5d Five

Integrity and Devotion

Seven woes and the widow’s offering are the texts in our study today. The majority of our reading comes from Matthew which makes sense as we recall that he was presenting the compelling case of the Gospel primarily to Jewish readers.  The lessons in this brief reading concerning integrity, and devotion are essential to the life of every disciple so that we ourselves should not fall prey to nor become false spiritual leaders.

Mini-series 15 min Podcast:

60 min Podcast: coming soon

Section 137a | Seven Woes against Teachers of the Law and Pharisees

Jerusalem, in the temple
[one_third last=”no” class=”” id=””]Matthew 23:1-36
Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to his disciples,1 saying,

“The scribes and the Pharisees sat on Moses’ seat.2  All things therefore whatever they tell you to observe, observe and do, but don’t do their works; for they say, and don’t do. 4 For they bind heavy burdens that are grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not lift a finger to help them. 5 But they do all their works to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad, enlarge the fringes of their garments, and love the place of honor at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, 7 the salutations in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi, Rabbi’ by men. 8 But don’t you be called ‘Rabbi,’ for one is your teacher, the Christ, and all of you are brothers. 9 Call no man on the earth your father, for one is your Father, he who is in heaven. 10 Neither be called masters, for one is your master, the Christ. 11 But he who is greatest among you will be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. 13 “Woe to you,3 scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!4 For you devour widows’ houses,5 and as a pretense you make long prayers.6  Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.7[/one_third]
[one_third last=”no” class=”” id=””]Mark 12:38-40
38 In his teaching he said to them,“Beware of the scribes,







who like to walk in long robes, and to get greetings in the marketplaces, 39 and the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts:






40 those who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”[/one_third]
[one_third last=”yes” class=”” id=””]Luke 20:45-47
45 In the hearing of all the people, he said to his disciples, 46 “Beware of those scribes






who like to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts;







47 who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers: these will receive greater condemnation.”[/one_third]Matthew 23:14 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you shut up the Kingdom of Heaven against men; for you don’t enter in yourselves, neither do you allow those who are entering in to enter.8 15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel around by sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of Gehennaas yourselves.9  16 “Woe to you, you blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obligated.’ 17 You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifies the gold? 18 ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obligated?’ 19 You blind fools! For which is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifies the gift?10  20 He therefore who swears by the altar, swears by it, and by everything on it. 21 He who swears by the temple, swears by it, and by him who has been living in it. 22 He who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God, and by him who sits on it. 23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have left undone the weightier matters of the law: justice, mercy, and faith.11  But you ought to have done these, and not to have left the other undone. 24 You blind guides, who strain out a gnat, and swallow a camel! 12 25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and unrighteousness. 26 You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the platter, that its outside may become clean also.13  27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitened tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but inwardly are full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.14 28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.15   29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and decorate the tombs of the righteous, 30 and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we wouldn’t have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’ 31 Therefore you testify to yourselves that you are children of those who killed the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. 33 You serpents, you offspring of vipers, how will you escape the judgment of Gehenna? 34 Therefore behold, I send to you prophets, wise men, and scribes. Some of them you will kill and crucify; and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city; 35 that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zachariah son of Barachiah, whom you killed between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 Most certainly I tell you, all these things will come upon this generation.

Section 137b | Jesus’ Sorrow over Jerusalem

Jerusalem, in the temple
Matthew 23:37-39
37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets, and stones those who are sent to her! How often I would have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you would not! 38 Behold, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me from now on, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ”

Section 138 | A Poor Widow’s Gift of All She Had

Jerusalem, in the temple
[one_half last=”no” class=”” id=””]Mark 12:41-44
41 Jesus sat down opposite the treasury, and saw how the multitude cast money16 into the treasury. Many who were rich cast in much. 42 A poor widow came,17 and she cast in two small brass coins, which equal a quadrans coin. 43 He called his disciples to himself, and said to them, “Most certainly I tell you, this poor widow gave more than all those who are giving into the treasury, 44 for they all gave out of their abundance, but she, out of her poverty, gave all that she had to live on.”[/one_half]
[one_half last=”yes” class=”” id=””]Luke 21:1-4
He looked up and saw the rich people who were putting their gifts into the treasury. He saw a certain poor widow casting in two small brass coins.

