NBC Sunday School Manual For September 3, 2023 :Topic – JESUS EATS WITH A PHARISEE
SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON (NBC)*
Sunday, September 3, 2023
JESUS EATS WITH A PHARISEE
Devotional Reading: 1 Samuel 15:19-23
Background/Lesson Scripture: Luke 11:37-44
Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.” Luke 11:39
Objectives: By the end of the lesson, dass members should be able to:
I. List the various behaviours Jesus observed in the Pharisees and suggest how they can be corrected in our days.
II. Discuss Jesus’ expectation from the Pharisees according to the lesson.
III. Resolve to improve on both inward and outward actions so as to show God’s love to others.
There are different people with different attitudes and behaviours in any organisation, including
the church. There are those who labour and constantly make sacrifices to support the ministry of the or as well as those who are indifferent and those who constantly complain and make omparisons. There are also some groups and ndividuals who are antagonistic. Such people do not see anything good in the leadership of the church or the organisation they belong; they are aggressive and fault finders. Even in the days of Jesus there were different sects of people like the Pharisees, the Scribes and the teachers of the law. The Pharisees were the fost numerous and influential sect in Jesus’ time and they constantly opposed Him. They were strict legalists, rigid observance of the law and traditions of ceremonial washing of the hands before eating. They were also known for their covetousness, self righteousness and hypocritical lifestyle. They
were concerned with the washing of hands when their problem was actually a polluted can clean. Jesus’ teaching on true religion brought Him into conflict with them. For them tradition’ (the oral teaching of the rabbis which supplemented and interpreted Scripture) was binding on everyone. However, Jesus never hesitated to denounce tradition whenever it undermined scriptural principles. Jesus’ teaching centred on the fact that it is not clean hands that matter but clean hearts.
Today’s lesson focuses on a Pharisees who invited Jesus to eat with him in his home, and Jesus’ acceptance. However, the fact that Jesus did not follow some of the Pharisee’s practices made the Pharisee criticised Him. Contrary to their practice, Jesus insists that a heartfelt commitment to justice and love should characterise true faith rather than mere outward adherence to the law.
THE LESSON EXPLAINED
A. A Pharisee’s Invitation to Jesus. Luke 11:37-41
Inviting people for meal time is common among the Africans as it was in the days of Jesus. It is a way of identifying with such people and also an expression of love, friendliness, and cordial relationship. Jesus had just finished teaching about physical light, when a Pharisee invited Him to eat with him in his home. Though no reason was given for the invitation, but it is most likely a sign of the Pharisee’s interest and approval of the teachings of Jesus he had listened to. The man therefore, expected that Jesus, being a devout religious Jew, would diligently conform to the Jewish accepted practice of the law by washing His hands before He begins to eat. However, as soon as Jesus entered the house, He sat at the table. Soon, the Pharisee noticed that Jesus did not wash His hands before He started to eat. Jesus, knowing what the Pharisee was thinking, replied, “Now, then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not know the One who made the outside make the inside also” (vv. 39-40). Jesus’ response to him shows that the Pharisees were more concerned about keeping ceremonial laws to pleasing God. In other words, if they could be thought about cleansing their hearts rather than washing their hands, they would have been better people who truly obey the law. It should be noted that the washing of hands was not a matter of hygiene but a mere performance of a religious ritual which was upheld strictly by the Pharisees (Mark 7:3). Therefore, before eating, every devout Jew must wash their hands from the wrist to the fist and to the tips of the fingers to ensure that every contamination was removed. Failure to accomplish any of these processes before eating was equivalent to committing sin. In verse 41, Jesus encouraged generous giving. He expected the Pharisees to give to the poor among them. The lesson is a reminder that believers in Christ should be more concerned about alleviating the suffering of people around them rather than holding strictly to some traditions that are not the
yardstick for pleasing God.
1. Identify some superficial practices that are common with Christians in our contemporary time and how to correct them.
2. When culture and tradition clash with spiritual instructions how should a believer respond?
B. Jesus Condemns the Pharisees. Luke 11:42-44
The fact has been established that Jesus expressed His displeasure about the superficial activities of the Pharisees. They were more concerned about keeping ceremonial laws instead of being morally upright. According to the passage, Jesus reprimanded them on three different issues:
They neglected justice, love for God and others, even though they were faithful in giving their tithe on vegetables and things that the law did not even require.
Their desire to occupy reserved seats in the synagogue and to be respectfully greeted in market places. Perhaps their desire was influenced by the fact that those who occupy the front seats in the synagogue usually hold the sacred scroll and seen by all and greeted with respect.
They were likened to unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing. Jesus condemned them because these practices hindered relationship rather than help the less privilege. The admonition in the passage is that anyone who gives to the poor is no longer in the web of greed and selfishness, which is wickedness to God.
It is clear that Jesus condemned the Pharisees for focusing on trivial things to the neglect of important matters such as showing justice and love for God and fellow humans. Unfortunately, the Pharisees who did not show justice and love were faithful in paying the minutest tithe on their farm produce. They thought of themselves as pure and undefiled but with a level of hypocritical lifestyle that do not please God. Some Christians are not different from the Pharisees. They pay their tithes faithfully with rapt attention to outward holiness by their dressing and sometimes the company they keep, when actually their hearts are far from God. Christians should not be proud and intentionally claim a place among influential people (Proverbs 25:6). Rather, we should practise humility, show love to the poor and needy and practise justice beyond what the law requires. This is the standard of God that believers should not compromise.
1. Discuss ways some Christians in our days act like the Pharisees.
2. Discuss the relationship between faithfulness in giving our tithe and showing love and justice to others.
Fellowship and Ministry Building Activity
Let class members list at least three things that can easily bring defilement.
Take Home: Write down some lessons you are taking home from today’s lesson?
Commitment: Based on today’s lesson, make a commitment toward your relationship with others to be morally upright and to show love and justice.
Happy new month!