Read Matthew 5-7 out loud together
With the Galilean ministry of Jesus beginning in chapter four, chapters 5-7 are dedicated to recording Jesus’ teaching concerning the kingdom of God. Commonly known as the Sermon on the Mount, these chapters unpack several key aspects of the Messiah’s Kingdom. First, Jesus teaches that the ideal citizens are those who are poor in spirit, those who mourn, are meek, who hunger and thirst for righteousness, are merciful, are peacemakers, and who are persecuted and reviled. He goes on to explain that the purpose of this citizenry is to be an example to the world around them and that Jesus’ own teaching does not contradict OT instruction, but instead fulfills it.
The rest of chapter five issues corrections to common, but misguided teachings. Anger, lust, divorce, oaths, retaliation, and the treatment of enemies must all be thought of differently in order to be faithful participants in God’s Kingdom. Where chapter five teaches us about the right heart attitude to serve others, chapter six teaches us about the right heart attitude to serve God. Giving, prayer, and fasting should be done secretly, in devotion to God. Similarly, money and material provision should not be sought after, but totally entrusted to God.
Finally in chapter seven, participants of the Messiah’s Kingdom are encouraged to examine themselves instead of being quick to judge others, ask anything of God, and treat others the way they would like to be treated. The chapter ends with warnings against false belief and the promise that anyone who builds their life on the teachings of Jesus will ultimately be protected. Matthew also records that the crowds were amazed by Jesus’ teaching because he did so with an authority greater than their religious leaders.
- Why are the beatitudes (5:3-12) good news for Kingdom citizens? How are these promises different from the world’s?
- What do you think it means for Jesus to have come to fulfill the law? Why was this important?
- What part of Jesus’ teaching between Matthew 5:21-7:12 do you personally find most challenging? Why?
- According to Matthew 7:15-23, what is the relationship between participating in the Kingdom of God and bearing good fruit? How can we identify genuine, good fruit in our lives?
Ask God to help you rejoice in the Messiah’s Kingdom and give you grace to bear good fruit as a citizen who seeks first His Kingdom with your whole heart.