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Sabbath School Lessons on Matthew
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 41 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 12: Jesus' Last Days *
Introduction: Our study of Matthew this week pictures two betrayers
and one woman fully devoted to Jesus. What does it mean, really, to
betray Jesus? What does it mean to be fully devoted to Jesus? Why is
the outcome so much different for one betrayer than for the other?
Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and learn more!
- The Plotters and the Woman
- Read Matthew 26:1-2. This is obviously very discouraging
news. Why share it with the disciples? (Jesus wanted them
to be warned (again).)
- What does that suggest about significant last-day
events? (Jesus will warn us about important and
- Read Matthew 26:3-7. We have two opposing pictures. One of
a group that is plotting to kill Jesus and another of a
woman who is making a great sacrifice for Jesus. Given
Jesus understanding of His soon-coming death, how do you
think He felt about the woman? (This is this bright star
in an otherwise dark situation. I would be so grateful to
- Read Matthew 26:8-9. How do you explain the disciple's
reaction? They have been told that Jesus is about to die,
should they not join in doing something special for Him?
(I think the disciples resisted believing what Jesus told
them. They did not want to believe that He would die.)
- How would you react if you were this woman and you
heard this criticism? You have sacrificed to buy this
perfume, and now the disciples are criticizing you
- There is an assumption in this text I want you to
notice. The disciples did not say she should have
given money to the poor instead of buying perfume,
they say she could have sold the perfume. What does
this tell us about how this woman obtained the
perfume? (It was a gift. Evidently, it was not
something she could afford.)
- Read Matthew 26:10-13. This was a gift, someone intended
the woman to use it. Instead, she chose one self-sacrificing use for it instead of the self-sacrificing use
suggested by the disciples. Should the disciples have the
right to tell her which self-sacrificing expenditure she
must make? (They don't have the right advice. Jesus says
that what she has done will be talked about throughout
- Are there opportunities around you to lift the
spirits of those who are discouraged with some
- Will they also talk throughout the world about the
disciples criticizing this self-sacrificing woman?
- What is the difference between the attitude of the
woman and the disciples? (She was fully devoted to
Jesus. The disciples were devoted to making their own
judgment about the best use of her perfume.)
- Read Matthew 26:14-16. Was Judas one who criticized the
- Why do you think Judas betrayed Jesus? Had he now
decided to hate Jesus? (I have two theories. First,
that he did not believe that Jesus could be killed -
and that He might as well collect money as a reward
for forcing Jesus to declare Himself King. Second,
that Jesus was serious about dying, in which case he
deserved the money for his wasted time in hanging
around for three years. In either event, he trusted
himself and not Jesus.)
- Read Matthew 18:7. Is this a description of Judas'
- Read Matthew 26:17-22. The disciples assumed the betrayal
was not already taking place. Why? (Because all except
Judas had not betrayed Him.)
- We've discussed my views about Judas' plot. What were
the other disciples thinking - had it crossed their
mind that they could make a little money on this
unfortunate turn of events? (They were just sad about
it, and worried that they might be unreliable.)
- Why did Jesus disclose that He would be betrayed? Do
you think He wanted to make Judas feel guilty, or did
He want him to abandon his plan, or did Jesus have
something else in mind?
- Read Matthew 26:23-25. This is a very serious event in the
mind of the disciples. Do you think they understood that
Judas was betraying Jesus?
- If so, why didn't they attack Judas? Why not threaten
him so he would not do it? Why not restrain him so
that he could not betray Jesus?
- When Judas said, "Surely not I, Rabbi," what does
that tell us about his willingness to abandon his
plan? (Judas had made his decision. He now lied to
cover it up.)
- Last Supper
- Read Matthew 26:26-30. Put yourself in the place of the
disciples. Would you have any idea what Jesus was talking
about? He first says He is about to be killed, and now He
is talking about symbolically eating His body and drinking
- Consider what we have studied so far. The disciples think
they have better judgment than the woman. Judas thinks he
has better judgment than Jesus. What point is Matthew
making by putting this account of the Last Supper here?
- Read Matthew 26:31-35. Do you think that Peter is telling
the truth? (Read John 18:10-11. In John's account of
Jesus' arrest, Peter draws his sword, he is willing to die
for Jesus. He is telling the truth.)
- How is Peter different than Judas? (Peter is not
acting to benefit himself.)
- Let's skip down after Jesus' arrest. Read Matthew 26:57-58. Is Peter still showing great courage?
- Read Matthew 26:69-75. Yesterday, I read some good
intentioned person sharing about how we need to work hard
against sin, that we were facing Satan, and we better be
up for the fight (Jesus helping us, of course). What is
Peter's failure? What character defect does he display?
What flaw in his personality is the great problem? (Peter
was fully on-board with Jesus. He was willing to fight and
die. But, he was confused about Jesus not fighting and
Jesus talking about eating His body and drinking His
blood. Peter did not know what to think.)
- What, then, should Peter have done? (Simply trusted
- Let's go back over our study. In the dispute between the
disciples and the woman over the best use of the perfume,
who was trusting Jesus and who was trusting in their own
judgment? (The disciples were trusting their own
- In the account of Judas betrayal, who is Judas trusting?
(Himself. He thinks he knows more than Jesus.)
- In the record of the Last Supper, what is Jesus' point
about eating His body and drinking His blood? (Salvation
comes only through Jesus. He is the sacrificial Lamb of
the sanctuary service. He is the only path to salvation.)
- Peter does not think he is smarter than Jesus. Although he
was willing to die, somehow he made a mess of things and
betrayed Jesus. Tell me what Peter should have done to
avoid this outcome? (Re-read Matthew 26:31-33. Peter
should have put away his pride and asked Jesus, "How can I
avoid doing that? Tell me what I need to do to fully
support You rather than betray You.")
- Friend, I don't think it is good advice to put up your
fists and fight Satan. I don't think it is good advice to
focus on hunting down and eliminating every sin in your
life. The focus of your life must be to trust God, even
when all of the world seems out of control. You can start
that right now by asking the Holy Spirit, every day, to
guide your every decision and your every thought so that
you will make it a habit to trust God.
- Next week: Crucified and Risen.
* Copr. 2016, 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.