3 He said,“Truly I tell you, this poor widow put in more than all of them, for all these put in gifts for God from their abundance, but she, out of her poverty, put in all that she had to live on.”[/one_half]

Group Dialogue:

  1. Identify the seven woes and compare with the activity, devotion and readiness of Ezra (Neh 8:1-8) which happened fewer than 500 years before.
  2. What is it within religious members and leaders that breeds insipid religion? (Jer 5:31)
  3. How have liberalism and conservatism both obscured the path to heaven in recent times? What then is the solution?
  4. Are there people in your life and circle of friends, family, coworkers and acquaintances who are searching for answers in life, freedom from addictions, mercy and forgiveness, and confidence that they will be comforted in the afterlife? How might you as a disciple help them find peace, power, and an abundant life in Christ?
  5. How has your own life been transformed by the Gospel and your soul empowered to demonstrate: justice, mercy, and faith? How have you see this lived out over the past month?
  6. The Scriptures encourage us to care for the widow, the poor, the fatherless and the stranger. In what ways have you or your church, or small group aimed to do justice and show mercy to these?
  7. How we give, the attitude and thoughts we have are an indicator of our true values, love, beliefs and priorities. What have you learned about yourself  in your giving, saving, and spending?

Study Notes:

5d Five Uncategorized

We Want To See Jesus

Today we will be studying part 2 of 2 on Holy Monday, the events of which are only found in John’s Gospel account. The lesson is of utmost importance, and especially to people on the fence, those who have not fully engaged with the Gospel message, or allowed their lives to be transformed by a Gospel-centered world view.

Holy Week Mini-Series Podcast:

60 min Podcast: Coming soon

Section 130a | The Request of some Greeks to see Jesus

John 12:20-36a
20 Now1 there were certain Greeks2 among those that went up to worship at the feast.3 21 These, therefore, came to Philip,4 who was from Bethsaida of Galilee,5 and asked him, saying, “Sir, we want to see Jesus.”6  22 Philip came and told Andrew,7 and in turn, Andrew came with Philip, and they told Jesus. 23 Jesus answered8 them, “The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Most certainly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat9 falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit.10 25 He who loves his life will lose it.11 He who hates his life12 in this world will keep it to eternal life. 26  If anyone serves me, let him follow me. Where I am, there my servant will also be. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.13   27 “Now my soul is troubled. What shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this time?’ But I came to this time for this cause.14  28 Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came out of the sky, saying, “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.”15  29 Therefore the multitude who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.”16  30 Jesus answered, “This voice hasn’t come for my sake, but for your sakes.17  31 Now is the judgment of this world.18 Now the prince of this world will be cast out.19 32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”20 33 But he said this, signifying by what kind of death he should die. 34 The multitude answered him, “We have heard out of the law that the Christ remains forever. 21How do you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up?’ Who is this Son of Man?” 35 Jesus therefore said to them, “Yet a little while the light is with you.22 Walk while you have the light, that darkness doesn’t overtake you. He who walks in the darkness doesn’t know where he is going. 36a While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become children of light.”

Section 130b | Different Responses to Jesus and His response to the Crowds

John 12:36b-50
36b Jesus said these things, and he departed and hid himself from them. 37 But though he had done so many signs before them, yet they didn’t believe in him, 38 that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke,“Lord, who has believed our report? To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” 39 For this cause they couldn’t believe, for Isaiah said again, 40 “He has blinded their eyes and he hardened their heart, lest they should see with their eyes, and perceive with their heart, and would turn, and I would heal them.” 41 Isaiah said these things when he saw his glory, and spoke of him. 42 Nevertheless even many of the rulers believed in him, but because of the Pharisees they didn’t confess it, so that they wouldn’t be put out of the synagogue, 43 for they loved men’s praise more than God’s praise. 44 Jesus cried out and said,“Whoever believes in me, believes not in me, but in him who sent me. 45 He who sees me sees him who sent me. 46 I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in the darkness. 47 If anyone listens to my sayings, and doesn’t believe, I don’t judge him. For I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 He who rejects me, and doesn’t receive my sayings, has one who judges him. The word that I spoke will judge him in the last day. 49 For I spoke not from myself, but the Father who sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. 50 I know that his commandment is eternal life. The things therefore which I speak, even as the Father has said to me, so I speak.”

Group Dialog:

  1. As in the Sorites paradox you must admit the presence of a heap sooner or later, so when do you truly become a follower of Christ?
  2. What is it that you value most in life? What would utterly change the meaning of your life if you possessed it?
  3. Failing to practice self denial can cost you plenty: your legacy, as well your own well being and that of others.  What ways have you denied yourself pleasures and gained a greater blessing or spared yourself and other pain, and death?
  4. Having eternal life (salvation through faith) is not the end all goal – It is a new beginning. How does one continue to grow spiritually and gain life that is more abundant (John 10:10)? What godly work began after you became a disciple? What else had to transpire before you were prepared for that service?


