This workshop leader’s Bible study is a historical, theological, and contextual introduction to the Resurrection rotation of Kirk of Kildaire’s Faith Quest workshop rotation program. It is intended to provide workshop leaders with:
· A historical context for understanding the Bible story.
· A Biblical context for reading and teaching the story.
· The theological basis for the concepts to be taught to the children.
In Kirk of Kildaire’s Faith Quest program, workshop leaders attend a one-hour Bible study two weeks prior to the start of a new rotation. This Bible study helps workshop leaders understand how the concepts to be taught to the children are derived from the Bible story and how the lessons in the rotation fit together to reinforce the concepts. It also provides an opportunity for the workshop leaders to grow in their own faith and understanding of the Bible.
It will be helpful to have a chalkboard, whiteboard, or flip chart for writing down questions or observations during the Bible study.
Note: This is not a comprehensive study of the text, but only a few notes to help provide context and background for workshop leaders. Consult titles cited in the reference list at the end of these notes for more information.
Scripture: Matthew 28 – entire chapter
· If workshop leaders do not know each other, give them an opportunity to introduce each other and say which workshop they will be leading.
· Begin the Bible study by praying for God’s guidance as teachers begin a new rotation.
Ask a workshop leader to read the text aloud. Since this rotation focuses on an entire chapter, you might want to divide the reading among three or four workshop leaders.
Ask the workshop leaders what questions came to mind as they heard the story or read it before the Bible study. Write down any questions that arise and will need to be answered during the Bible study.
Background on Matthew
Scholars believe that Matthew was written anonymously around 90 AD in Antioch by a Greek-speaking Jewish-Christian who was probably a teacher in his community (Boring, 107). The church later attributed the Gospel to Matthew to offer legitimacy. The Gospel was probably written " to give direction to the community in a time of transition" (Spivey and Smith, 98). Matthew is the only Gospel to actually use the term church to describe the community of believers (Boring, 97). It is believed that Matthew's community was a wealthy urban community that had been dealing with a great deal of transition in the Jewish faith and leadership and began to turn its mission towards Gentiles (Boring, 100).
Matthew is a Gospel, a unique and new genre. It is a narrative whose intention is to tell about the revelation of God in the person of Jesus Christ and to describe the community of believers who follow this Jesus. It is a historical document in the sense that it deals with a particular person (Jesus) in a particular context (Boring, 90).
Matthew is made up primarily of 5 speeches or discourses by Jesus embedded in a narrative. Both the narrative and the speeches are important. Eugene Boring offers the following outline in his commentary (pp. 120-124):
I. The Conflict of Kingdoms Initiated and Defined 1:1-12:21
A. A title for the gospel 1:1
B. Jesus as Messianic King: Son of David and Son of God 1:2-25
C. Conflict with the Kingdom of this age 2:1-23
D. Jesus in relation to John the Baptist 3:1-4:17
E. The Call of the Disciples 4:18-22
F. The Authority of the Messiah 4:23-9:35
G. The Disciples authorized and sent 9:36-10:42
H. The Ministry of Jesus in relation to John the Baptist 11:1-19
I. Conflict with the Kingdom of this age 11:20-12:14
J. The Servant King 12:15-21
II. The Conflict of Kingdoms Developed and Resolved 12:22-28:20
A. Conflict, Decision, and Gathering the True Community 12:22-50
B. Speaking in parables 13:1-52
C. The Formation of the new community amid continuing conflict 13:53-17:27
D. Life together 18:1-35
E. Conflict and ultimate polarization 19:1-22:46
F. The Judgment Discourse 23:1-25:46
G. Jesus' Passion and Resurrection 26:1-28:20
Matthew is concerned with three main themes in his gospel.
1. The Conflict of Kingdoms and the nature of the kingdom of God: As Eugene Boring notes we see the “kingdom of God in the present, in conflict with the evil kingdom of this age, but ultimately triumphing over it” (112).
2. The identity of Jesus Christ: Jesus is portrayed as the divine Son of God, the new king who will inaugurate a new kind of kingdom, and the fulfillment of law and scripture.
3. The identity of the true people of God: They are characterized by discipline and forgiveness and are sent “in mission as representatives of Christ and with His authority” (Boring, 112).
