6th Sunday of Epiphany

Memorize these verses as a family:

Matthew 5:21-22a: You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.

Listen. Let’s imagine that we put a basketball hoop up in the driveway and we really, really want to dunk a basketball. What can we do if we can’t jump high enough? Discuss some ideas.

I’ll bet that some of your ideas might have included a trampoline or sitting on someone’s shoulders, but what if you wanted to do it by yourself? What could you do? You could try lowering the hoop.

We do this with God’s Law all the time. We try to make it as small as possible so we can do it all by ourselves. That is why we need Jesus glasses. Jesus helps us make God’s rules bigger. He wants to do this for two reasons:

  1. So that we will know that we can’t keep his rules and we need his help and forgiveness.
  2. So that we can know how to be God’s light for others so that they will see us and worship God. 

Let’s take what seems to be God’s easiest rule. Read Matthew 5:21 together. How hard is it not to murder someone?

Now let’s put our Jesus glasses on. Here is what Jesus sees in his commandment. Read Matthew 5:22 together. (Note to parents: “raca” means stupid or dumb.) How does Jesus make this command bigger? What else are we not allowed to do? 

But, there is more. Following God’s rules is also about doing the opposite of what we shouldn’t do. Read Matthew 5:23-24 together. What should we be doing instead of getting angry with people and saying mean things to them?

Another command, the third commandment (Exodus 20:7), tells us that we can’t misuse God’s name. What this means is that if we make a promise in God’s name (an oath, such as, “I swear to God”) we have to keep our promise even when it hurts. Then we put our Jesus glasses on. Read Matthew 5:33. When must we keep our word according to Jesus? 

Respond. Jesus makes God’s rules bigger so that we will know that we can’t keep them and that we need God’s forgiveness. When you put the Jesus glasses on, which rules are hard for you? How do you need God’s forgiveness? Pray together as a family and ask for God’s forgiveness.

Share. Jesus says in Matthew 5:16, “let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Who is God asking you to be kind to, even when they are mean to you? Who do you need to keep your promises to, even when you don’t want to? Who are you praying for that they will see you following Jesus and start worshipping him?

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