and King……                        

                                                                                                                          “Majesty” by Jack W. Hayford

                                                                                                  copied, with permission, under CCLI 1366699

                                                                                                                      copyright Rocksmith Music, 1981

Majesty, worship His majesty.       Unto Jesus, be all glory, honor and praise.

 Majesty….Kingdom authority,   flow from His throne,    unto His own, His anthem raise.

So exalt – lift up on high, the name of Jesus.   Magnify, come glorify, Christ Jesus the King.

  Majesty, worship His majesty.   Jesus Who died.   Now glorified.   King of all Kings.

The Prayer For This Morning

Almighty and everlasting God,   +  Who in Your tender love for mankind   +  sent Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ,   +   to take upon Himself our human nature,   +   and to suffer death on the cross,   +   that we might be redeemed    +   from the eternal consequences of our sins;   +   Mercifully grant that we  may follow  +   His example of humility, obedience, and patience,   +  and also that we be might made partakers of His resurrection;   +   through the same Jesus Christ,  +   Your Son, our Lord,  +  Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,   +   One God, forever and ever.  +  Amen.

We Give Our Attention to God’s Word

The New Testament Lesson                                                                                                    Hebrews 2:5-18

5 For God did not place the coming world, about which we are speaking, under the control of angels. 6 But there is a place where someone has testified:   What is Man that you remember Him,  or the Son of Man that you look after Him?   7 You made Him lower than the angels for a little while.    You crowned Him with glory and honor.  8 You put everything in subjection under His feet.

     Indeed, in putting everything in subjection to Him, God left nothing that is not in subjection to Him. At the present time, we do not yet see everything in subjection to Him. 9 But we look to Jesus (the One Who was made lower than the angels for a little while, so that by God’s grace He might taste death for everyone), now crowned with glory and honor, because He suffered death.

     10 Certainly it was fitting for God (the One for Whom and through Whom everything exists), in leading many sons to glory, to bring the Author of their salvation to His goal through sufferings. 11 For He Who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified all have one Father. For that reason, He is not ashamed to call them brothers.   12 He says:

I will declare Your name to My brothers.  Within the congregation I will sing Your praise.    13 And again:  I will trust in Him.    And again:   Here I am and the children God has given Me.

     14 Therefore, since the children share flesh and blood, He also shared the same flesh and blood, so that through death He could destroy the one who had the power of death (that is, the Devil) 15 and free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death. 16 For surely He was not concerned with helping angels but with helping Abraham’s offspring.   17 For this reason, He had to become like His brothers in every way, in order that He would be a merciful and faithful High Priest in the things pertaining to God, so that He could pay for the sins of the people. 18 Indeed, because He suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.

After which the Congregation will rise out of respect for the words of our Savior

The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                               Matthew 27:11-54


11 When Jesus stood in the presence of the governor, the governor asked Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”    Jesus said to him, “It is as you say.”   12 When He was accused by the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing. 13 Then Pilate said to Him, “Don’t You hear how many things they are testifying against You?”   14 But He did not answer Him—not even one word, so that the governor was very surprised.

     15 At the time of the Festival the governor had a custom to release to the crowd any one prisoner they wanted. 16 At that time they were holding a notorious prisoner named Barabbas. 17 So when they were assembled, Pilate said to them, “Which one do you want me to release to you? Barabbas—or Jesus, Who is called Christ?” 18 For Pilate knew that they had handed Jesus over to him because of envy.

     19 While he was sitting on the judgment seat, Pilate’s wife sent him a message. “Have nothing to do with that righteous Man,” she said, “since I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him.” 20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus put to death. 21 The governor asked them, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?”   “Barabbas!” they said.  22 Pilate said to them, “Then what should I do with Jesus, Who is called Christ?”   They all said to him, “Crucify Him!”   23 But the governor said, “Why? What has He done wrong?”    But they kept shouting even louder: “Crucify Him!”  

     24 When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing and that instead it was turning into a riot, he took water, washed his hands in front of the crowd, and said, “I am innocent of this righteous Man’s blood. It is your responsibility.”   25 And all the people answered, “Let His blood be on us and on our children!”   26 Then he released Barabbas to them, but he had Jesus flogged and handed Him over to be crucified.

     27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole cohort of soldiers around Him. 28 They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. 29 They twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head. They put a staff in His right hand, knelt in front of Him, and mocked Him by saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 They spit on Him, took the staff, and Hit him repeatedly on His head.   31 After they had mocked Him, they took off the robe and put His own clothes on Him. Then they led Him away to crucify Him.

     32 As they were going out of the city, they found a man of Cyrene named Simon. They forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. 33 They came to a place called Golgotha, which means “The place of the skull.” 34 They offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but when He tasted it, He would not drink it. 35 After they had crucified Him, they divided His clothing among themselves by casting lots. 36 Then they sat down and were keeping watch over Him there. 37 Above His head they posted the written charge against Him: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”

     38 At the same time two criminals were crucified with Him, one on His right and one on His left. 39 People who passed by kept insulting Him, shaking their heads, 40 and saying, “You Who were going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross!”

     41 In the same way the chief priests, experts in the law, and elders kept mocking Him. They said, 42 “He saved others, but He cannot save Himself. If He’s the King of Israel, let Him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in Him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue Him now, if He wants Him, because He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 In the same way even the criminals who were crucified with Him kept insulting Him.

     45 From the sixth hour until the ninth hour,  there was darkness over all the land. 46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” which means “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”   47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “This Fellow is calling for Elijah.”   48 Immediately one of them ran, took a sponge, and soaked it with sour wine. Then he put it on a stick and gave Him a drink. 49 The rest said, “Leave Him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save Him.”

     50 After Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, He gave up his spirit. 51 Suddenly, the temple curtain was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and rocks were split. 52 Tombs were opened, and many bodies of saints who had fallen asleep were raised to life. 53 Those who came out of the tombs went into the holy city after Jesus’ resurrection and appeared to many people. 54 When the centurion and those who were guarding Jesus with him saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they were terrified and said, “Truly his was the Son of God.”



The Nicene Creed

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth,  and of all things visible and invisible.  And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God,  Light of Light.  Very God of Very God.  Begotten, not made.  Being of one substance with the Father, By Whom all things were made;  Who for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven   And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary   And was made man;  And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.  He suffered and was buried;  And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures;  And ascended into heaven,  And sitteth on the right hand of the Father;   And He shall come again with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead;  Whose Kingdom shall have no end.   And I believe in the Holy Ghost,  The Lord and Giver of Life,  Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son,  Who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified,  Who spake by the Prophets.  And I believe one holy Christian and Apostolic Church.  I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins,  And I look for the resurrection of the dead,  And the life of the world to come.  Amen.



after which the Congregation may be seated for


Children’s Lesson                                                                                                                 II Corinthians 8:9


For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that although He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that through His poverty you might become rich.

He Gave Everything Up to Give Us Everything

The Sermon Hymn                                                                                Hymn 98 “Jesus I Will Ponder Now”


1 Jesus, I will ponder now    On your holy passion;   With your Spirit me endow    For such meditation.

Grant that I in love and faith   May the image cherish   Of your suff’ring, pain, and death   That I may not perish.

2 Make me see your great distress,    Anguish, and affliction,  

 Bonds and stripes and wretchedness    And your crucifixion; 

Make me see how scourge and rod,    Spear and nails did wound you, 

How for them you died, O God,    Who with thorns had crowned you.

3 Yet, O Lord, not thus alone   Make me see your passion,   But its cause to me make known   And its termination.

Ah! I also and my sin    Wrought your deep affliction;    This indeed the cause has been    Of your crucifixion.

4 If my sins give me alarm   And my conscience grieve me,   

Let your cross my fear disarm;   Peace of conscience give me. 

Help me see forgiveness won    By your holy passion.    If for me he slays his Son,    God must have compassion!

5 Grant that I your passion view   With repentant grieving.    Let me not bring shame to you    By unholy living.

How could I refuse to shun    Ev’ry sinful pleasure    Since for me God’s only Son     Suffered without measure?

