Small Group Questions Week 52

The Gospel of Matthew

Week 52 – The Messiah is Pressed

Transition: Last week we got back on track with our study through the gospel of Matthew (after taking four weeks off to focus on Advent). In the passage, Matthew makes sure that his readers are aware that a number of prophetic Scriptures are clear that the Messiah is the ultimate king of Israel...and, that Jesus IS the Messiah.

Context: This week we are covering a significant amount of biblical text that is all tied together by one theme—authority. Since these are Jesus’ last days before going to the cross, we should not be surprised that the religious leaders (who have been opposing Him) step up their pressure against Him. The pressure He faces will continue to increase throughout the week with it reaching its peak when He pays for our sin while on the cross.

Opening Questions:

• Have you ever confronted someone who had authority over you? If so, describe the situation and how it

turned out. Have you ever been the one in authority and had your authority challenged? If so, describe the

situation and how you felt about it. In either case, what did you learn from it?

• For you, what qualities are necessary for a healthy environment where you gladly and willingly follow the

leadership of someone who has real authority over you?

Scripture/Storying: Matthew 21:12-46

Discipleship Questions:

• Why do you think Jesus cleansed the temple (v12-17)? In what ways does it reveal His authority? Since the

NT collectively and individually refers to Christians as a temple, what do you think Jesus would cleanse


• What were the different reactions to Jesus’ cleansing of the temple? In what ways have you personally

witnessed people react in divergent ways to something that Jesus has done?

• In the story of Jesus cursing a fig tree (v18-22), what is your understanding of why Jesus was upset (since it

wasn’t actually the season for fig trees to bear fruit—Mark 11:12-14)?

• The disciples are more amazed by Jesus’ ability to cause a fig tree to die immediately than they are about

finding out the deeper meaning for why He cursed it in the first place (beyond His being hungry).

Nonetheless, Jesus met them where they were at spiritually. What do you learn about faith from His

response? In what ways can you apply what Jesus taught His disciples to your own life?

• While Jesus is teaching in the temple, His authority to do so is questioned by the chief priests and elders

(v23-27). Jesus does not answer their question directly, but challenges them right back with a question of His

own that shuts them down. What is your response to how He handles it? In what situations might you use

this same tactic?

• The passage ends with Jesus telling two parables in succession (v28-46). Consider them through the lens of authority. What do you learn about God’s/Jesus’ authority from each one? What are the consequences for


• As you reflect on today’s Bible text, what is God revealing to you about what He wants you to do with what

you’ve learned?

Prayer time: Pray that we will gladly and willingly surrender our heart, mind, and will to Jesus.