NEW TESTAMENT - LESSON 20
Matthew 21-23; John 12:1-8
- Mary anoints Jesus' feet.
- Jesus makes a triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
- Jesus gives the parable of the two sons and the parable of the householder.
- The scribes and Pharisees try to trap Jesus.
- Jesus condemns the sin of hypocrisy.
A study of this lesson should help us recognize and avoid hypocrisy
and thus strengthen our commitment to Jesus Christ.
Mary Anoints Jesus' Feet
- John 12:1-2: "Then Jesus six days before the passover came
to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from
"There they made him a supper;
and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with
READ JOHN 12:3-8. Jesus annointed by Mary.
- Bruce R. McConkie: "Jesus chose to spend a quiet Sabbath, his
last on earth, in his beloved Bethany. There in the home of Simon the leper,
enjoying sociality with Mary and Martha and Lazarus and those of his intimate
circle, he will receive the holy anointing preparatory to his kingly burial;
there he will take into his lungs the last peaceful breaths of Judean air
before the tumultuous hours and days of his passion. It is Friday...and
Jesus and his select friends are just arriving from Jericho."
(Mortal Messiah, 3:333)
- Also, see Matthew 26:6-7 & Mark 14:3
- James E. Talmage: "To anoint the head of a guest with ordinary
oil was to do him honor; to anoint his feet also was to show unusual and
signal regard; but the anointing of head and feet with spikenard, and in
such abundance, was an act of reverential homage rarely rendered even to
kings. Mary's act was an expression of adoration: it was the fragrant outwelling
of a heart overflowing with worship and affection." (Jesus The
- Mary anointed the Lord to show her love for him. According to Talmage
it was an act of "worship and affection", an act rarely afforded
kings. Certainly such a thing was never done to a common man.
- HOW CAN WE FOLLOW MARY'S EXAMPLE AND SHOW OUR LOVE FOR THE LORD?
- We cannot do what Mary did, but we can mold our heart to become like
hers. The Master taught us, "If ye love me, keep my commandments"
(John 14:15). Do we not honor the Lord by our actions. Do we not show our
"worship and affection" by seeking to follow the path which he
laid out for us.
- HOW DID JUDAS RESPOND TO THIS ACT?
- "Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and
given to the poor?" (v5).
- WHY DID JUDAS RESPOND THIS WAY?
- He was a hypocrite.
- Bruce R. McConkie quoted the Biblical scholar F.W. Farrar: "the
sight of Mary's lavish sacrifice, the consciousness that it was now too
late to save that large sum for the bag -- the mere possession of which,
apart from the sun's which he could pilfer out of it, gratified his greed
for gold -- filled him with disgust and madness. He had a devil. He felt
as if he had been personally cheated: as if the money were by right his
and he had been, in a senseless manner, defrauded of it." (Mortal
A Triumphal Entry Into Jerusalem
- READ MATTHEW 21:1-11. The Lord's triumphal entry
- This entry into Jerusalem commences the last week of our Lord's earthly
ministry. This is a Sunday, the day after the Jewish Sabbath. He has left
Bethany headed for Jerusalem, gathering crowds as approaches Jerusalem.
- "Many people came to see him because they heard that he had
raised Lazarus from the dead. As Jesus approced the city, he was greeted
by a great multitude of people who spread their garments in his path and
hailed him with palm branches, an honor usually reseved for kings and conquerers."
(Teacher's Manual, p82)
- Zechariah 9:9: "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout,
O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just,
and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the
foal of an ass."
- The triumphal entry fulfilled this ancient prophecy.
- Many hailed Jesus as a prophet and king by their actions on this day.
- Others misunderstood his mission or rejected him. "And when
the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and
the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David;
they were sore displeased" (Matthew 21:14).
- IN WHAT WAYS DO PEOPLE MISUNDERSTAND OR REJECT THE SAVIOR TODAY?
- HOW CAN WE MORE FULLY ACCEPT AND WELCOME HIM INTO OUR LIVES?
- "And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over
it" (Luke 19:41). Jesus went on to prophecy that Jerusalem would
soon be destroyed (Luke 19:42-44).
