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Sabbath School Lessons on The Wonder of Jesus
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About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 37 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 9: The Tenderness of His Love *
Introduction: When I first started driving a car, I was concerned
about how to stay in my own lane. This was important because 99% of
the roads in my area only had two lanes. People in the adjacent lane
would be driving towards me at a high rate of speed! I came up with
the theoretical idea that I should line up the hood ornament with the
dividing line on the road. (This can only work from the passenger-side seat or the back seat - which is no doubt where I was when
working out this great theory.) Any experienced driver knows this is
foolishness. Experienced drivers automatically "know" when they are
in their own lane. Driving is like the Christian life, except a whole
lot of people seem to be off in the weeds or at least on the wrong
side of the road. One area in which people seem to get "off in the
weeds" has to do with Jesus' love. It seems they have one of two
extremes. Either they cannot trust Him to love them, or they know
Jesus so little that they are shocked to hear that He is also the
Judge in a final judgment in which the penalty is eternal death. This
week we look at Jesus' attitude of love. Let's see if we can get the
feel for the right side of the road!
- Feeding the Healed
- Read Matthew 15:29-30. Have you heard the phrase "time on
task?" What does it mean? (It means the time you spend
accomplishing your work, as opposed to the time you spend
on matters which distract you from your work.)
- What was Jesus' primary task during His three years
of ministry on earth? (Showing that He was the
Messiah and explaining how He fulfilled the plan of
salvation had to be a big part of it.)
- Do you think healing the people who keep coming was
"on task" work for Jesus?
- Read Matthew 15:31. What lesson did the people learn from
this? (The text says that they praised "the God of
- Do you think they were calling Jesus "the God of
Israel?" (I don't think they were making that
explicit connection. Assuming they were not, praising
God is a good thing, but it does not seem to be
directly "on task" work. The healing showed that
Jesus had special power, or access to special power,
but it did not explain His special mission.)
- If the time available is short, and this is not
directly "on task" work for Jesus, why did He do it?
- Read Matthew 15:32. What insight does this give us into
Jesus' motive for the healing? (He healed them because He
cared about them. See Matthew 14:14. They could take care
of the simple task of feeding themselves. Jesus not only
has the compassion to heal their diseases and infirmities,
He is concerned about them going hungry.)
- How do you explain people going hungry today? Did
Jesus stop having compassion after He returned to
heaven? (Notice that Jesus did not heal everyone on
earth. He did not feed everyone on earth. He healed
and feed those who came to Him in faith.)
- Why did Jesus share His concern with His disciples?
What were they supposed to do about it?
- Read Matthew 15:33-34. What is the obvious answer to the
disciples' question? (Jesus had been giving sight to the
blind, would it be more difficult to make bread? Worse, if
you look at Matthew 14:14-21 you will see that Jesus had
recently fed the 5,000 in a very similar way. The
disciples knew Jesus had the power to make food for these
- Consider what is going on. If the disciples showed
proper faith in Jesus they would have turned to Him
to feed the people. But, Jesus starts them off on
the wrong path by turning to them for a solution and
then even discussing the number of loaves of bread
available. Why does Jesus seem to lead His disciples
- Do you think He ever does this to you?
(Realizing that they could not do it themselves
made the disciples more clearly understand the
power of God. Sometimes we just have to flounder
to get a full view of God's love and power.)
- Read Matthew 15:35-38. Did the disciples have a role in
- What lesson do you find in this for your life? (We
need to rely on Jesus as the loving miracle-worker,
but He has a role for us. Our role is to believe in
Him and to work with Him in showing compassion to
- Care For Children
- Read Matthew 18:1-3. Does this mean the disciples asked
the wrong question? (They ask who leads in heaven. Jesus
responds by saying "Let's talk first about how you get
- Let's look at this a minute. We have all sorts of
formulations about being saved. Matthew 24:13 tells
us to "stand firm to the end" and we will be saved.
Luke 13:23-24 tells us those who enter the "narrow
door" will be saved. John 10:9 tells us that if we
enter through the Jesus' "gate" we will be saved.
Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13 tell us that if we call on
the name of the Lord we will be saved. Now we are
told that we must become like little children to be
saved. What is Jesus talking about here?
- Do you see a consistent thread of logic in these
texts about salvation?
- Read Matthew 18:4. What is your experience with little
children - here a child old enough to walk, talk and be
standing around? Don't you find them to be immature and
selfish? (Any parent realizes that children have serious
character flaws that are directly related to a lack of
maturity. Surely, Jesus is not talking about that.
Instead, when He speaks about being "humble," He is
talking about dependency. From Matthew 15 (our last story)
through this story we see Jesus teaching reliance on God.
The question "Who is greatest" means "Who will rule?"
Jesus says "forget ruling," instead develop dependence on
Me. Working on humility means to work on being dependent
on God, not working on ruling over others.)
- What has this to do with the topic of Jesus'
love? (We might love others more if we were less
concerned about ruling over them.)
- Let's read on. Read Matthew 18:5-6. What comes with
dependence? (For children, dependence means they are
easily led or influenced. If you are teaching children,
your obligation is very great. As an adult, make sure you
are led and dependent on God.)
- Read Matthew 18:7. What does this say about Hugh Hefner?
What does this say about drug-dealers who sell around
playgrounds? What does this say about you passing your bad
habits on to your children? (We cannot say "Everyone is
doing it." We cannot say, "If I don't supply this need,
someone else will." Every one of us must carefully look at
our influence and ask "Am I causing others to sin?" Is my
influence positive or negative?)
- Loving Pagans
- Read Matthew 5:43-44. How many enemies do you have? (If
you have more than just a few, you need to examine your
- Can you find a parallel between exercise and loving
your enemies? (Consider the opportunity for character
building by loving and praying for your enemies. You
get bigger muscles when you strain, when you work at
it. You get bigger character "muscles" when you have
to work at it.)
- Read Matthew 5:45-47. How is "love" to our enemies defined
in these verses? Is it "hug" love? (Jesus' example is
even-handed treatment of those who are God's "enemies."
If you would do something for your friend, do it for your
- Read Matthew 5:48. Why should we be better than pagans
when it comes to our enemies? (Because we have a higher
standard. Perfection is our goal. It is not to gain
salvation, but because we are sons and daughters of God!)
- Friend, picture your worst enemy. What will you do today,
this coming week, for that person to show you are a son or
daughter of God?
- Next week: The Meaning of His Death.
* Copr. 2008, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.