November 28, 2021 – Matthew 13 – 14

Lesson Date: November 28, 2021

Focal Scripture Passage: Matthew 13:24-30, 34-43, 54-58; 14:19-27, 33

AIM: To lead students to discover why some people seem uninterested in the things of God and resistant to the Gospel message, and to examine themselves to see if they are truly saved.

 

Before class: Read the notes on Matthew 13 – 14 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.  Locate a picture of a wheat field and a picture of a very large crowd of peoplePrepare the index cards described in the “Conclusion” step.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Draw a large circle on the marker board or chalkboard.  Tell the class the large circle represents all the people who come to our church on Sunday mornings.  Tell them next you are going to draw a circle with that circle that represents the number of people who come to church on Sunday night.  Ask: “Should that circle be the same size as the first?” (no).

Explain that Sunday night attendance at our church is only 73% of our Sunday morning attendance.  Draw a circle within the first circle, about three quarters the size of the first circle.  Tell the students the smaller circle represents the people who come to our church on Sunday nights.

Ask: “If I were to draw a circle representing our Wednesday night attendance, would it be larger, the same size, or smaller than either of the other circles?” (it would be smaller).  Ask: “Why do you think fewer people come to church on Sunday nights and Wednesday nights than on Sunday mornings?”  Allow a few moments for responses from the class.

Remind the students that chapter 13 contains Jesus’ “Sermon by the Seaside.”  Tell them today’s lesson picks up where last week’s left off, with Jesus using parables to teach spiritual truths by the seaside.  The title of today’s lesson is, Genuine of Fake?

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (Jesus said peoples’ hearts are like different types of soil: some are receptive to the Gospel while others are not).
    • Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verse (Matt. 11:30).
  2. Parable of the Wheat and the Tares.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Matthew 13:24-30.
    • Ask: “What was the problem in this parable?” (an enemy sowed tares – useless weeds – in a man’s wheat field).
    • Explain that the wheat and tares looked so much alike in the early stages of their growth that it was impossible to tell them apart.
    • Ask: “What did the man decide to do?” (let the wheat and tares grow together until harvest time, when it would be easy to tell them apart).
    • Ask: “What would be done with the useless tares?” (they would be burned).
    • Ask: “What would be done with the wheat?” (it would be gathered into the barn).
    • Direct the class’ attention to the picture of the wheat field.
    • Comment on the beauty of the wheat field, but then tell the students there are useless weeds hidden among the good wheat.
    • Ask: “Can you see the weeds?” (no; the whole field looks the same).
    • Read Matthew 13:34-35.
    • Tell the class Jesus spoke to the crowd only in parables (quoting Ps. 78:4).
    • Ask: “According to verse 35, why did Jesus do this?” (to fulfill prophecy and to reveal the meaning of mysteries that had been secret from the beginning of the world).
    • Remind the students that in last week’s lesson Jesus said He taught in parables so those who were spiritually sensitive would understand and learn while those who were spiritual uninterested would not.
    • Summarize: Through parables, Jesus taught that useless weeds grow among good crops. At harvest time the weeds are separated and destroyed.
  3. Jesus Explained the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Matthew 13:36.
    • Ask: “What did the disciples ask Jesus?” (to explain the meaning of the parable of the wheat and the tares).
    • Tell the class to listen for Jesus’ explanation as you read Matthew 13:37-43.
    • Ask the students to name what each character and event in the parable represents:
      • The man who sowed the good seed = the Son of man
      • The field = the world
      • The good seed = children of the kingdom (Christians)
      • The tares =  children of the devil (lost people)
      • The enemy = the devil
      • The harvest = the end of the world
      • The reapers = the angels
    • Ask: “What will happen to the tares (the lost people)?” (they will be cast into everlasting fire and torment in hell).
    • Ask: “What will happen to the Christians?” (they will shine forth like the sun in God’s kingdom of heaven).
    • Direct the students’ attention to the picture of the very large crowd of people.
    • Explain the following:
      • The people in this picture look as thick as the wheat in the picture of the wheat field.
      • The people all look about the same, but they are not.
      • Some of the people in the picture are lost and headed to eternal torment in hell.
      • Some are saved and headed to eternal glory in heaven.
    • Ask: “Can you spot the lost people in this picture?” (no, they all look about the same).
    • Summarize: Jesus explained that throughout this life lost and saved people live side-by-side; but in the end, God will separate them.
  1. Jesus Was Rejected at Nazareth.
    • Tell the class after preaching this “Sermon by the Seaside,” Jesus went back to His hometown of Nazareth (locate on the Map of Judea and Galilee).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Matthew 13:54-58.
    • Ask: “What did the people say about Jesus?” (they knew Him and his family).
    • Ask: “Why didn’t Jesus do many mighty works at Nazareth?” (because of the unbelief of the people).
    • Explain that the people of Nazareth were very familiar with Jesus and His family, so they couldn’t accept Him as the miracle-working Messiah.
    • Summarize: The people of Nazareth were spiritually uninterested because they couldn’t accept Jesus as the Son of God.
  2. Two More Miracles.
    • Explain the following:
      • Matthew 14:1-12 reveal that King Herod executed John the Baptist.
      • Afterward, Jesus crossed the Sea of Galilee (locate on the Map of Judea and Galilee) and went out to a deserted place.
      • Many people followed Him there
      • The disciples became concerned because there was no food for the huge crowd.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Matthew 14:19-21.
    • Ask: “What happened?” (Jesus miraculously multiplied the loaves and fish; there was enough to feed thousands of people until everyone was full; there were even leftovers, too.)
    • Read Matthew 14:22-27.
    • Explain the following:
      • Jesus sent His disciples back across the Sea of Galilee.
      • He stayed behind to disperse the crowd and then go to a private place to pray.
      • Contrary winds arose and the disciples’ ship was tossed about in the waves.
    • Ask: “What happened next?” (Jesus came to them, walking on the sea).
    • Explain the following:
      • Jesus supernaturally enabled Peter to walk on the sea.
      • Peter became fearful and began to sink.
      • Jesus rescued Peter and they both got into the ship.
      • When they did, the winds ceased.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Matthew 14:33.
    • Ask: “What did the disciples do when they witnessed this miracle?” (they worshiped Jesus and affirmed that He was in fact the Son of God).
    • Ask: “How did the disciples’ response to Jesus differ from that of the people of Nazareth?” (the disciples believed in Jesus, but the people of Nazareth did not).
    • Stress the fact that both groups knew Jesus and both groups saw Him do miracles, but one group believed while the other group rejected Him (even within Jesus’ own disciples, one was a non-believer: Judas).
    • Summarize: Through the miracles that they witnessed, the disciples came to realize that Jesus is the Son of God.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Ask: “Why do you think some people are not interested in the things of God?”  Allow a few moments for members to answer and discuss their thoughts.