- The fate of Jerusalem as described by Farrar: "Titus [of Rome]
had not originally wished to encompass the city, but he was forced, by
the despair and obstinacy of the Jews, to surround it, first with a palisaded
mound, and then, when this vallum and agger were destroyed, with a wall
of masonry. He did not wish to sacrifice the Temple--nay, he made every
possible effort to save it--but he was forced to leave it in ashes. He
did not intend to be cruel to the inhabitants, but the deadly fanaticism
of their opposition so extinguished all desire to spare them, that he undertook
the task of well-nigh exterminating the race--of crucifying them by the
hundreds, of exposing them in the amphitheatre by thousands, of selling
them into slavery by myriads." (quoted in Mortal Messiah, 3:341-342)
- The fate of Jerusalem was sealed because most of its inhabitants rejected
the Lord. We need to make a "triumphal entry" of the Lord into
our lives and into our hearts.
- After entering the Jerusalem, Jesus went to the temple and cleansed
it for a second time.
- READ MATTHEW 21:18-22.
- This incident occurred on Monday morning of this last week.
- WHY DO YOU THINK JESUS CURSED THE FRUITLESS FIG TREE?
- F.W. Farrar: "And therefore, since it was but deceptive and
useless, a barren cumberer of the ground, He made it the eternal warning
against a life of hypocrisy continued until it is too late..."
(quoted in Mortal Messiah, 3:346)
- James E. Talmage: "The leafy, fruitless tree was a symbol of
Judaism, which loudly proclaimed itself as the only true religion of the
age, and condescendingly invited all the world to come and partake of its
rich ripe fruit; when in truth it was but an unnatural growth of leaves,
with no fruit of the season, nor even an edible bulb held over from earlier
years, for such as it had was dried to worthlessness and made repulsive
in its worm-eaten decay." (Jesus The Christ, p527)
Parables To The Jews
- Parable of the Two Sons.
Parable of the Householder.
- READ MATTHEW 21:28-32.
- WHAT DOES EACH SON SYMBOLIZE?
- See The Mortal Messiah, pp358-359.
- 1st son = Wicked, rebelious, ungodly, unclean, have no interest in
spiritual things. He refuses the call. Religion is not for him. He symbolizes
the harlots and publicans.
- 2nd son = Wearing a veneer of spirituality; fasting two days in each
week; making broad his phylacteries and lengthening the fringes on his
garments; praying on the street corners to be seen of men; keeping the
traditions of the fathers with a scrupulosity beyond sense and reason.
He symbolizes the chief priests, scribes, and elders.
- WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THIS PARABLE? WHO WAS THE HYPOCRITE?
- DO SOME OF US OCCASSIONALLY RESPOND LIKE THE SECOND SON? HOW?
- Do we agree to do visiting teaching or home teaching and not do it?
- Do we promise to attend the temple and then do other activities?
- Do we promise our children more time and then get caught up in what
we think are more pressing matters?
- HOW CAN WE STRENGTHEN OUR COMMITMENT TO THE LORD?
- John H. Vandenberg: "Recently, the wife of a very dear friend
of mine passed away in Denver, Colorado. She was one of the most devoted
Latter-day Saints with whom I have ever been privileged to associate. There
is no question in my mind that her loyalty to our Father in heaven germinated
early in her youth as she committed herself to short- and long-range goals
After sharing some of this sister's thoughts
and goals in life, Elder Vandenberg continued: "I feel that goal-setting
is absolutely necessary for happy living. But the goal is only part of
the desired procedures. We need to know which roads to take to reach the
goal. In many cases we set far-reaching goals but neglect the short-range
ones. With such short-range plans, we need self-discipline in our actions
-- study when it is time to study, sleep when it is time to sleep, read
when it is time to read, and so on -- not permitting an undesirable overlap,
but getting our full measure of rewards and blessings from the time we
invest in a particular activity. In this respect, I feel that Aaronic Priesthood
bearers especially need to learn more fully their responsibility for leadership.
