The Sermon on the Mount

“It is more important in today’s world to be non-infectious than creative.”   (Erich Neumann, psychologist)

Michaelangelo’s “The Last Judgment”

Your are encourages to settle in to this study with music from from Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, the Presto movement, which can be found by clicking here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3edJo8-IOs

 

THE BEATITUDES   Bible Hub, pg.57, up to Mt. 5:20

    https://biblehub.com/parallelgospels/The_Sermon_on_the_Mount.htm

What is Jesus trying to say in Mt.5:17? Recall that Jesus is a genetic thinker more than a original thinker, i.e. derives wisdom from the beginnings of the Jewish faith and the original law.

What differences do you note between Mt. & Lk in this section? 

Which of Luke’s categories do you find hardest to bless?

Who were “salt” (Mt, v.13) and “light” (Mt, v.14) before Jesus spoke these words?

WAY TO THE KINGDOM  from Mt. 5:20ff

Look at the beginnings of Mt. 5: 21,27,33,38 & 43. What is common? 

What are they about?  (the  Jewish law)

What is common in the examples given in Mt. 6:2-4, 5-6 & 7-8?  

What quality is required?  

Look at Mt. 6: 34 and 7:1, 3-5, 6 & 12. What are these about? 

Look at Mt. 7: 13-14 & 24-27.  What kind of statements are these?  

In Mt.7:13-14, what are the contrasting pairs?

What are the choices of outcomes?

What are the process to get to each? 

What does the passage not tell you about them?  

Which outcome is mentioned first? ) Give synonyms.

Give synonyms for the alternative outcome?

Which is your choice?

What are you willing to pay?

Describe your image of the wide gate; the broad way. 

What is most seductive about it?

Describe your image of the narrow gate; the straitened way.

Why do few find it?

When does this life begin?

In Mt. 7:24-27, what are the contrasts?

Note there are storms in both options.

What are the outcome alternatives?

What does it mean to build your house on rock?  

Note the physical relationship between rock and sand.

What do the storms represent?

Look Mt.7:21 and parallel. This is the first statement on ‘how’ to enter the Kingdom.

What is difference between Lk & Mt?

Which sound more like Jesus?

What is the desired ‘outcome’?

What is it that makes this a desirable outcome?

Note: ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ is Matthew’s term; other gospel writers use ‘Kingdom of God.’

What are some synonyms for this kingdom?

What is not the way to this kingdom? 

What are the implications of this? What is he saying about himself?

Who is responsible, i.e. who has authority in this matter?

What does this statement say about God? 

Recall that you took some time in a previous section to list some other words for God.  Refer to them now.   Write down the one that is most meaningful to you at this time. 

What are some synonyms for ‘will’? Write them down. 

Choose one and put it with your word for God so that you get a new way of saying, “the will of God”.  THIS IS THE HOW!

Where does one find it? 

Where does it confront you?  (write)

To do the will of God, what is the first step? Do you discern the will and then do it or do you commit to it and do whatever it is that comes? The answer is critical!

Note: Jesus does not tell us how to discern it. 

Warning: If God has a purpose, a will, an intention, then there is also a non-will.

STANDARDS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

Go back to Mt. 5:21, what is the old law?

What does Jesus add? 

What exactly does he say about anger?

How is anger expressed?  How do you express it? (write)

Note: anger is not a primary emotion; it is a secondary reaction to primary emotions.  What do you think are examples of primary emotions?

What happens if anger is not dealt with? 

Note: the New English Bible uses the phrase “do not nurse your anger.”  This may help get a proper perspective

Where does one remember anger (v. 23)?

What is the ‘altar’ for Jews of Jesus’ time? 

What is the altar for you? (write)

What gift would you offer at the ‘altar’?

What is remembered there? 

What attitude would one have to have to remember anger?

What prayer is required? What does it suggest about the initiative for reconciliation?

What do you do next?  

What difference does it make leaving the gift at the altar?

What are the elements required for the work of reconciliation?

How might the gift left at the altar be different when you return?