6 Graciously my faith renew;    Help me bear my crosses,   

Learning humbleness from you,    Peace mid pain and losses. 

May I give you love for love!    Hear me, O my Savior,    That I may in heav’n above   Sing your praise forever.


After which, the Congregation will REMAIN SEATED for

The Pastor’s Greeting

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ, our Lord!  Amen.


The Sermon Text                                                                                                                  Matthew 27:11-54

Christ’s Passion, from Two Perspectives


after the Sermon, the Congregation will REMAIN SEATED for the post-sermon blessing

Pastor       To Him Who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy — to the only God our Savior, be glory, majesty, power, and authority now and forever.  Amen.

We Offer Our Gifts and Prayers to the Lord

Offerings will be received this morning through offering plates passed among those who have gathered here for worship.

   However, for those viewing this service online,  we offer you the following suggestions for providing God with Your thank-offerings through our ministry:     

1) You can mail a check (no cash, please) to our church address:    (415 N. 6th Place, Lowell, AR 72745); or

2) You can donate through our website:


Our Offerings of Love to our Lord


after the offerings are brought forward, the Congregation will rise for

Today’s Prayer

Almighty, eternal God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we pray that through Your Holy Spirit You would rule Your holy Christian Church with all its pastors, teachers, and servants, so that through the pure teaching of Your holy Word your Church may be preserved here and everywhere, so that Your kingdom may be increased through us,  that our faith in You might be strengthened, and also that our love – and the evidence of that love – for all Your precious blood-bought souls might increase day by day.

We further pray, O Lord of all lords, that You would look down on this nation of ours with your grace.    Forgive us for our national failure to honor You and Your Will as faithfully as we ought.   Work in our land a spiritual reformation based on Your sure Word alone.   Keep the freedoms that we enjoy as a people from being diminished, especially the freedom we have to publicly worship and serve You.     We commend all the officials of this land to Your divine protection and guidance.    Grant their efforts Your blessing insofar as they seek to carry out Your will.     And give them hearts of wisdom, kindness, and selflessness, so that under their rule we may lead tranquil and quiet lives in all godliness and respectability.

Especially we ask You, watch over us all day and night in our respective communities, homes, occupations, and other activities.   In Your grace be particularly mindful of our congregation and all its needs, as well as the spiritual and material needs of our church body, the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.   Almighty Protector of the Church, do not forsake us, but in Your love continue to be present among us, helping us in all our endeavors, and granting Your divine success to all our activities and occupations, that our earthly  and eternal welfare might be enhanced.   Gift each one of us with a steadfast faith, godly courage, good judgment, and righteous works.

Graciously protect our fellow-believers around the world.   Favorably bless the work of Christian missionaries in foreign lands, as well as in our own country.   With Your strength protect them in all dangers that threaten them, keep them from discouragement when their work proves difficult, and unite us with them as – through our offerings and our personal efforts – we join in faithfully proclaiming the Good News of Your salvation through our Redeemer, so that every tongue may confess that Jesus Christ is truly our Lord and Savior and King of kings.

In Your grace bless the Christian upbringing and instruction of all our youth and confirmation students, that they may grow in their faith, glorifying Your name and remain true to You to the very end.   In particular, please give Your blessing to all our congregation’s and Church body’s educational ministries. 

Preserve and grant success to all Christians in their livelihoods and occupations; and let every person walk before You with a good conscience and earn a living honestly.

In Your grace receive and grant the prayers of all who are sick or disabled, the poor, widows, and orphans;   comfort and encourage all who are facing immanent death, as well as their families and friends.  Protect pregnant women, new mothers, and their children.   Guide all who are traveling.   Support and sustain all our nation’s military service personnel and law-enforcement agents.    Have mercy on all who are afflicted and those who suffer persecution for Your name’s sake.


Especially do we pray for Sharon Standish, a good friend of Harriet Johnson.   Lord, You have permitted a recent stroke to challenge Sharon physically, emotionally and spiritually.   According to Your will and in Your mercy grant her the strength to recover from the challenges she is facing, and to return soon to her home.   Give Sharon also such strength of faith that she will continue to accept Your will as best for her.


Give Your divine increase to all the production and fruits of our land.  Grant us adequate rainfall during the spring and summer months, for the benefit of our farms and forests, parks and homes.    Yet, turn away any harmful storms.   Likewise, protect us from all our enemies – physical and spiritual, as well as from famine, scarcity, war, danger from fires and floods, and other plagues.  


Stay with us, O faithful Father, until our end, and never let Your Spirit leave us alone, so that we may live in Your fear, die in Your grace, and finally receive the goal of our faith:   our soul’’s salvation.   All this we ask for the sake of Your dear Son Jesus Christ and His precious blood, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, coequal in majesty and honor, now and forever, and in Whose name we also pray:


Our Father, Who art in heaven;  Hallowed be Thy name;  Thy Kingdom come;  Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven;   Give us this day our daily bread;   And forgive us our trespasses,  as we forgive those who trespass against us;   And lead us not into temptation;   But deliver us from evil;  For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen.    



We Celebrate the Lord’s Supper

Consecration of the Elements


The Exhortation Regarding the Lord’s Supper




                                                                                   (Please read the following if you have not spoken with

                                                                                            our Pastor about taking communion.  Thank you.)



     We ask that only “Confirmed, Communicant” members of this congregation, or of one of our Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod congregations come forward to receive the Lord’s Supper at this time.                            

     We believe, according to Scripture, that only those who are “one,” that is, in complete doctrinal agreement, united in a common public confession of faith, are to commune together at the same altar (see I Corinthians 10:17 and I Corinthians 1:10).

     To be “in communion” means to share and to hold in common.   By eating and drinking at our Lord’s Table, we are not only sharing in, with, and under the bread and wine, Jesus’ very body and blood…we are also publicly declaring that we hold in common a specific confession of faith.  In other words, as a result of having comprehensively studied the Scriptures together all of our communicants have agreed to accept and proclaim the same Biblical doctrines and practices.

     Through membership in a particular church body (for us, that church body is the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod), each person makes a public statement that he/she is in full agreement with the teachings and practices of that body.  Because not every church body or Lutheran Synod teaches and practices the same things, we in the WELS want to be honest in our recognition of the doctrinal differences that, here on earth, separate us from other church bodies.   Please bear in mind that we are not, in any way, judging the legitimacy of your Christian faith.  Still, we ask that  if you have not (upon study of the Word with us) declared yourself to be in full doctrinal agreement with us, you would respectfully not join us in the Lord’s Supper this morning.  

     It is our prayer that our Scripture-based practice of “Close Communion” will encourage anyone here who is not presently in full fellowship with us to seriously examine the teachings and practices of his/her church to determine if those teachings and practices are really in full agreement with God’s Word.   To our guests among us today…..we want you to know that it is our desire that you might become familiar with the Biblical doctrines our congregation confesses, so that you might one day join with us at the Lord’s altar in this public expression of full unity of doctrine and practice.  Until then, please know that we are most grateful for your participation as a fellow Christian in this worship service, and that we appreciate your understanding and respect of our Communion practice. 




The Distribution Hymn                                                                                          “I Stand Here Before You”

                                                                                                  Sung to the melody of “How Firm A Foundation”


I stand here before You, O mightiest One   In need of forgiveness for wrongs I have done.

Oh, grant me Your pardon, my spirit now pleads    Forgive my transgressions in thoughts, words, and deeds.


The Tempter keeps taunting me day after day,    I often succumb and submit to his way.

From birth I’ve been evil — my mortal flesh weak,    I do not abide by the words that You speak.


I humbly confess with the deepest of shame    The times I abused Your magnificent Name.

In spite of Your right to demand faithfulness,    My life’s often guided by my selfishness.


I covet, I slander, I look with lust, too.    I fail to give honor where honor is due.

I steal and I gossip… far do I fall –    Your perfect commandments:   I’ve broken them all.