We would see Jesus Author: Anna Bartlett Warner (1852); Tune: “Consolation” (Mendelssohn)
(verses 1,2 used in our closing prayer)  


5d Five

The Fig Tree and the Temple

The fig tree – It was one of the most important and recognized trees in Israel. It was a staple food and stories of its value and peril have been woven into Scripture since the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:7). In today’s study we will tackle the morning events on Holy Monday including: a fruitless fig tree and the second cleansing of the temple.

Mini-Series Podcast (map):
(15 min podcast)

Podcast: Coming soon

Section 129a | Cursing of a Fig Tree

From Bethany to Jerusalem
[one_half last=”no” class=”” id=””]Matthew 21:18-19a
18 Now in the morning, as he returned to the city,1 he was hungry. 19 Seeing a fig tree2 by the road, he came to it, and found nothing on it but leaves. He said to it, “Let there be no fruit from you forever!”3 [/one_half]
[one_half last=”yes” class=”” id=””]Mark 11:12-14
12 The next day, when they had come out from Bethany, he was hungry.4 13 Seeing a fig tree5 afar off having leaves, he came to see if perhaps he might find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.6 14 Jesus told it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” and his disciples heard it.7[/one_half]

Section 129b | Second Cleansing of the Temple

Jerusalem, in the temple
[one_third last=”no” class=”” id=””]Matthew 21:12-13
12 Jesus entered into the temple of God, and drove out8 all of those who sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the money changers’ tables and the seats of those who sold the doves.



13 He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers!” [/one_third]
[one_third last=”no” class=”” id=””]Mark 11:15-18
15 They came to Jerusalem,11 and began to throw out those who sold and those who bought in the temple,12 and overthrew the money changers’ tables,13 and the seats of those who sold the doves. 16 He would not allow anyone to carry a container through the temple. 17 He taught, saying to them, “Isn’t it written,14 ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all the nations?’ But you have made it a den of robbers!”

18 The chief priests and the scribes heard it, and sought how they might destroy him. For they feared him,15 because all the multitude was astonished at his teaching.[/one_third]
[one_third last=”yes” class=”” id=””]Luke 19:45-48
45 He entered into the temple, and began to drive out those who bought and sold in it,




46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house is a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of robbers’!” 47 He was teaching daily in the temple,16 but the chief priests, the scribes, and the leading men among the people sought to destroy him. 48 They couldn’t find what they might do, for all the people hung on to every word that he said.[/one_third]

Group Dialog:

  1. What is “righteous” anger, and how should it be expressed without causing injury to others or a sinful act on my own accord – in deed or thought?
  2. Am I standing in the way of someone else coming to God as did the money changers and vendors? How might I better clear the way for people to get closer to God and worship Him?
  3. In what ways is my life not fruitful? What can be pruned or cultivated to make it so?
  4. John 1:14 says that God in Christ “tabernacled” among us; and both Paul and Peter call the true church “a living temple” in which individual believers are “living stones” and Christ Himself is the “chief cornerstone.” Seeing how Christ cleansed the temple (twice), in what ways might you need to cleanse your life and put it to proper use for the purposes of God?


5d Five

Arrival at Bethany and Into Jerusalem

As we begin the final phase of our study your group members should be developing as mature ministry leaders. In this phase, we recommend that you intentionally meet with each individual in your group to, convey your confidence in them, revisit certain lessons and principles, and (if you haven’t already) ensure that each is active in a ministry which reflects their unique strengths and gifts.

Our study today tackles the events on Palm Sunday found in Sections 128a,b.

You might like to revisit and share again the Holy Week Mini Series and handout for Palm Sunday. We’d also suggest that you generate a PDF and print out the Index for Phase 5d and encourage them to read the entire passion each month (or week) as you continue your weekly study.

Podcast: Coming Soon

Holy Week Mini Series Podcast:

Section 128a | Arrival at Bethany

Bathany, near Jerusalem
John 11:55-57; 12:1, 9-11
55 Now1 the Passover2 of the Jews was at hand3 . Many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover, to purify themselves.4  56 Then they5 sought for Jesus and spoke one with another, as they stood in the temple, “What do you think—that he isn’t coming to the feast at all?” 57 Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had commanded that if anyone knew where he was, he should report it, that they might seize him. 