Matthew borrows the first part of this story (verses 1-8a) from Mark and writes the rest (verses 8b-20) on his own. In his commentary, Matthew Boring divides the story into the following scenes:
v. 1-7 Women discover the empty tomb
v. 8-10 Women encounter the Risen Jesus
v. 11-15 Guards are bribed
v. 16-20 The Great Commission
Note that the resurrection itself is not narrated but is left a mystery in this and the other three gospels (Boring, 497).
v. 1 The events of this chapter occur on Sunday, day 7 of Holy Week.
v. 2 Earthquakes and angels are both found in apocalyptic scenes throughout scripture.
v. 5 Jesus is identified as the crucified one – his resurrection does not change the fact that he did die on the cross. “Even as the risen one, he bears the mark of his self-giving on the cross as his permanent character and call to discipleship” (Boring, 499).
v. 6 “has been raised” versus “has risen” – The Greek word can be translated either way, however Boring argues that “has been raised” is the appropriate translation for Matthew and places God as the actor (499).
v.7 Galilee is an appropriate setting for the commission to the Gentiles (nations)
v. 8 Matthew adds joy to the fear that the women experienced in Mark’s version
v. 9 Jesus met them – the word met means to join and accompany (Boring, 500). Matthew shows that Jesus is no ghost or phantom by having the women take hold of his feet – the resurrection is real! (Boring, 500).
v. 10 Jesus calls the disciples brothers – those who left him during the trial and crucifixion are now reconciled to him
v. 11-15 This scene completes 27:62-66. Here we see the false witness of the soldiers who take money to hide the truth and the hypocrisy of the chief priests. Both of these are contrasted against the women who are the first witnesses an the messengers of the good news. Note that even though they observed the empty tomb, the soldiers did not have faith in the resurrection. These are not the same thing (Boring, 501).
“this story is still told among the Jews” – this comment “reflects the controversies between the synagogue and the church of Matthew’s own time” (Boring, 501). Perhaps his use of the term “the Jews” shows that Matthew no longer views unbelieving Jews as the people of God – they are now one of the nations (Boring, 501).
v. 16 the disciples reappear having been brought by the testimony of the women. We see once again the mountain symbolism in Matthew.
v. 17 The response of the disciples is to worship Jesus (see also 14:33). Some show doubt which is a normal part of discipleship. “It is not to angels or perfect believers, but to the worhipping/wavering community of disciples to whom the world mission is entrusted” (Boring, 503).
v. 18 Jesus now claims all authority in heaven and earth and this is the basis for the commission. As the risen Jesus he rules over all of God’s kingdom – “to encounter Jesus is to encounter the God who is defined in Jesus” (Boring, 503).
v. 19 Discipleship now is open to all rather than including just the twelve. The disciples are given the authority to baptize and teach. Although the NT does not have a doctrine of the Trinity, Matthew does make the point “that the one encountered in Jesus as the Son of God and in the Spirit-led church as the people of God is not some subordinated deity, but the one true God” (Boring, 504).
v. 20 Jesus assures the disciples of his continuing presense.
Points about the resurrection and resurrection faith (Boring, 503-504)
1. The conflict of kingdoms and nature of the kingdom of God: The soldiers and chief priests represent the evil kingdom of this age.
2. The identity of Jesus Christ:
· The crucified one
· Lord of heaven and earth – all authority
· Continuing Spiritual presence
· One true God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit
3. The identity of the people of God: The unbelieving Jews are no longer the people of God. They are now included in the nations to which the disciples are called to reach out.
Ask each workshop leader to summarize his or her workshop. As they do so, point out the concepts that each lesson reinforces. Ask workshop leaders if they have any questions about the logistics or practical application of their lesson.
Antioch Arcade: While reading the Bible story the children will learn that god raised Jesus from the dead and gave him all authority in heaven and earth. They will discuss the fact that even Jesus’ closest followers have doubts sometimes and that Jesus is always with us. They will play the Spin the Wheel game answering questions that emphasize these concepts from the Bible story.
Apostles Playhouse: The children will create a call and response chant with some kids portraying disciples who doubt and have questions and others playing disciples who have the answers. They will incorporate questions and answers about the story into the chant. Afterward they will reflect on how to teach others about being a disciple of Jesus.
Creation Station: The children will use oil pastels to create a picture of the events found in the resurrection story. They will learn that disciples of Jesus believe that he was crucified and that God raise him from the dead.
Good News: The children will compare the resurrection stories in the four gospels by answering questions about what happens in each story. They will emphasize the Great Commission and discuss what it means to go and make disciples. They will pray that God will be patient and forgiving with them when they have doubts as the disciples did.
Holywood: This workshop offers the children and overview of all six concepts. They will talk about what it is to believe something without seeing it. They children will view the video “He is Risen” which tells the Resurrection story. Then they will play a game where they mirror one another’s actions and will discuss how to be a good follower of Jesus.
Praising Puppets: The children will hear the Bible story and learn about how Jesus rules over heaven and earth. They will perform five skits that demonstrate different way to teach so that they will know how to teach others to be disciples of Jesus.
Return to the questions that were gathered at the start of the hour. Have they been answered? Are there any further questions about the Bible story or about the lessons?
Close the Bible study with a prayer.
Boring, M. Eugene. "Matthew." New Interpreter's Bible, vol.VIII. Leander Keck, et al. editors. (Nashville, Abingdon Press, 1995). pp. 89-124 and pp. 173-181.
Spivey, Robert A. and D. Moody Smith. Anatomy of the New Testament. (New Jersey, Prentice-Hall, 1995). pp. 97-129.