Right here at Your table forgiveness is found   In Christ’s holy blood that flowed down to the ground,

His body and blood in the bread and the wine   A marvel of love that is truly divine!


That blood of Your Chosen was shed to erase   The sins of the world.   How I cherish that grace!

Dear God I am thankful to be such a one,   Washed clean by the blood of my Savior, Your Son.


Second Distribution Hymn                                                                                                              Hymn 315

                                                                                                        “Here, O My Lord, I See You Face to Face”


1 Here, O my Lord, I see you face to face;   Here would I touch and handle things unseen,

Here grasp with firmer hand eternal grace,    And all my weariness upon you lean.


2 This is the hour of banquet and of song;    Here is the heav’nly table spread anew.

Here let me feast and, feasting, still prolong    The brief bright hour of fellowship with you.


3 I have no help but yours nor do I need    Another arm but yours to lean upon.

It is enough, O Lord, enough indeed;    My strength is in your might, your might alone.


4 Mine is the sin but yours the righteousness;    Mine is the guilt but yours the cleansing blood.

Here is my robe, my refuge, and my peace:    Your blood, your righteousness, O Lord, my God.


5 Too soon we rise; the vessels disappear.    The feast, though not the love, is past and gone.

The bread and wine remove, but you are here,   Nearer than ever, still my shield and sun.


6 Feast after feast thus comes and passes by,    Yet, passing, points to that glad feast above,

Giving sweet foretaste of the festal joy,    The Lamb’s great marriage feast of bliss and love.


At the close of the distribution of communion, the Congregation will rise


We Leave With The Lord’s Blessing


The Benediction


The LORD bless you and keep you.

The LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you.

The LORD look with favor upon you, and give you His peace.  Amen.



The Closing Hymn                                                                  Hymn 341  ‘”Crown Him With Many Crowns”


1 Crown him with many crowns,    The Lamb upon his throne;

Hark how the heav’nly anthem drowns    All music but its own.

Awake, my soul, and sing    Of him who died for thee,

And hail him as thy matchless King    Through all eternity.


2 Crown him the Lord of love –    Behold his hands and side,

Rich wounds, yet visible above,    In beauty glorified.

No angel in the sky    Can fully bear that sight,

But downward bends his wond’ring eye    At mysteries so bright.


3 Crown him the Lord of life,    Who triumphed o’er the grave

And rose victorious in the strife    For those he came to save.

His glories now we sing    Who died and rose on high,

Who died eternal life to bring   And lives that death may die.


4 Crown him the Lord of heav’n,    Enthroned in worlds above;

Crown him the King to whom is giv’n    The wondrous name of Love.

Crown him with many crowns    As thrones before him fall;

Crown him, ye kings, with many crowns    For he is King of all.


Silent Prayer,  Announcements, Post-Service music




Last Week at Grace Lutheran                                                         Sunday Worship:   74      Online views: 21

Sunday Bible Class: 28       Online views: 5         Sunday School: 5         Tuesday Bible Class: 17      

Sunday Offerings:  $2244.42    Online: $489.51    Midweek Lent Worship:  42    Online: 4   Wednesday Offerings: $333


This Coming Week at Grace Lutheran Church

Today                        Choir, 8:30 a.m.     Morning Worship,  starting at 9:30 a.m.               Fellowship Period, 10:40 a.m.

                       Bible Class/Sunday School, 11:05 a.m.               Easter Brochure Distribution, noon to …..

                       Youth Confirmation Class, 12:15 to 1:30 p.m.

Tuesday        Adult Bible Class, 10:30 a.m.

Thursday Maundy Thursday Service, with the Lord’s Supper, 7 p.m.

Friday            Good Friday Worship Service, 7 p.m.

Saturday                    Easter Set up – 10 a.m.                                     Outreach Calling, 11:00 a.m.

Sunday          Choir, 8:40 a.m.                  Festival of the Resurrection of our Lord   9:30 a.m.

                       Easter Brunch and Children’s Egg Hunt after worship




Serving Us Next Sunday                                                     Ushers: James Boatright, Jim Taylor, Jim Winnat

Elders:   Rick Tragasz, John Johnson                                       Altar Guild:   Christine Quinlan, Linda Winnat

Special Holy Week Worship Services Reminder  – This week we’ll have two opportunities to gather together for worship during the week we call “Holy Week.”   Please plan to  join us for our Maundy Thursday (April 6th) worship service with the Lord’s Supper at 7:00 p.m., and our April 7th Good Friday worship service, which will also begin at 7 p.m.


Easter Brochure Distribution TODAY …..Please give an hour or so of your time later today to help us distribute Easter brochure/ invitations.   We’d like to deliver them to about 1500 homes in the area within a mile or so of our church.   We need a lot of help to do this.   If you can’t help today, but might be able to assist us later this week (hopefully by no later than Wednesday).   If you’d like to help, or to learn more about our plans, please speak with Pastor Huebner.   In advance….. Thank you!

Easter Breakfast Food Items Sign-Up Sheet   On the table in the entryway is a sign up sheet on which you can commit to providing one or more of the food items needed for our post-service Easter Breakfast.   We hope that you are planning to join us for both the service and this fellowship meal.   If you can help by bringing a breakfast item  (donuts, milk, juice, cereal and bowls, breakfast bars, desserts, hard-boiled eggs, etc.) or a brunch item (meats, veggies, salads, etc.) please sign up today.   We hope many of you will invite friends, family, and guests to join us in celebrating our Savior’s resurrection during the morning worship service, and that you’ll ask them to join us for our Easter meal after that. 

Rummage Announcement…..In a month and half, our Women’s Group will sponsor a  rummage sale…..on May 19-20.   If you’re one of those persons who does an annual “spring cleaning” of your home, would you please keep our rummage sale in mind?   Even if you don’t do a “spring cleaning,” if you have items you could donate to our rummage sale, that would be very much appreciated.   And, if you might need to bring items earlier than the week prior to the sale, early drop offs will be available after the start of May.   Please speak with Pastor about this  when the time comes.  We’ll do our best to work with you.

Fellowship Help Requested…..  Thank you to those who signed up for fellowship for the Sundays in April.   However, we still need help on the 4th Sunday of the month, April 23.    And, other than for the 3rd Sunday in May, we have no volunteers to manage fellowship in May.  So, would you please considering signing up for fellowship for a future Sunday?  (Volunteers for June and beyond would be most appreciated).

 A sign up poster is on the bulletin board in the gymnasium/fellowship hall.   Thank you.


Who will you bring to worship this Easter Sunday?   …..Your son or daughter?  Your Grandchildren?    Your parents?  An unchurched neighbor?   Someone with whom you work?    How about a stranger that you’ve yet to meet….but whom you will meet between now and Easter Sunday?    Maybe even a member of Grace who hasn’t been in church with us for a very long time…..?   Many people we know haven’t been in church to worship our Lord in a very long time.   God has put each of us in the lives of these people because He wants us to be examples of faith in Christ to them.   He’s also called us all to verbally witness to them about how essential faith in the crucified and risen Christ is for us…and for them.   After all, all of us are Christ’s “ambassadors” whose privilege it is to present the Gospel to people so the Holy Spirit can work saving faith,  or strengthen in their hearts that faith which saves.  There’s no better opportunity to do that than this time of year that leads us to the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter.   So, please be a witness for Jesus…..and please invite some of the non-churched  people you know and meet to worship Him with us on Easter morning.

Please Bring Your Easter Lilies to Church on Easter Sunday….. – We’d like to fill the front of church with Easter lilies on Easter Sunday.  Please help us do that by bringing a lily (or lilies) to church.  Also, be sure to mark your lily with your name so that everyone takes the correct lily home afterward.

This Week’s Bible Classes   In Bible Class today we’ll be studying Jesus’ parables of the Laborers in the Vineyard and the Rich Fool.   In our Tuesday morning Bible class we’re studying Ecclesiastes.   This week we’ll look at the topic of our dealing with the unexpected and unavoidable situations and problems in life.

The Parables of our Lord

Divine Truths From Real Life Stories

The Role And Interpretation Of Parables

What is a parable?