They need to commit themselves more to obeying the proven principles of
the gospel. They need to commit themselves verbally to their friends and
families, telling them of their desire to live righteously, so that their
friends and families can help and encourage them and observe their progress.
They need to make commitments with themselves by writing down their goals
and keeping a record of the fulfillment of their achievements."
(Cr, April 1966, pp93-94)
- READ MATTHEW 21:33-41.
- WHO ARE THE HOUSEHOLDER, THE HUSBANDMEN, THE SERVANTS, AND THE SON?
- Householder = Heavenly Father..
- Husbandmen = The wicked leaders of Israel.
- Servants = The prophets.
- The son = The Son of God.
- HOW WERE THE JEWISH RELIGIOUS LEADERS LIKE THE HUSBANDMEN?
- "they sought to lay hands on him" (v46).
- READ MATTHEW 21:42-46.
- WHY DO YOU THINK THE LORD GAVE THIS PARABLE TO THE PHARISEES?
- WHY DO YOU THINK THEY DIDN'T HEED THIS WARNING?
- HOW MIGHT THIS PARABLE APPLY TO YOU?
- Do we honor the servants of God?
- Do we heed their messages? (family night, temple attendance, food storage,
scripture reading, etc.)
- HOW DID THE CHIEF PRIESTS AND PHARISEES RESPOND WHEN THEY REALIZED
THAT JESUS WAS SPEAKING ABOUT THEM IN THESE PARABLES?
- HOW CAN WE OVERCOME ANY PRIDE OR INDIGNATION WE MAY FEEL WHEN WE ARE
CALLED TO REPENT?
- In my work, I have the opportunity to spend time in management-employee
relations. It is fascinating to me to find how defensive both management
and employees can become when it is pointed out that there needs to be
a change. In seems to be a natural thing with us in this mortal state.
So how do we overcome it?
We need to evaluate what our ultimate goal
is. If it is eternal life, we need to lift our eyes to that goal and eliminate
anything that stands in the path. If we have pride when we have made a
mistake, we must look to our ultimate goal. We must humble ourselves in
prayer. If necessary, we need to confess our sin to the appropriate persons.
We must seek a plan for change. We must overcome this natural man tendency
towards justification and defensiveness.
Scribes & Pharisees Try To Trap Jesus
- READ MATTHEW 22:15-22. Is it lawful to give tribute
READ MATTHEW 22:23-28. Marriage in the resurrection.
- WHAT IS THE TRAP THAT THESE MEN HAVE ATTEMPTED TO SET?
- If He answers in favor of Rome, he may well antogonize the Jewish people
who wish to overthrow Roman rule.
- If He answers against Rome, He then could be reported to the Roman
authorities as one who is openly teaching against obedience to Roman law.
- HOW CAN THIS ANSWER GUIDE US IN RENDERING ALLEGIANCE TO GOD AND TO
- WHAT IF A COUNTRY IS RULED BY A WICKED REGIME?
- WHAT DO WE OWE THE COUNTRY IN WHICH WE LIVE?
- Howard W. Hunter: "What do we owe to Caesar? To the country
in which we live? We owe allegiance, respect, and honor. Laws enacted to
promote the welfare of the whole and suppress evil doing are to be strictly
obeyed. We must pay tribute to sustain the government in the necessary
expense incurred in the protection of life, liberty, property and in promoting
the welfare of all persons." (CR, April 1968)
READ MATTHEW 22:34-40.
- HOW WERE THE SADDUCEES HYPOCRITICAL IN THEIR QUESTION?
- They didn't believe in the resurrection. They were attempting to trap
- WHY WAS THE QUESTION ANOTHER TRAP?
- The Jews had spent years examining the Law and had listed a total of
613 commandments. There had been great debates among the Jewish rabbis,
scribes, and others regarding which of the commandments was the greatest.
If Jesus chose any of the 613 separate codes of law he would probably be
alienating a large portion of the Jewish leaders who did not agree.
- The Lord's response: He swept aside all the debate and cut through
the minutia to the foundation and reason for all commandments. He spoke
- DO WE EVER GET SO CAUGHT UP IN THE COMMANDMENTS THAT WE SOMETIMES FORGET
THEIR REASON FOR BEING?
