January 16, 2022 – Matthew 22

Lesson Date: January 16, 2022

Focal Scripture Passage: Matthew 22:15-46

AIM: To lead students to discover how Jesus dealt with the trick questions thrown at Him by the Jewish religious leaders; and to commit themselves to reading their Bibles more faithfully so they will be able to properly deal with trick questions lost people might ask them.

 

Before class: Read the notes on Matthew 22 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Ask the students the following trick questions (answers in parentheses):

  • If you build a fort, drive a Ford, and fill out a form, then what do you eat soup with? (a spoon).
  • Some months have eight letters in their name, whereas others have five. How many have three? (they all have three or more).
  • What happens when you throw a blue rock into the Red Sea? (it sinks to the bottom).
  • A deli worker in a grocery store is described as being 6’1”, wears size 10 shoes, and wears a large-sized shirt. What does the deli worker weigh? (lunch meat).

Tell the class that some trick questions, like the ones you just read, can be fun.  Others, like the ones a teacher might put on a test, are not fun at all.  Still other trick questions are used to try to trap you into saying something that will incriminate you (such as, “When did you stop beating your wife?”).

Tell the students the title of today’s lesson is Trick Questions.  As we study Matthew 22, we will learn that the leaders of the Jews asked Jesus trick questions, hoping to trap Him into saying something for which they could arrest Him.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review.
    • Remind the class that in last week’s lesson Jesus entered Jerusalem to the praise and welcome of the people.
    • After He drove the merchants and moneychangers out of the Temple, however, the Jewish religious leaders challenged Jesus’ authority.
    • Jesus told two parables that exposed the Jewish religious leaders as disobedient and unfaithful stewards of God’s message and truths.
    • In verses 1-14 of chapter 22, Jesus told another parable about a king who made a great wedding feast for his son.
    • Through that parable Jesus taught that since the Jews rejected Him, He would reach out to the Gentiles.
  2. The Herodians Tried to Trap Jesus with a Trick Question.
    • Read Matthew 22:15-16.
    • Ask: “According to verse 15, what did the Pharisees want to do?” (trap Jesus in His talk).
    • Explain the following:
      • The Pharisees were conservative legalists who were zealous about the Old Testament Law. They feared losing their power over the people if Jesus was accepted as the Messiah.
      • The Herodians were Jews who supported the Roman-backed Herod family. They were more of a political party than a religious sect.  They feared Rome’s hold over Judea would be broken if Jesus was accepted as Messiah.
      • The Pharisees enlisted the help of the Herodians to try to trap Jesus.
      • The Herodians tried to butter Jesus up with insincere compliments.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Matthew 22:17.
    • Ask: “What did they ask Jesus?” (is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?).
    • Explain the following:
      • The Herodians favored paying Roman taxes (tribute).
      • The Pharisees and most other Jews were against paying taxes to Rome.
      • If Jesus said they should not pay taxes He could be accused of treason against Rome, but if He said they should pay taxes most of the Jews would reject Him.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Matthew 22:18-22.
    • Ask: “According to verse 18, what did Jesus understand?” (that the questioners were wicked, insincere, and trying to trap Him).
    • Ask: “How did Jesus answer their trick question?” (He said to give Caesar the things that belong to Caesar, but give God the things that belong to God).
    • Tell the class Jesus taught that Christians are responsible to obey their earthly governments by paying taxes, but they are responsible to faithfully love and serve God in their hearts.
    • Ask: “How did the Herodians react to Jesus’ answer?” (they were amazed; since they couldn’t trap Jesus they went on their way).
    • Summarize: The Herodians failed in their attempt to trap Jesus with a trick question about paying taxes to Rome.
  3. The Sadducees Tried to Trap Jesus with a Trick Question.
    • Read Matthew 22:23.
    • Explain the following:
      • The Sadducees were theological liberals who did not believe in supernatural things such as miracles, angels, the afterlife, or the resurrection of the dead.
      • They came to Jesus with a hypothetical question based on the Old Testament law of levirate marriage ( 25:5-10).
      • The law of levirate marriage said if a man died without fathering any children, his brother was required to marry the widow and father children to carry on his name.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Matthew 22:24-27.
    • Tell the class the Sadducees described a ridiculous hypothetical situation.
    • Read Matthew 22:28.
    • Ask: “What was their trick question?” (since all seven brothers were married to this woman, whose wife will she be in the resurrection?).
    • Stress the fact that they wanted to make the resurrection appear absurd and impractical.
    • Ask the students to listen to Jesus’ response to their trick question, as you read Matthew 22:29-32.
    • Ask: “What did Jesus say about these Sadducees in verse 29?” (they made a mistake because they didn’t understand the scriptures or the power of God).
    • Tell the class the Sadducees claimed to be experts in the scriptures, but since they didn’t know the God of the scriptures, they couldn’t really understand them. The same is true of many so-called religious “scholars” today.
    • Ask: “How did Jesus answer their questions about marriage?” (He said in the resurrection people do not marry).
    • Explain the following:
      • To correct the Sadducees’ false belief about resurrection, Jesus reminded them that God is often referred to as “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
      • Jesus said God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.
      • This clearly meant that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were still living with God in heaven.
      • The Sadducees were wrong in their rejection of the resurrection and life after death.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Matthew 22:33.
    • Ask: “How did the multitude react to Jesus’ answer?” (they were astonished).
    • Summarize: The Sadducees failed in their attempt to trap Jesus with a trick question about resurrection and life after death.
  4. The Pharisees Tried to Trap Jesus with a Trick Question.
    • Read Matthew 22:34-35.
    • Explain the following:
      • The Pharisees (conservatives) and Sadducees (liberals) did not like each other.
      • When the Pharisees saw that Jesus made fools out of the Sadducees, they gathered together to plan their next move.
      • One of them came from the gathering to ask Jesus a trick question.
      • This Pharisee was a lawyer, which meant he was an expert in the Old Testament Law.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Matthew 22:36.
    • Ask: “What was this man’s trick question?” (what is the greatest commandment in the Law?).
    • Explain the following:
      • When we think of commandments, we usually think of only the Ten Commandments.
      • Jewish scholars, however, identified over 600 different commandments.
      • They classified some commandments as “weightier” than others.
      • Whichever commandment Jesus said was the greatest, the lawyer hoped to twist His words to make it appear that He did not respect the others.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Matthew 22:37-40.
    • Tell the class Jesus quoted two Old Testament verses (Deut. 6:5; Lev. 19:18) to answer their question.
    • Ask: “What did Jesus say were the greatest commandments?” (love the Lord with all you heart, soul, and mind; and love your neighbor as yourself).
    • Ask: “What did Jesus say about these two commandments?” (they are so basic that all the other laws and the writings of the prophets hang upon them).
    • Summarize: The Pharisees failed in their attempt to trap Jesus with a trick question about the most important commandment in the Law.
  5. Jesus Silenced the Pharisees with a Question About the Messiah.
    • Read Matthew 22:41.
    • Tell the class after successfully handling the trick questions thrown at Him by the Herodians, Sadducees, and Pharisees, Jesus turned the tables and asked the Pharisees some questions.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Matthew 22:42-45.
    • Ask: “What did Jesus ask them about Christ (the Messiah)?” (whose son is He?).
    • Tell the students the Pharisees correctly answered that the Messiah is the son (descendant of) King David.
    • Explain the following:
      • Jesus then quoted Psalm 110:1, and asked the Pharisees why David referred to the Messiah as his “Lord.”
      • In ancient times fathers did not call their sons “lord,” so David would not naturally refer to one of his mortal descendants that way.
      • This fact reveals that Christ (the Messiah) is no mere mortal descendant of David, but is truly the Son of God.
      • That’s why David addressed Him as “Lord.”
    • Read Matthew 22:46.
    • Ask: “How did they answer Jesus’ question?” (they didn’t).
    • Ask: “Did they ask Jesus any more trick questions?” (no).
    • Ask: “Why do you think the proud and arrogant Jewish religious leaders stopped asking Jesus trick questions after this incident?” (because they realized He knew and understood the scriptures better than they did, making it impossible to trick Him).
    • Summarize: Jesus turned the tables on the Jewish scholars, asking them a question they couldn’t answer. They stopped asking Him trick questions.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Tell the students the Jewish religious leaders asked Jesus cleverly crafted questions designed to entangle and entrap Him.  They wanted to discredit Him and get Him to say something for which He could be arrested.  None of their questions concerned major theological issues like the nature of God, the truth of the Bible, or how to have eternal life.