Definition of a parable

It is…….
– not a fable
– not a myth
– not a proverb
– A parable, by common definition, is an aid for teaching.


Many of us also have learned this definition:   “A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.”

Look up the following Scripture references. In what way were parables effective in the given situations?


            *           Luke 20:1-19

            *           2 Samuel 12:1-8

            *           Luke 14:25-33



How Jesus Used Parables

Look up Matthew 13:31,32.   There’s no explanation of what this short parable means.   Why did Jesus often speak in parables rather than simply stating the facts?



  • Jesus used parables not to mask the truth, but to cause His hearers to search for it.




  • Parables are more interesting than “abstract” theological discussions. They are also easier for people to         relate to, and to remember.




  • Jesus used parables in discourse with His enemies so that they would have no clear statements from Him to use against Him.  Look up Mark 4:10-12.  


  • For those who were hardened in their refusal to acknowledge the truth of Jesus’ message and identity, parables served to hide the truth from them and act as a judgment against them.    Look up Matthew 21:43-46. Who is Jesus addressing here? (see v.23)     What is He clearly saying to them?    Why did He use a    parable to make this point?


The Gospel of John has no parables. Mark has only one that is unique to his book.  The majority of our parables, then, come from Luke’s and Matthew’s Gospels.   A few are also found in the Old Testament.




The  Interpretation Of Parables

The following principles should guide us as we seek to interpret the parables of Jesus:

  1. The parables are not merely charming little stories about the “way things always are.” They explain ways in which God operates, or ways in which He expects His followers to live for Him.   Matthew 13:11 tells us that     parables explain certain aspects of the Kingdom of God to us; namely, God’s just and gracious dealings with         sinful man.  Also, keep in mind the main thought or leading idea of the parable as given by Christ himself, or      the context.
  2. Always pay careful attention to the immediate context of the parable. Parables typically answer a question or address a particular situation that its hearers are facing.   What prompted Jesus to speak the parables offered in the following references?
  3. Luke 7:41-50



  • Matthew 12:29
  • Luke 10:25-37


  1. All the features of the parable are subordinate to the leading idea. The interpretation of details must fit the main thrust of the story. Consequently, not every part of a parable needs to be interpreted. Some parts simply supplement the story.    The parable itself should be studied along with the context to determine what is the one main point at issue (this is often called the “tertium”).   For example in Luke 18:1-8, what might you conclude about God if you focused primarily on the description of the judge?   What, however, is clearly the main point of this parable?




  1. Parables are not to be used to establish doctrine. Parables support other clear doctrinal passages.
  2. Finally, the interpreter should be familiar with the history, geography, culture and customs of Bible times to properly interpret the parables. Familiarity with Jewish marriage customs, the practice of wine making, the        art of farming in ancient Israel, etc. will help us to better understand the parables.

Parables:    Divine Truths From Real Life Stories

Section One: The Work And Worth Of The Gospel

(The sower & the seed;   the weeds;

the mustard seed and yeast;   the hidden treasure/pearl)

Section Two: God’s Great Expectations

(The two debtors;   the lost sheep;   the unmerciful servant;

the good Samaritan;     the tower builder & warring king;

the shrewd manager;   the unworthy servants;   the 10 minas)

Section Three: By Grace Alone; By Faith Alone
(The searching shepherd/woman/father;   the persistent friend;

the pharisee and the publican;   the laborers in the vineyard)

Section Four: Preparation For Judgment
(The rich fool;   the narrow door;    the seats at a wedding feast;


the great banquet;    the wedding banquet;   the net;

foolish & wise virgins;   the tenants)


Section Five:   Miscellaneous and Lesser-Known  Parables

(The Parable of The Patched Garment And The Wineskins;   Children In The Marketplace;

Parables Proving The Person Of Christ;   The Empty House;   The Owner of the House;   Clean and Unclean;   Lost Sheep and Dogs;   The Yeast of the Pharisees;    The Rock and the Keys;    The Lamp of the Body;   

The Fruitless Fig Tree;   The Wise and Foolish Builders)




Section One:    The Work and Worth of the Gospel

The Sower, The Seed, And The Soils

(Matthew 13:3-23; Mark 4:2-20; Luke 8:4-15)

To understand this parable, note that farmers in Jesus’ day simply broadcast the seed on untilled ground and then scratched the seed into the soil with a crude plow.   A footpath of soil hardened by foot traffic, often ran around the perimeter of the field.

This parable and others seek to explain the nature of and operation of the “Kingdom of God” or “The Kingdom of Heaven”. What do these passages tell us about God’s kingdom?




  • Luke 17:20,21
  • John 18:36,37
  • Romans 14:17

We define “God’s Kingdom” as his gracious rule in our hearts through his Word.

What four results followed the farmer’s sowing of his field? (Mark 4:2-8)

Read Mark 4:10-12.  For Jesus’ enemies, what purpose did these parables serve?    What “secret” did the disciples know that enables them to understand the parables?

In verses 13-20, Jesus explains this parable to his disciples.     In the first case, Satan takes away the word before it has a chance to sink in.     Give examples of how the devil can take the Word away.

In the second case, why would someone “receive it [the Word] with joy, but have no root”?    What are some of the issues/things in life that, spiritually-speaking, cause a shallow root system that, in turn, leads to the rather rapid death of a faith that initially seems to thrive?    


Agree or Disagree……..A person like this person never had genuine faith in the first place.


In the third case, explain how worries and mixed-up priorities can choke out God’s Word in human hearts.

In the last case, what does Jesus mean when he says that the Word produces different amounts of fruit in people’s lives?   Why is it dangerous to assume that all believers should produce the same amount of fruit in their lives?

This parable not only speaks to four types of hearers, but describes each of us individually as well. In what way is that true?

Our mission purpose, as a Christian Church, is to make and maintain disciples of Christ.   How does a proper interpretation of this parable help us understand what we are to do?

The Growing Seed (Mark 4:26-29)

On the basis of the previous parable, should we assume that some people are to receive credit for their salvation because they were “good soil” and accepted the Word whereas others rejected it?   This parable shows us that the life that comes from a seed of grain, and spiritual life that comes from the seed of God’s Word, are both mysteries.

What warning can we take from this parable when we are tempted to tamper with or dress up God’s Word to make it more appealing to human hearts?
What comfort can we take from this parable as we seek to sow God’s Word in human hearts with sometimes fumbling efforts or little outward “success”?

The Weeds (Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43)

Jesus uses another familiar illustration from the agricultural world. How did Jesus explain this parable? (vv.36-43)

Why is it dangerous to say, “We’re going to get rid of all those people in our congregation who act like unbelievers”?

How does this parable help us to understand and deal with the disturbing fact that there are hypocrites even in Christian congregations?


Often we wonder “why” things in this world are so evil.   Verse 28 gives a succinct answer……

The Mustard Seed and the Yeast (Matthew 13:31-35)

The mustard plant here pictured is not the 18 inch plant that grows in our garden. The oriental mustard plant can reach the height of a tree one year from planting (J. Dwight Pentecost, in his book The Parables Of Jesus, claims that he has a picture of a one-year-old mustard tree, 32 feet high!)

Knowing Satan’s opposition to God’s kingdom, an understandable question is “What will become of God’s kingdom if Satan so vigorously seeks to destroy it?”     How does this parable answer that question?

The Bible speaks of the Gospel as something considered by many to be “foolishness”, “weak”, and “lowly” (1 Corinthians 1:27,28).    For example, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are regarded by many as mere rituals or symbols.    When we speak about these Sacraments as “Means of Grace” through which God powerfully works, we are often met with skepticism and even ridicule.   What evidence do we have, however, that these things are not as weak as they seem?
The parable of the Yeast in the dough focuses in on the way in which the Gospel works, which is similar to the working of yeast amid dough.   Yeast works internally, and yet its work is all-pervasive and is readily observable.

How does this parable speak to the person who assumes (or presumes), “I can love however I want, as long as I believe”?