Direct the students’ attention once again to the picture of the wheat field Ask: “Can you spot the weeds among the wheat?” (no).  Direct their attention again to the picture of the large group of peopleAsk: “Can you spot the lost people in the crowd of people?” (no).  Tell the students if you were to hold up a picture of our church congregation, there would likely be lost people in among the saved people, and we wouldn’t necessarily be able to spot them.  The same might be true if we looked at a picture of our class.

Just as tares are hard to spot hidden among the wheat, lost church members are often hard to spot among the saved church members; but just as certainly as the reapers can tell the difference between wheat and tares at harvest time, God can easily tell the difference between saved and lost people.  Ask the students if they think the fact that there are lost people “hidden” among the saved at church might have something to do with the difference in our Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night attendance.

Ask: “What about you?  Spiritually speaking, are you a stalk of wheat (a true believer) or are you actually a tare (a fake)?”  Tell the students they are the only ones who truly know the answer to that question.

Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes.  Ask: “Are you truly saved?”  Explain that if they don’t believe they have ever truly received Christ as their Savior, but they want to, Jesus will save them right now.  Read the verses printed on the back of the Sunday School Member Quarterly.  Urge any who have never been saved to confess their sins and turn to Jesus Christ for salvation.  Lead a closing prayer.

 

CONCLUSION: Give everyone an index card on which you have written or printed this question:

“Am I interested in spiritual things?”

Ask them to place the card somewhere they will see it every day.  Tell them if they are interested in spiritual things, then they should thank God.  If they are not interested in spiritual things, they should examine their heart to find out why.

Be sure everyone has a copy of the new Sunday School Member Quarterly.  Tell them our study in Matthew continues next week.  Ask them to do the Daily Bible Readings, which begin tomorrow.

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