The parable of the two sons and God’s contempt for hypocrisy (Matthew 21:28 – 21:32)

After being challenged by the chief priests, Jesus told them a parable of two sons. He said, “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’‘I will not,’ he answered, but later regretted his response, changed his mind, and went into the vineyard to work as his father instructed.Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. The son answered, ‘I will, sir’ but he did not go.Which of these sons did what the father wanted?” “The first,” they answered. Jesus said to them: “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you

The priests question Jesus’ authority but are unable to complete his test (Matthew 21:23 – 21:27).

Jesus taught in the temple courts. The chief priests and the elders of the people went to him and asked, “By what authority are you doing these things? And who gave you this authority?” Jesus replied, “I will ask you a question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John’s baptism – where did it come from? Was it from heaven or of human origin?” The elders discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say ‘from heaven’ Jesus will ask, ‘then why did you not believe him?’. But if we say ‘of human origin’, we are afraid we will insult the people who believe John was a prophet.” So the elders answered Jesus, “We do not know”. Then Jesus said, “Then

Jesus explains the acceptable reasons for divorce and what it truly means to be married (Matthew 19:1 – 19:12).

When Jesus had finished teaching about forgiveness, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan river. Large crowds followed him and he healed them there. Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” Jesus replied, “Haven’t your read that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.” “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that

Pharisees ask for a sign – Jesus gives them a weather lesson because they are unable to interpret the signs of the times (Matthew 16:1 – 16:4).

The Pharisees and Sadducees (prominent religious leaders in ancient Israel) came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. Jesus sighed and said, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather for the sky is red’. When morning arrives you say, ‘Today it will be stormy for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation look for a sign, but none will be given except the sign of Jonah’” Jesus then left them and went away. What the story means to us today Many people still require “more signs” to convince them of the Bible’s truth It seems as

True defilement – it’s not what goes into the mouth that matters, but what comes out (Matthew 14:34 – 15:20).

After the miracle of walking across the water, Jesus crossed over with the disciples and landed at Gennesaret. When people recognized him, word spread throughout the surrounding country. People brought all of their sick to Jesus and begged him to let them merely touch the edge of his cloak. When the did, they were healed. Some Pharisees came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? Why don’t they wash their hands before they eat?” Jesus replied, “Why do you break the commands of God for the sake of your tradition? God said, Honor your father and mother and anyone who curses their father or mother should be put to death. But you say that if anyone declares that if

Pharisees demand a sign from Jesus – Jesus rebukes them and acknowledges his true brothers. (Matthew 12:38 – 12:50)

Some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law told Jesus, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.” Jesus answered, “A wicked generation asks for a sign! But none will be given except the sign of the prophet Jonah. Just like Jonah spent three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will spend three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgement with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here. The Queen of the South will rise at the judgement with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends

Under pressure from the Pharisees and accused of partnering with Beelzebub, Jesus delivers a stern warning against blasphemy (Matthew 12:22 – 12:37)

A demon-possessed man who was blind and mute was brought to Jesus. Jesus healed the man returning his speech and eyesight. All of the people were astonished and said, “Could this really be the Son of David, the Messiah?” The Pharisees heard this and said, “It is only by Beelzebub (Beelzebul), the prince of demons, that this man drives out demons.” Jesus knew their thoughts and told them: “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? If I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your people drive them out. So then, they will be your judges. But if it

Jesus heals a man with a shriveled hand while the Pharisees plot to kill him (Matthew 12:9 – 12:21)

After the conflict with the Pharisees in the grain field, Jesus went on from the place. He went into the Pharisees synagogue and a man with a paralyzed, shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, the Pharisees asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” Jesus said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” The man stretched out his hand and it was completely restored, just as sound as

Jesus calls a hated tax collector, Matthew, to follow him and become his disciple (Matthew 9:9 – 9:13)

As Jesus journeyed through the land, he saw a man named Matthew sitting in a tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him. Matthew got up and followed. While Jesus was eating dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came to the home and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked the disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with the tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” What the story means to us today A tantalizing, controversial trait – but one that all Christians should strive to mimic In

Jesus and the fulfillment of Old Testament Law (from the Sermon on the Mount) (Matthew 5:17 – 5:20)

During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told listeners: “Do not misunderstand and think that I am here to abolish Old Testament laws or Prophets. I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. Until heaven and earth disappear altogether, not the smallest letter nor least stroke of a pen will by any means disappear from the Old Testament until everything has been accomplished. Anyone who sets aside one of the least of the Old Testament commands and teaches accordingly, will be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever practices and teaches Old Testament laws will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” What the story