The Hidden Treasure And The Pearl of Great Price

(Matthew 13:44,45)

It was not uncommon for people in Bible times to bury part of their wealth as a means of keeping it secure in times of war or political unrest.    People in ancient times placed an unusually high value on pearls, similar to how we might value gold, diamonds, or other precious gems today.

Does this parable teach that God’s kingdom is something that we obtain by giving up other things?   (See Isaiah 55:1,2)

Does this parable teach us to hoarde the Gospel once we find it? (Mark 16:15)

This parable DOES teach us something about our attitude toward the Gospel. Namely, what?




Section Two:    God’s Great Expectations

The Two Debtors (Luke 7:36-50)

The basis for this parable is an incident that occurs during a dinner Jesus attends at the home of a Pharisee named Simon.

What makes you wonder about the sincerity of this man’s invitation to Jesus? And if he did not invite Jesus out of true respect, why did he invite him?

The woman who enters Simon’s home is called “a woman who had lived a sinful life.” She was probably a prostitute. Pharisaic law made being touched by such a woman an act of defilement.

In addition, what kind of rabbi would accept an expensive perfume gift when it was undoubtedly purchased with sin-tainted money!? Why did Jesus allow this sorry, sobbing scandalous human being to even get near him?

What spiritual point does the parable make? What should it particularly have meant to Simon?

It was common hospitality in Eastern cultures to provide water for guest to wash their feet, to greet guests with a polite kiss, and to anoint the guest’s head with oil (considered by most to be an act symbolizing joy and festivity). Not only did Simon neglect to do this, but this sinful woman – in contrast — went beyond what was customary.

Do we ever consider ourselves less in need of forgiveness than others?   When?   Why?

In what ways do we view certain sinners with disgust?   How should we be viewing them?
How would you have reacted to that woman?   Would you have been embarrassed?   Would you have thought she went overboard?    When does showing love for Jesus become excessive?    What is easier- To fall short of showing love for Jesus or to go too far?


The Lost Sheep (Matthew 18:10-14)

What was on the disciples’ minds that leads us into chapter 18? (See verse 1) What does this question tell us about their attitude and character?

Verses 10-14 contrast the disciple’s attitude and goals with God’s. The angels who “always see the face of my Father in heaven” rejoice whenever a sinner repents.  What is Jesus’ point in this verse?

Contrast the attitude of the heavenly Father in this parable with that of the disciples in verse 1.

How does this parable influence how we look at others? How we look at ourselves? How we approach our ministry as a church and as individuals?

The Unmerciful Servant (Matthew 18:21-35)

Jesus had just finished discussing how to deal with someone who has sinned against us. Peter has a question that seems quite natural, given the preceding conversation. “How many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me?”


We need to give Peter credit for the right motives, but the wrong mechanics.   Pharisaic law demanded that one forgive two times, or three times if you wanted to exceed the standard.   Peter also knew the law of love should prompt a Christian to be more forgiving than that. Even more than twice as forgiving. It seems he was anticipating Jesus to give him an answer somewhere between 3 and 7.    


Note that Jesus’ use of the number “seventy times seven” was a Jewish idiom and was understood to mean an innumerable amount.  

10,000 talents = millions of dollars
A few hundred denarii = A few dollars


What are some excuses we use to justify being unforgiving?  

The parable gives us the reason why we are expected to forgive innumerable times.    What is the number one motivating factor that makes the victim of a sin able to forgive the sinner. see Matthew 6:12; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13

“he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold . . .” The selling of a debtor who was not able to pay was not unusual in ancient times.     “I will pay back everything.” A flat-out lie. Don’t many people think the same thing when it comes to salvation? Good works cannot pay God back for sins in our life.

The Roman Catholic church uses v. 34 as a proof passage for purgatory. Why is that not a legitimate interpretation?
What’s wrong (and dangerous) with this statement? “I just can’t forgive him/her for what he/she has done!”


The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37)

To understand why Jesus spoke this parable, read verses 25-29. Why did this expert in the law ask the question, “And who is my neighbor?”      What’s wrong with the lawyer’s question?


Look at Deuteronomy  6:5 and  Leviticus 19:18.     What is emphasized in both passages?    Why the emphatic repetition of “all?”   What will prompt such love?  (See I John 4:1)


In verse 28, the Greek word for “do this” means “keep on doing, never fail, never give up, never slip, never let go.”   What is Jesus’ point in telling the lawyer, “Do this and you will live?”   (Also, see Galatians 3:21)

Jesus’ parable is His answer to the man’s question. To understand this parable better, we want to note the following:




  • A priest was the highest and most repsected religious leader in Israel.
  • The Levites were temple workers; both the priest and the Levite therefore could well be considered as model, God-fearing Jews.
  • The Samaritans and Jews hated each other; the Jews considered the Samaritans as half-breed low-lifes because they were of mixed blood (Jewish and native Canaanite); Samaritans considered the Jews to be    arrogant and overbearing. A Jew would have nothing to do with a Samaritan, and vice versa.


What reasons might that Priest and Levite have for not stopping to help that wounded man?     Could their “reasons” be viable, spiritually speaking?  


The main point of the parable is stated in verse 36.   What is it?

Many misinterpret this parable. They assume that Jesus was teaching us to be kind to people. Acutally, this parable holds no comfort for us at all. Because it convicts us, just as it convicted that expert in the law…………of what?
This account points out sinful man’s wrong assumption that God is satisfied with our keeping common standards of basic, decent behavior.   What ARE God’s standards?    Can we “Go and do likewise?”     If not, how can we have any hope of pleasing God?

In what ways are we, at times, like the Levite and priest?    In what ways would you like to be more like the Good Samaritan?    How is Jesus the true Good Samaritan?



The Tower Builder And The Warring King (Luke 14:25-35)

This parable leads the crowd following Jesus to consider whether they are willing to pay the price of living in this kingdom as a disciple of Christ.

In what sense does the call to follow Jesus include a call to “hate” even those close to us? How is it a call to “hate” even our own life?
Today, we hear the phrase “a cross to bear” and we think of something difficult we have to live with. However, in Jesus’ day, carrying a cross meant much more. It meant . . . what?

Why is it important to “count the cost” of discipleship?

According to this section of Scripture, who IS qualified to be a disciple?    Are you qualified?    Justify your response.

The Parable Of The Shrewd Manager (Luke 16:1-13)

After focusing on God’s desire to save sinners, Jesus teaches his disciples how to live in such a way as to show that rescuing souls is their main objective as well.


In Eastern business practice, as long as a manager collected what his owner demanded, he was free to take any added percentage for himself. Therefore, it is possible that even with the discounts the manager offered, he still returned the amount that his owner originally demanded. Regardless, the manager lost out on money that could have been his. About what was the manager most concerned?

Why did the owner “commend” the manager?

There’s no question that dishonesty was involved in this man’s plan.  However, that is not the point of Jesus’ parable. Jesus wants to bring attention to the shrewdness of the manager, and for his disciples to take note.

In verse 8, who are the “people of this world?” (see Psalm 17:14)   Who are the “people of light?” (see Ephesians 5:8)   Why would people of the light want to be shrewd in dealing with people of the world?

You have a neighbor that moves in and you find out he and his family are atheists. What are some ways you can be “shrewd” in dealing with him? What factors will determine how “shrewd” you become?

Agree or Disagree:      The manner in which I use my wealth on this earth determines to what degree God will bless me with more. (see 2 Corinthians 9:6)

What is the main point of this parable?
NOTE: Heaven is a gift. It has nothing to do with how we use our money. However, our use of wealth in a God-pleasing way may RESULT in many people being in heaven to welcome us one day.


Unworthy Servants (Luke 17:7-10)

In verses 1-6 of chapter 17, Jesus has just given some examples of the stringent demands of obedience that those who follow Him must follow.   When they expressed their intimidation at such high standards, Jesus comforted them by telling them that, though their faith was small, yet because their faith was in him, it was powerful enough to enable them to  great things for God!