Tell the class unsaved religious people and skeptics still challenge believers with trick questions today.  Ask: “Have you ever been asked a trick question?  If so, what was that question?”

After allowing time for a few responses, remind the class that Jesus successfully handled each question because He knew the true meaning and intention of the Bible.  Tell the students if they are genuine believers then they already understand more about the true meaning and intention of the Bible than those who would ask such trick questions.  They may not, however, have enough knowledge of Bible facts to fend off trick questions.

Ask: “Do you think you know your Bible well enough to handle trick questions designed to discredit you and make Christianity look absurd?  If not, what do you need to do?” (they probably realize they need to spend more time reading and studying the Bible).  Tell the students most Christians need to spend more time reading, studying, memorizing, and meditating upon the Bible.  Some good resources are the found in the Sunday School Member Quarterly: the Daily Bible Reading Guide, the Bible study guide for each lesson, and the suggested memory verses.

Tell the class there is no shortcut to Bible knowledge – it takes time and commitment.  Ask: “If you feel you need to become more knowledgeable of the Bible, will you make a commitment to God right now to read your Bible more faithfully so you will be able to properly deal with trick questions lost people might ask you?”  Lead a closing prayer of commitment.

 

CONCLUSION: Offer to help your students establish or improve their Bible reading and study habits.  Make yourself available to them outside of class time, through personal meetings, calls, texts, or emails.  Ask everyone to memorize Matthew 22:37.

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