Family Bible Study:
‘“How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You pretenders! You build tombs for the prophets. You decorate the graves of the godly. And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of those who lived before us, we wouldn’t have done what they did. We wouldn’t have helped to kill the prophets.’ So you are witnesses against yourselves. You admit that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets. So go ahead and finish the sins that those who lived before you started! “You nest of poisonous snakes! How will you escape from being sentenced to hell? So I am sending you prophets, wise people, and teachers. You will kill some of them. You will nail some to a cross. Others you will whip in your synagogues. You will chase them from town to town. So you will pay for all the godly people’s blood spilled on earth. I mean from the blood of godly Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berekiah. Zechariah was the one you murdered between the temple and the altar. What I’m about to tell you is true. All this will happen to those who are now living. “Jerusalem! Jerusalem! You kill the prophets and throw stones in order to kill those who are sent to you. Many times I have wanted to gather your people together. I have wanted to be like a hen who gathers her chicks under her wings. And you would not let me! Look, your house is left empty. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ” (Psalm 118:26)’ Matthew 23:29-39
  • Let’s play a quick game.  How many of your ancestors (family members that came before you) can you list?
  • In what we are about to read – Jesus is going to remind the teachers of the law and the Pharisees about their ancestors and how they aren’t much different from them. Let’s read.
  • Have someone read the passage.
  • Why do you think Jesus is being so harsh on the Pharisees and teachers of the law?  (PARENTS NOTE:  Jesus knows that in just a little bit these same Pharisees are going to kill Him.  He is predicting their future actions and telling them they are no better than their ancestors even though they claim to want to be better.)
  • Jesus calls them a “nest of poisonous snakes,” when you think about the bible, can you remember any other story that includes a snake?  (PARENTS NOTE:  the story of the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve is marked by the serpent that tempts Adam and Eve to sin.  The serpent is the devil.  Jesus is basically calling them Satan.)
  • Jesus sounds almost mean in this section, how is it ok for Him to talk like this to these people?  ((PARENTS NOTE:  Jesus speaks truth to these people and sometimes truth is hard.  He was not saying this to try and hurt them, as a matter of fact, what He says at the end shows that His hope would be for them to turn to Him and gather them like chicks under His wings.  Jesus’ true heart is for them to not be like this, living as pretenders – so He confronts them.)
  • Why don’t think the people of Jerusalem would let Jesus/God truly care for them like a hen cares for her chicks?  Jesus said towards they end that they would not let Him?
  • What does Jesus mean when He says, “you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord?’”  (PARENTS NOTE:  Jesus is again predicting His death and resurrection in a way that they won’t really understand, but we can understand from the other side of that event.  Jesus is going to go away and then when He comes it will be a true blessing!)
  • SAY:  This is the end of Jesus’ hard sayings for the religious leaders.  We’ve been studying them for several days now.  In all of this, Jesus is saying He wants people who will really follow Him with all their heart, not just people who will obey the rules but have hearts that are far from Him.  Let’s take some time today to pray that God will help us be the kind of people who have hearts for Him.  I’m going to have you each pray for someone else in our family, we will all go around and pray.  (PARENTS NOTE:  assign who each person is praying for and then have a time of prayer)
  • Pray for each other that your hearts will be like Jesus’ and that you will focus on being His child every day of your life.