This short parable, however, speaks to a different concern: the human tendency to judge our faithfulness to God on the basis of how we stack up compared to others. There’s always someone less faithful than we are.   Often we are able to find that person in our lives.   What does this parable say to us when we start to compare ourselves to others?

What are the evil consequences for me, for others, and for God when I conclude, “you know, compared to most people, I’m a pretty faithful Christian”?

The Ten Minas (Luke 19:11-27)

If someone gave you $l000.00 extra dollars, what would you do with it?
            1. Invest it aggressively.
2. Put it in an insured bank account.
3. Stuff it in a mattress because you don’t trust banks.

The setting of this parable is that Jesus and his disciples are nearing Jerusalem on his last journey. Many believed Jesus would now establish His kingdom in Jerusalem.   The story of Zacchaeus, just previous to this parable, points out the commitment to Jesus that accompanies a life of faith.   Zacchaeus gave half of his possessions to the poor and paid back those he had cheated four-fold.   The parable is all about faithfulness.   Perhaps Jesus spoke this parable in Zacchaeus’ home.

Who’s the man who went into a far country and promised to return again?  Who are the servants?   Who are the people who say, “We don’t want you to rule over us?”   What’s the distant country?    What’s meant by the interval between when the nobleman left and would return?

(Verse 13)  a mina was about three months wages.   What does the mina that each servant received before the nobleman left in the parable represent?  (see John 20:22).   It could also be the means of grace God’s servants are to use faithfully until the end of the age. I Tim. 6:20.   What are we to do with the mina until Jesus returns again?

In Biblical numerology the number ten, incidentally, consistently represents perfection or completeness.

The faithful servants in the parable showed their faithfulness by investing the money given to them by their master wisely and profitably.    How can we show our faithfulness as God’s servants?

Should we expect tangible or visible rewards already now on earth?


What does Jesus mean in verse 26?

Should we be afraid of the Last Day when the Lord calls us to give an account?



Section Three:    By Grace Alone…By Faith Alone


The Searching Shepherd, The Searching Woman, The Searching Father (Luke 15:1-32)

What precipitated these three parables? (v. 2)
These parables sharply contrast the attitude of the Pharisees toward sinners with God’s attitude toward sinners. How did a stereotypical Pharisee regard a “sinner”? What do these parable teach us about how GOD regards a sinner?

NOTE: Verse 7 reminds us that God is NOT in the business of rubber-stamping with his seal of approval the self-righteousness of people like the Pharisees. What really pleases him is rescuing repentant sinners. How do these parables challenge how we view ourselves?

List some details from these three parables that indicate the depth of God’s love for us.


Did you ever run away from home? Where did you go? What happened? (Or, Did you ever think of running away from home? Where would you have gone? Why did you change your mind?)    Which child were you in your family, the “obedient” one or the “wild” one?

Why do you think the prodigal son decided to leave home?  


In those times if a younger son left the family home for one reason or another, the older son was expected to stay at home and take care of the estate.  However, the younger son had no right to demand his share of the inheritance when he did.   According to Jewish law, the children could not divide the inheritance until after the father’s death. Then the firstborn (oldest) received a “double share” of the estate, and the other children shared the remainder of it (Deuteronomy 21:15-17).  The younger son in the parable could have received a considerable amount of money.

What’s meant by the “distant country?” When are we off in a “distant country?” Why didn’t the father stop his son? Why doesn’t God stop us?    What kind of pleasures can the world give?


Does God ever abandon someone to their foolishness? Romans 1:24,28.

Do you think that the father was wise to give his son his inheritance when he knew his son would probably blow it?
If the father had a pretty good idea where his son had gone, do you think he should have gone after him?


(Verses 17-19)  What does the lost son realize he doesn’t deserve? What’s his only hope when he goes back home? What must we also realize we don’t deserve from God? What’s our only hope also?

Of what can we be sure when we return to our heavenly father?   What’s the spiritual counterpart to the “best robe” (verse 22)?    See Galatians 3:27; Isaiah.61:10. The ring signified son ship. Sons also wore sandals. Slaves went barefoot.


In the third parable, what flaws do you find in the protest of the older brother to his father’s goodness toward his younger brother? (vv. 28-30)


By temperament and experience, which of the three main characters do you best identify with in this story of the prodigal son/unforgiving brother/waiting father?

Agree or Disagree:      Some “lost sons” can appear to be very nice, decent, family loving and church going people?

What’s the only food that nourishes and feeds the soul?   What is some “pigs food” the world offers?


The Blind Guides (Matthew 7:3-5; Luke 6:39-42)
This parable is connected to Jesus famous “Sermon On The Mount.” In this sermon Jesus teaches almost the diametric opposite of what the Pharisees taught; namely, that an attitude of humility and mercy are more important than an outward show of righteousness; that sin is not only what one does but what one thinks; that God expects more than reasonably good behavior, that he expects perfection.

Read the parable in verses 39-40 of Luke 6. In what sense were the Pharisees “blind” leaders?

What does Jesus indicate as the consequences of such blind leadership?

Read verses 41,42. Then read Luke 6:1-10. How did the Pharisees prove themselves guilty of the sin this parable reveals? What was the plank in the Pharisees’ eye?    Let’s apply this parable to ourselves. Should we ever point out sin in the life of a fellow Christian? (See 6:37) If so, what should be our attitude in doing so and our goal?


The Persistent Friend (Luke 11:1-10)

This entire section has to do with prayer. What would prompt the disciples to request “Lord, teach us to pray”? What’s so difficult about praying?

Verses 2-4 describe the nature of God-pleasing prayer. God-pleasing prayer will reflect that our greatest concern is God’s glory and his kingdom (gracious ruling) in the hearts of people, that spiritual matters are most important, that we are dependant on God for everything from basic physical needs to forgiveness to help in any trouble.

Verses 5-8 is a parable which makes what point about HOW we are to pray?

(This parable should remind us not to go too far in interpreting every detail of parables. For instance, we shouldn’t assume that God is like the man in the parable, answering our prayers merely because we keep bothering him.

Verse 9,10 should be an encouragement to us; however, what do you make of the claim that some make based on these words, that, if you really believe, God will answer all of your prayers?

Verses 11-13 are an argument from a lesser point to a greater. What is the point?

What is the greatest gift we can ask for?

The Persistent Widow (Luke 18:1-8)

The purpose of this parable is in Luke 18:1. What is the purpose? Why do we need this parable?

There is an argument from the lesser to the greater from this parable. If even an unjust judge grants justice after much pleading, then certainly . . . what?

Is Jesus’ last statement in v. 8 a warning for the disciples or about the world they live in? Be prepared to defend your answer. What does verse 8 say to us?


The Pharisee And The Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14)

When you were in high school, what did it take to be with the “in” crowd?    What was a guaranteed way to be out?
What is the purpose of this parable? (verse 9)

(Verse 11)  Was the Pharisee really thanking God?

God prescribed only 1 day of fasting a year, the Day of Atonement. Lev. l6:29,31 Later the Jews observed four official days of fasting. The Pharisees fasted each Monday and Thursday, the days tradition says Moses ascended and descended Mt. Sinai.   The Jews also weren’t commanded to give a tenth of everything. Small herbs, for example, were exempted.
Comment on the body language of the tax collector.


(Verse 14)   justified = not condemned, innocent, fully forgiven, free and rid of all guilt and punishment, accepted and beloved to God. On what basis does God pronounce this verdict? Why was the Pharisee not justified?

What’s meant by “universal justification?” When did it take place? What’s meant by “personal justification?” When did it take place? Why is universal justification of such comfort to the penitent sinner?

Agree or Disagree:      Even today the Pharisee and the tax collector go to the temple to pray.

How can religious feelings be deceiving?    To what must we compare ourselves to get a true picture of ourselves?

How is this parable a comfort? How is it a warning?

The Laborers In The Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16)

The basis for this parable is Peter’s question in 19:27. Peter was curious about the reward he could expect as someone who had left everything to follow Jesus. What does this parable say to those who serve God because they want to get a bigger reward than everybody else?