Then six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany,6 where Lazarus was, who had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.7 A large crowd therefore of the Jews learned that he was there, and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 But the chief priests conspired to put Lazarus to death also,8  11 because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.

Section 128b | Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem

From Bethany to Jerusalem and back again
[one_fourth last=”no” class=”” id=””]Matthew 21:1-3,6-9,4-5.10-11,14-17
When they9 came near to Jerusalem, and came to Bethsphage, to the Mount of Olives,10 then Jesus sent two disciples,11 saying to them, “Go into the village12that is opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey13 tied, and a colt with her. Untie them, and bring them to me.

If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and immediately he will send them.” 

The disciples went, and did just as Jesus commanded them,14  



and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid their clothes on them; and he sat on them.15 8 A very great multitude spread their clothes on the road. Others cut branches from the trees, and spread them on the road. The multitudes who went in front of him, and those who followed, kept shouting, “Hosanna to the son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through the prophet, saying, “Tell the daughter of Zion, behold, your King comes to you,humble, and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”16




















10 When he had come into Jerusalem, all the city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?”17 11 The multitudes said, “This is the prophet, Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.” 14 The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them.18 15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children who were crying in the temple and saying, “Hosanna to the son of David!” they were indignant, 16 and said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” Jesus said to them,“Yes. Did you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing babies you have perfected praise?’ ”19 17 He left them, and went out of the city to Bethany, and camped there.[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth last=”no” class=”” id=””]Mark 11:1-11
When they came near to Jerusalem, to Bethsphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, and said to them, “Go your way into the village that is opposite you. Immediately as you enter into it, you will find a young donkey tied, on which no one has sat. Untie him, and bring him. 3 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs him;’ and immediately he will send him back here.” 4 They went away, and found a young donkey tied at the door outside in the open street, and they untied him. Some of those who stood there asked them, “What are you doing, untying the young donkey?” They said to them just as Jesus had said, and they let them go. They brought the young donkey to Jesus, and threw their garments on it, and Jesus sat on it. Many spread their garments on the way, and others were cutting down branches from the trees, and spreading them on the road. Those who went in front, and those who followed, cried out, “Hosanna!Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” 

























11 Jesus entered into the temple in Jerusalem.




When he had looked around at everything, it being now evening, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth last=”no” class=”” id=””]Luke 19:29-44
29 When he came near to Bethsphageand Bethany, at the mountain that is called Olivet, he sent two of his disciples, 30 saying, “Go your way into the village on the other side, in which, as you enter, you will find a colt tied, which no man had ever sat upon. Untie it and bring it.

31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say to him: ‘The Lord needs it.’ ”

32 Those who were sent went away, and found things just as he had told them.

33 As they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 They said, “The Lord needs it.” 

35 Then they brought it to Jesus. They threw their cloaks on the colt, and sat Jesus on them.

36 As he went, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was now getting near, at the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works which they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest!”












39 Some of the Pharisees from the multitude said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” 40 He answered them, “I tell you that if these were silent, the stones would cry out.”20 41 When he came near, he saw the city and wept over it,21 42 saying, “If you, even you, had known today the things which belong to your peace! But now, they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come on you, when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, surround you, hem you in on every side, 44 and will dash you and your children within you to the ground. They will not leave in you one stone on another,22 because you didn’t know the time of your visitation.”[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth last=”yes” class=”” id=””]John 12:12-19
12 On the next day a great multitude had come to the feast. When they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,













13 they took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet him, and cried out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel!” 14 Jesus, having found a young donkey, sat on it. As it is written, 15 “Don’t be afraid, daughter of Zion. Behold, your King comes, sitting on a donkey’s colt.” 





16 His disciples didn’t understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified,23 then they remembered that these things were written about him, and that they had done these things to him. 17 The multitude therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead was testifying about it. 18 For this cause also the multitude went and met him, because they heard that he had done this sign. 19 The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, “See how you accomplish nothing. Behold, the world has gone after him.”[/one_fourth]

Group Dialog:

  1. What is your impression of the events in today’s Bible story? What are your church memories of Palm Sunday? What might you have been doing and feeling if you were present?
  2. What is it to trust in the Lordship of Jesus? More than to obey, what does it mean for Jesus to be the Lord of your life?
  3. Given the nature of Jesus, what is his authority? What authority has he given us?
  4. Have you ever had the experience of God telling you to do something and when you did things worked out just he way he promised, or just as important as it seemed?
  5. What does it mean to “glorify Christ”? How do you do that?
  6. How is Jesus’ nature, character and destiny exhibited throughout the events on Palm Sunday?

Study Notes: