Sunday, February 12, 2012

Jesus vs the Pharisees & Sadducees

Lesson: Jesus our Wisdom

1. Story:
  • Tell the account of Jesus’ encounter with the Pharisees and Sadducees based on Luke 20:20-39
  • Last week, we talked about the Parable of the Tenants — how the religious leaders tried to challenge Jesus’ authority but failed.
  • So they tried to trap Jesus by sending spies to ask him trick questions. They hoped to get Jesus to say something wrong, so that they could get him arrested.
  • There were two groups of religious leaders — the Pharisees and the Sadducees.
    • The Pharisees: a group of Jews who pride themselves in being set apart from the other Jews because of their strict adherence to Jewish laws and rituals
    • The Sadducees (e.g. “sad-you-see”): they were Jewish religious leaders from wealthy families because they worked with the Roman government. They did not believe that people could be raised from the dead or that angels existed.

  • The Pharisees went first.
    • The question: The Pharisees asked Jesus whether the Jews should support the Roman government with taxes (giving the Romans part of their income) e.g. your mummy and daddy have to give the government part of their salary ever y year so that the government has money to spend.
    • The trick: If Jesus said they should, the people would be angry for they hated the Romans and expected their Messiah to defeat Rome. If Jesus said they shouldn't, the Pharisees could turn him in to the Romans for rebellion.
    • Jesus’ answer: Jesus asked for a coin and asked whose face was on it. It was Caesar — the Roman governor. Then Jesus said, “Give to Caesar's what is [already] his, and give to God what is [already] his." Jesus described a difference between what was God's and what was man's. God wanted the heart of his people, which they would not give. Caesar's wanted their money, which they didn’t like. Jesus said there was no conflict. Besides, it is all God's to begin with.
      • Illustration: Show a dollar note. Ask the kids whose face appears on it. (On the Ringgit Malaysia, the first Prime Minister's face is on the note) Tell them that the face that appears on the money represents the authority and ownership of the money, ie the government. So the money belongs to the government. 
      • Likewise, whose face appears on us? Refer to Gen 1:26-27. God's face, because we are made in His image. Hence who do we belong to? God!
    • The response: The Pharisees failed. They were astonished by Jesus’ wise answer and became silent.

  • The Sadducees went next.
    • The question: When a man dies without any children, his brother must marry his widow and raise children for him. If there were seven brothers, and the first brother died, the second brother had to marry his wife. If the second brother died, the third had to marry the wife. And so on … until all seven brothers had died, and in the end, the wife also died. When they are resurrected (if there’s really such a thing as a resurrection … which the Sadducees didn’t believe in), then whose wife would the woman be?
    • The trick: They thought this question proved there was no life after death. They were attempting to make Jesus look uneducated.
    • Jesus’ answer: Life after death is not like life here — there is no marriage. When we are resurrection, we’ll be like the angels and live as God’s children. Jesus also challenged the Sadducees denial of the resurrection — God said he is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, not was their God. He’s not the God of the dead but of the living.
    • The response: The teachers of the law were impressed again. “Well said, teacher!” And no one dared to ask him any more questions.
  • The conclusion:
    • Despite their best efforts, the religious leaders could not trick Jesus because He was wise. He didn’t get into unnecessary arguments and debates but was able to explain things in a way that no one could argue with Him.
    • When we accept Jesus, we are in Him and He is our wisdom! We would be able to answer people as well as Jesus did. And when we don’t know what to do, remember that Jesus’ wisdom will help us in every situation.
    • Memory verse: 1 Cor 1: 30 But God has united you with Christ, and God has made Christ to be our wisdom. 
4. Activity Suggestion
  • Memory Verse Review: Use an activity or game to help the kids remember the Memory Verse
  • Sharing & Prayer: Share an occasion or incident when you didn’t know what to do. Did you ask Jesus, your wisdom, for help? Would you ask Him to give you wisdom next time?

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