This parable forces us to ask, “Why do I serve God?” It also forces us to ask whether we feel a “new” Christian has the same rights as we do in the congregation? How does this parable respond to both of those concerns?



Section Four:    Preparation for Judgment

The Parable Of The Rich Fool (Luke 12:13-21)


According to Jewish law, the eldest son received a double inheritance, with the provision he subsequently must support his mother and (any) unmarried sisters.

The man in our text seems to make a rather simple request of Jesus. Describe Jesus’ response and what flaw he points out in the man’s question…and heart.

What does Jesus mean in verse 15 by the term “a man’s life?”

There are hints regarding the attitude problem this man had. How did he get his crop? (pay careful attention to the wording in verse 16)


Does this parable say that it is wrong to plan ahead for the future?   (See James 4:13-15)    Is it right to put money away in a life insurance policy or a retirement account or even to have a savings account?
Pay careful attention to the wording he uses when he talks about material possessions. What do you notice that indicates just what was the problem with this rich man’s view of life?     (See also Psalm 39:6; Psalm 49:10; Eccl. 2:18,21)

Why did God call him a “fool” in verse 20? 


Agree or Disagree:      To possess wealth gives a person a false sense of security

Aside from material wealth, what other earthly matters might give one a false sense of security?

What does it mean to be “rich toward God”?   And how does one do that?

Where are your riches?     What are three chief priorities for your life right now?    How would you like to be remembered?
Where would you like to leave your riches?

The Net (Matthew 13:47-50)

The normal way to fish on the Sea of Galilee was to simply drag a net through the water. The net, of course, would collect both edible and inedible fish. Take note that Jesus is speaking this parable from a location near the Sea of Galilee, where the people may been able to see fisherman out on the water and plying their trade.

It is impossible to determine how many “keepers” there are in a net bulging with fish, simply by looking at the net. What lesson do we learn from this parable about the nature of the kingdom of heaven?

How does this parable serve as a warning to us?

Define the “wicked” and the “righteous” (See Romans 3:20-23)

Many today do not believe in the traditional understanding of hell as a place of fiery punishment. Verse 50 makes the nature of hell very clear.

The “gnashing of teeth” is symbolic of anger and frustration. Why are the inhabitants of hell frustrated and angry?


The Narrow Door (Luke 13:22-30)

In what respect is the door to heaven a narrow door?

The people outside the house claim to be acquainted with Jesus. Why does God deny knowing them?
If it is “evildoers” (v.27) who will be shut out of heaven, how can you or I stand a chance?
In verse 28, the “weeping” refers to sorrow and the “gnashing of teeth” refers to anger. Why will people shut outside of heaven grieve and be angry?

In verse 30, what was the message for the Jews of Jesus’ day? What is the message for us today?
The Seats At The Wedding Feast (Luke 14:7-11)

The feast Jesus was attending was also attended by Pharisees and teachers of the law. In what way was their behavior at this feast (grabbing the best seats) indicative of their spiritual attitudes?

What did Jesus’ specifically mean in his statement in verse 11? Think of some situations when we need to remember these words.The Great Banquet (Luke 14:15-24)

One of the guests at this banquet expresses his feelings about the blessedness of sharing in that future feast in the kingdom of God. The parable Jesus speaks directs that man’s attention AWAY from how wonderful heaven will be to whether he is willing, RIGHT NOW, to accept the invitation.

Who embodies God’s invitation to his heavenly feast? And how does one therefore reject God’s invitation to his kingdom?

The people in the parable had seemingly legitimate obligations in other matters. Why, then, are these people excluded from the feast and their “reasons” for not accepting the invitation called “excuses” (v. 18)?

This parable is all about priorities . . . in what sense?

What are some excuses humans use today for rejecting God’s invitation to his kingdom?

The Two Sons (Matthew 21:28-32)

This parable was spoken right in the temple courtyard before the chief priests and elders during the week of Jesus’ death. His words are blunt.

How were the tax collectors and prostitutes like the first son? How were the Pharisees and teachers of the law like the second son?

There is a difference between claiming obedience and actually obeying. What command from the Father were the religious leaders simply unwilling to obey (though they calimed to be truely obedient to God)?

Comment on this statement: “Oh, I’m sure she went to heaven. She was very religious.”


The Parable Of The Tenants (Matthew 21:33-44)

Note that the situation is the same as that surrounding the parable above.

Who or what is . . .1) The landowner 2) The tenants 3) The servants 4) The son 5) The vineyard 6) The expected fruit 7) The other tenants 8) Harvest time?

Note how the parables are very direct and obvious in meaning to confront the religious leaders with their obstinate refusal to accept the truth of Jesus Christ.

What does verse 44 mean?

Ready And Waiting Servants (Luke 12:35-48)

In verses 35-40, Jesus speaks of being prepared for his second coming. In the first illustraation of servants waiting for their master to return home, what highly unusual thing does the master do for his faithful servants? What does this tell us about the nature of our Savior?

The second illustration pictures Jesus’ coming like a thief breaking into a house. Why?

The parable in verses 42-46 reminds us that there is a temptation all of us face until Jesus returns. What is that temptation? In what ways do we emulate that unfaithful servant?
The final verses, 47-48, remind us that the privilege we have been given to know the Savior and his word so well comes an important responsibility; namely, what?

NOTE: Scripture does teach clearly that there will be different degrees of punishment in hell.

The Wedding Banquet (Matthew 22:1-14)

According to Jewish custom, when a couple was betrothed, an announcement was sent out regarding the impending marriage, which usually took place around one year later. This parable speaks about the subsequent personal invitations given shortly before the wedding.

The wedding clothes were special garments that guests were expected to wear to show their joy at the event being celebrated. Not wearing those garments was an insult.

Apply this parable to God’s dealings with Israel, focusing in on these details in the parable:

1. The repeated invitations

2. The apathetic and even hostile response

3. The subsequent invitation to anyone on the street

4. The importance of wedding clothing

What tendancies do we have that make this parable an apt warning for us?

In what way does this parable glorify God’s grace?

How does this parable help us to answer the charge: “I can’t believe a loving God would actually send people to hell.”

The Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13)

Bridegrooms would walk in a festive procession from the home of the bride to the groom’s home. Guests could join the procession as it went along or greet the groom at his home. It was necessary, however, that the guests have lighted lamps. Each lamp would serve to further illuminate the home or banquet hall, and provide a bright and joyful atmosphere for the celebration.

Why did 5 of the 10 virgins fail to meet the groom? Whose fault was it? Why?

Verse 13 states the point of this parable. What is it?

What can lead us to not be prepared to meet Jesus when he returns?


Section Five:   Miscellaneous Parables


The Parable of The Patched Garment And The Wineskins

(Matthew 9:16,17; Mark 2:21,22; Luke 5:36-39)
Jesus has been baptized by John, thereby authenticating the ministry of John as well as giving public witness of his identity as God’s Son and chosen Messiah. He has returned from the wilderness to Galilee and chosen his disciples. He has worked his first miracle (turning water into wine) in Cana of Galilee. He has returned to Jerusalem for the Passover. He has made his way back to Galilee, where he has set up headquarters at Capernaum. He has gone throughout the region proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God and healing many sick and demon-possessed people.

He has been ministering publicly long enough for the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law to become familiar with him and his message and to form some opinions about him. What do the following references tell you about the doctrine and practice of these religious leaders?




  • Matthew 6:5
  • Matthew 6:16-18
  • Luke 11:37-54
  • Luke 16:14

Is Jesus a friend or foe to them? Why?



  • John 1:13-22
  • Luke 5:17-26
  • Luke 5:27-32

Read Luke 5:33-39 in light of the last two references from Luke 5 we just studied. This was obviously not an honest question. It was meant to discredit Jesus. What did the question imply about Jesus and his disciples?

