Listen. Last week we learned that Jesus came to restore for us a full and complete understanding of God’s Law. He does this for two reasons: First, he leads us down the “poor in spirit” path. He teaches us that we need God’s forgiveness every day because we can’t keep God’s Law. Second, he leads us down the path to “greatness”, where we shine by God’s grace. The Holy Spirit gives us the power to live out Jesus’ teaching and when others see it, they are inspired to worship God. Just remember, following Jesus’ teaching can’t make us right with God.
Jesus is going to unpack several of the 10 Commandments for us. As you read Matthew 5:21-37, notice this pattern: “you have heard it was said …” and “but I tell you”. “You have heard it said” was the Law as the Jewish teachers understood it in Jesus’ day. “But I tell you” is Jesus giving us a fuller and deeper understanding of that Law.
Read Matthew 5:21-26. This is Jesus unpacking the Sixth Commandment for us (“You shall not murder.”) What is murder according to Jesus in addition to the physical act? If this is Jesus’ definition of murder are you a murderer? For Jesus, keeping God’s Law is more than simply not doing something bad. It also includes practicing the opposite virtue. Instead of murdering and hating people, what should we do instead?
Read Matthew 5:27-31. This is Jesus’ explanation of the Seventh Commandment (“You shall not commit adultery.”) What are the two ways you can commit adultery in addition to cheating on your spouse while you are married? If this is Jesus’ definition of adultery, are you an adulterer? What is Jesus’ ideal for marriage?
Read Matthew 5:33-37. This is Jesus’ teaching on the Third Commandment (“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord.”) Why does Jesus feel the way that he does about oaths? When does he expect us to keep our word?
Respond. How has Jesus led you down the “poor in spirit” path through this lesson? In what areas of your life do you need his forgiveness? How is the Holy Spirit calling you to repent? Be as personal and specific as you can.
Share. Jesus also leads us down the path of “greatness” where God in his greatness helps us live Jesus’ teaching so that others can see our light and begin to worship God. How will you make time to be with those who are not yet worshipping God and following Jesus? Make a point to pray that God will give you the strength to live out Jesus’ teachings so that your friends will see the light, worship God and follow Jesus.