The Museum of Broken Relationships explores broken love and other human relationships – what they mean to us, what they tell us about what we share and how we can learn and grow from them. It is composed of objects donated anonymously by members of the public from all over the world. Each exhibit is an object and a story, which together recount a watershed event in someone’s life. The exhibits reflect the full range of human emotions. Some are sad; but many are amusing and hopeful and remind us that people change, grow and recover.
What are some of the reasons that relationships unravel? Why is the relationship between Jesus and the teachers of the law, the Pharisees, and other religious leaders unraveling? What problem(s) did they have with Jesus? What problem(s) did Jesus have with them? In addition to overturning the tables of the money-changers, did Jesus do anything else in the temple that would have been controversial? (Hint: See Leviticus 21:17) Who do the various characters in Jesus' three parables represent? What common point are they making?
This section of Matthew includes controversy stories in which Jesus interacts with a number of religious/political groups. This article discusses the differences between the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herodians, as well as the Zealots, and Essenes. —Clayton Harrop, "Jewish Parties in the New Testament" Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991.
What are the differences between the different groups who appear in this chapter? Who were the Pharisees and the Herodians? Why is it strange that they seem to be cooperating here? Why did they think that their question would trap Jesus? Who were the Sadducees? What assumptions or premises is their question built on? How does Jesus' answer challenge their world view? What evidence do you see in these controversy stories of Jesus' deep insight and intelligence?
Why do you suppose Jesus felt it was necessary to speak these pointed words of woe to the scribes and Pharisees? How do Jesus' words serve as words of warning to his followers in future generations? How do chapters 21-23 form a unit, both furthering the narrative, and also sharing a common theme? Why is it important not only to study individual passages in the Bible, but see how they fit in the larger context of which they are a part?