- Howard W. Hunter: "He loves the Lord with all his heart who...is
ready to give up, do, or suffer anything in order to please and glorify
him. He loves God with all his soul...who is ready to give up life for
his sake and to be deprived of the comforts of the world to glorify him.
He loves God with all his strength who exerts all the powers of his body
and soul in the service of God. He loves God with all his mind who applies
himself only to know God and his will, who sees God in all things and acknowledges
him in all ways." (CR, April 1965, p58)
- The response of only one scribe:
- Mark 12:32-34: "And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master,
thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other
"And to love him with all the
heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with
all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all
whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
"And when Jesus saw that he answered
discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.
And no man after that durst ask him any question."
The Sin Of Hypocrisy - Matthew 23
- Jesus identifies and condemns the hypocrisy and wickedness of the scribes
The eight woes against the Scribes & Pharisees.
- V1-7: "Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
"Saying, The scribes and the
Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:
"All therefore whatsoever they
bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works:
for they say, and do not.
"For they bind heavy burdens
and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves
will not move them with one of their fingers.
"But all their works they do
for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge
the borders of their garments,
"And love the uppermost rooms
at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
"And greetings in the markets, and
to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi."
- WHAT IS THE ATTITUDE OF THE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES?
- WHAT DID THE LORD TEACH?
- V11-12: "But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble
himself shall be exalted."
READ MATTHEW 23:33-36. The condemnation.
HOW MIGHT WE AS CHURCH MEMBERS SOMETIMES BE HYPOCRITES?
- The woe for rejecting Christ & salvation (v13).
- By preaching against Christ they are shuting the door of salvation
for themselves and their followers.
- The woe against avarice and hypocrisy (v14).
- Under cover of religious duty, they extorted enormous sums from the
ever-present widows and orphans, salving their consciences with pretentious
- The woe for converting souls to a false church (v15).
- It is said of Jewish proselytizing of that day: "Out of a bad
heathen they made a worse Jew."
- The woe against moral blindness shown in the breaking of oaths (v16-22).
- Bruce R. McConkie: "But these Jews--in their apostate debauchery--had
so perverted the true order of vows and oaths that they had become a sword
of evil instead of a shield of good. Technical, trifling rules by which
oaths could be annulled and avoided came forth from the Great Sanhedrin.
An indulgence here, some special privilege there, as the Rabbinists taught,
enabled men to ignore their solemn vows made in Jehovah's name."
(Mortal Messiah, 3:397-398)
- The woe against supplanting eternal principles with religious trifles
- A mark of personal or universal apostasy. Example: Abstain from the
use of tea, coffee, and tobacco, but indulge in lustful acts or forsake
standards of business integrity.
- The woe against hiding wickedness under a religious cloak (v25-26).
- The woe against a false outward appearance of righteousness (v27-28).
- James E. Talmage: "But even as no amount of care or degree
of diligence in keeping bright the outside of a tomb could stay the putrescence
going on within, so no externals of pretended righteousness could mitigate
the revolving corruption of a heart reeking with iniquity." (Jesus
the Christ, p558)
- The woe against rejecting the living prophets (v29-32).
- WHAT CAN WE DO TO AVOID HYPOCRISY?
- We need to ask ourselves this question, "In all my actions, do
I seek to draw closer to my Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ?"
What is our eternal goal? Are we truly seeking to gain eternal life,
to enjoy the blessings of an eternal family, and desire to live with Heavenly
Father? Or are we simply trying to impress others with the amount we pay
in tithing or the position we hold. Being mortal, we sometimes tend towards
hypocrisy. Unlike the scribes and Pharisees, we need to check ourselves
in this and repent. If we have a sincere desire to serve and obey Jesus
Christ, motivated by love for and faith in him, we will come closer to
him and increase our love and faith.
Lesson 21: Joseph Smith--Matthew (Matthew 24)
Additional Reading: Mark 13: Luke 21:5-38; D&C 45:15-55
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