The Pharisees assumed that fasting won brownie points with God. Jesus answer implies that fasting isn’t a deed that impresses God. It is a sign of sorrow. When Jesus said his disciples shouldn’t fast in sorrow, because the bridegroom was with them, what was he claiming about himself?
The parable Jesus then speaks about the garment is designed to lead the Pharisees to conclude that their teaching doesn’t match Jesus’ teaching. Explain the difference and how the parable illustrates the incompatibility of the two.

The parable of the wineskins indicates that it is impossible to package Jesus’ message in the structure of Old Testament Law. Explain how the parable illustrates that and why the point of the parable is true.

This parable has to do with mixing up the Law and the Gospel. How do the following examples illustrate an improper use of Law and Gospel?

All you have to do to get to heaven is believe in Jesus and live a good life.

We really feel good about our church! We’re growing by leaps and bounds, we always have something going for every age group, and people say that we’re the friendliest group around!

No Christian who appreciates what Jesus did for them would EVER have done what you did! Does Jesus’ death for you mean ANYTHING to you at all?

The Ten Commandments are a real comfort to me because they keep me on track in my walk with God.

Children In The Marketplace  (Matthew 11:16-19; Luke 7:29-35)

This parable is directed to the Pharisees and experts in the law. How did these people regard John’s ministry? (See Luke 7:29,30) What did they think of Jesus? (See notes on the parable of the Wineskins)
Jesus compares the religious leaders of his day to children at play. In verse 32, what are we told about the way that children act when it comes to choosing what to play.

How did the religious leaders also act this way? (See vv. 33,34). In verses 33 and 34, what are we told about the different nature of John’s
and Jesus’ ministry?

Our sinful nature also resists both the Law and the Gospel. List some examples.



Parables Proving The Person Of Christ  (Matthew 12:22-30; Mark 3:22-27)

What precipitated the parable-based teaching of this section? (See vv 22-24)

List the arguments Jesus uses to show how ridiculous and simple-minded the accusation that Jesus is driving demons out by the power of the devil is. (v26-29)

What conclusion, arising from Jesus’ obviously real and God-given miracle-working power, did the Pharisees not want to accept? Why not?

Many today want to find some reason to dismiss anything about Jesus that points to his divine nature. Why is it simple-minded for someone to think he can separate Jesus from his miracles and end up with “Jesus, the great humanitarian-teacher”?

The Empty House (Matthew 12:43-45)

What leads to Jesus’ words in this section? Read 12:38. The current religious leaders again show their absolute ridiculousness when they ask    Jesus for a sign that will prove he is the Messiah sent from God. Why in  the world would they need a sign, given all the miracles Jesus had  already performed!? Their request merely betrays their refusal to accept  the truth that had already been made clear.

Read the parable. It speaks about a demon-possessed man who enjoyed  freedom from demon possession for a while, but in the end was possessed  by seven demons rather than merely one.

Many Israelites who had rejected God repented when John the Baptist  brought his message to Israel and pointed them to the Messiah, Jesus.  But many of those baptized by John later rejected Jesus and so their fate  was worse at the end.

What warning can we take from this parable?

How does this parable move us to reach out more energetically to our  fallen-away friends and relatives?

The Owner Of The House (Matthew 13:51,52)

In order for the teachers of the law to give their listeners the full  revelation of God, they first had to be instructed in the kingdom of heaven themselves. What did they need to learn about the kingdom of  heaven? (Matthew 3:1-3)

What are the old treasures? What are the new treasures?
Christian teaching is more than just a matter of imparting knowledge or facts; it’s sharing treasures! List some of the treasures that Christian teachers (such as parents, Sunday School teachers, and every Christian witness) are privileged to share.

Clean And Unclean (Matthew 15:1-20)

Since the time of the return from the Baylonian Capitivity, the teachers of the law had added additional regulations and laws to the Mosaic Law. Two of those “traditions of the elders”, as they were called, are mentioned in the opening verses. One is the practice of ceremonial washing before meals, and the other is the practice of dedicating something as a special gift to God.

In their effort to keep the man-made traditions of the Elders, the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law ended up breaking God’s clear commands. How does Jesus illustrate that? How do the Isaiah passages support Jesus’ accusation?

Read 15:10,11 and then 15:15-20 for the explanation of this parable.

Our sin and our need for a savior is more serious if we view sin as a matter of the heart and rather than as a matter of one’s life. Why is that?
NOTE: This was a theme Jesus hit again and again in his discussions with the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law. Without a true understanding of sin, there isn’t much need for a Savior.

Read 15:12-14 Jesus here tells his disciples why they shouldn’t be surprised if the Pharisees were offended by Jesus’ words, nor should they let the Pharisees intimidate them as men who seem to be in control.

Lost Sheep And Dogs (Matthew 15:21-28)

Jesus’ ministry was conducted primarily for the benefit of God’s people, the Jews. Jesus’ mission was conducted for all people. Jesus’ is referring only to his ministry in verse 24.

In Jesus’ statement in verse26, who are the children? What is the bread? Who are the dogs?

In the woman’s reply, what was she saying to Jesus? How would you describe this woman’s faith?

Jesus didn’t help her right away; in fact he seemed to ignore her and then cut her down. Why did he deal with her in this manner?

The Yeast Of The Pharisees And Sadducees (Matthew 16:5-12)

The point of this parable is obvious and extremely important. The false teaching of the religious leaders was like yeast- it influenced a person’s entire thinking and life.

Note what had happened leading up to this parable. The religious leaders had asked Jesus for a sign to prove he was the Messiah. That doesn’t seem so bad, does it? How did this request, however, give evidence of their false beliefs and teaching?

One of Satan’s biggest lies is that a little false teaching is no big deal. A little false teaching can lead to toleration or acceptance of more false teaching and ultimately destroy one’s faith and eternal future.





The Rock And The Keys (Matthew 16:13-19)

The Roman Catholic Church states that this reference is Scriptural evidence that Christ chose Peter to be the first pope, and that all
successors of Peter have the headship of the church that Christ entrusted to Peter.

However, while Jesus DID change Simon’s name to Peter, which means “rock” because of his rock-solid confession of who Jesus was, Jesus was NOT referring to Peter when he said, “On this rock I will build my church.” The Greek word for “rock” in that phrase is of the feminine gender, and therefore cannot refer to Peter (masculine gender); it must refer to Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Christ and Son of God.

What are the keys Jesus speaks of? (See John 20:23)


The Lamp Of The Body (Luke 11:33-36)

Earlier in this chapter Jesus drove a demon out of a man and some concluded this miracle was accomplished through the power of Satan.
Others demanded that Jesus prove he was really God by a “sign” from heaven.

This parable shows that the problem for those who would not accept Jesus is NOT that there isn’t enough evidence. How does verse 33 point that out (if the lamp is Jesus)?

In verse 34, the eyes are “faith”, what is Jesus saying to those who refused to accept him as God and Savior?

In verses 35 and 36, what is Jesus saying about the person who truly believes in him?

This parable should be a good reminder to us that some people simply don’t WANT to believe, though they may claim that the evidence for Christianity isn’t compelling enough.

How does this understanding actually help us when we witness our faith to others?

NOTE: One year away from his death, Jesus begins now to use much clearer language. Consider what he says in the rest of this chapter.


The Fruitless Fig Tree (Luke 13:1-9)

This parable was spoken by Jesus in response to a question that has always plagued mankind. Why does tragedy strike some and not others? Jesus doesn’t answer that question. Rather, he addresses the attitude of those who asked it.

Rather than being concerned about whether somebody else was under God’s judgment, what should they be concerned about?

In verses 6-9, who is the vineyard owner, the vineyard tender, and the fig tree.

What is the point of the parable . . . about God? about stubborn Israel?


The Wise And Foolish Builders    (Matthew 7:24-29; Luke 6:46-49)

Multitudes had been attracted to Jesus and his teaching. Many were amazed that he spoke with authority that even the Teachers of the Law did not have. But fascination with Jesus is not the same as faith in Jesus.

How does the parable in Luke 6:43-49 make that point? In what sense are we all builders? What is the rock foundation? What are the consequences of building or not building on the rock?
In what ways do we call Jesus “Lord” but live as if we are the lords of our lives?