ACTIVITY:

  • 1) Make an ‘altar’, (this need not be elaborate, just set aside a special place that you designate as sacred space)
  • 2) bring a gift, (this could be an actual offering or a symbol that represents something of you)
  • 3) recognise anger that someone has toward you or that you have with regard to another,
  • 4) leave your gift and go away and write a ‘dialogue’ with that other person and
  • 5) come back and place your gift on the altar

A WORD ABOUT DIALOGUING:  A dialogue is another way of stimulating the right side of the brain to extract its wisdom. It is important to actually write the dialogue, as this seems to be the factor that triggers the right side of the brain, whereas speaking does not.  Take a blank sheet of paper and, as you would write the script for a play, write your name, and follow that with a question or comment; e.g. “Bob:  George i recall that we never settled our differences over the money I owe you.” Then write the name of the other followed by the response that comes to your mind; e.g. “George: Yes, Bob, that has been simmering for quite a while.”  You then respond and the dialogue continues until it seems to have come to a conclusion.  Dialogues are also a handy way to prepare for a significant encounter with another, or even dialogue with an inanimate object.  You may be surprised by the result.

In Mt. 5:27 what is the law? 

What does Jesus add?

What is lust?

What does it do? 

What does it do to sexuality? 

What does Jesus say to do? 

What does this say about Jesus?

What value does Jesus place on sexuality?

What are some examples of sexual lust in our society?

In Mt. 5:38, what is the law?

Put it in your own words.

What is the value of this law, found in almost every ancient code of justice?  Why was it considered to be an advance on what preceded it?

What kind of shift is Jesus making in vv. 39-41? What is he doing with the old law?

Why?  What is wrong with the old law?

What do we usually do with our evil? 

What forms do our resistance take? 

Why do we resist it?

What is Jesus’ lesson?

Why might evil want to be resisted not? 

Carl Jung said, “What we most lack is imagination in evil.” What does he mean?

How could we imagine evil more?

What happens if we resist evil?

Mime: (Recall, there are instructions for miming in the study entitled, “Setting the Stage”)

  • 1) repress or contain evil
  • 2) Act it out
  • 3) Project it onto another
  • 4) Move toward it in a corridor

Which was most striking and why? (write)

DEFILEMENT

Don’t leave the page with the Sermon on the Mount parallels, but either open a new window or open a bible to Mark 7.

According to Mk.7:20-23 and parallel, what really defiles a person?

What other words could be used to replace ‘defile’?

How do you react to this statement?

Where does the defilement come from, according to Jesus?

Which form of defilement listed here leaps out as yours? (write)

Returning to the quote at the top of the page,“It is more important in today’s world to be non-infectious than creative.” What is Neumann saying here?

Returning to the Sermon on the Mount, in Lk. 6:45 and parallels, what does the word “treasure” add?

If one is defiled, what comes before purification?  So what is the value of looking at your defilement?

Given that we are to ‘resist not’ evil, what are we to do with this abundance of treasure?

Referring again to Lk.10:27, what does it mean to love God with all your heart, knowing it is the source of defilement?

How does that challenge you about your idea of God? 

MORE STANDARDS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

In Mt.5:43, what is the law?

Is Jesus promulgating a new law in v.44?  You should read Lev. 19:17-18, 33-34 and Ex. 23:4-5 before giving your answer.

What does he keep and what does he change?

Who are your enemies? (write)

In v.45, why should one love one’s enemies? Note: there is an old Jewish saying: “I plant a crop in the field of my enemy that God may live.”

What does God bring? 

Note: In v.48, the Greek for perfect, can be translated as ‘all-inclusive’, ‘whole’ or ‘complete’.

What does v.48 say about the nature of God? 

Note: Not a problem for Jews to understand God as including all. There is a saying in the Midrash: “God is praying to Godself, may it be my will that my love overcomes my wrath and mercy overcome my other attributes.’”

Write what it might mean for you to be all-inclusive or whole.

Put Mt.6:1 in your own words. (write)

Note: vv. 1, 4 & 6 communicate the same message.  What is the result of proper practice and attitude? 

What kind of recompense do you imagine will be provided?

Take a few moments to make a list of the things that you find most annoying, irritating, repugnant in people; the kind of people you would normally choose to avoid spending time with, that rub you the wrong way, with traits, which if your children were to exhibit, you would find intolerable.

What is Jesus saying about judgment in Mt. 7:1? Put in other words. 

What happens when we judge others?  

Is he saying, “Don’t judge?”

What is he warning about when we judge others? 

What is the difference between creative and non-creative judgments?

When are judgments negative/uncreative? 

How do you feel when you are the object of an uncreative judgment?

How do such judgments affect relationships?

What would be characteristics of a positive or creative judgment?

How do you feel when you are the object of a creative judgment?

If you brought only creative judgments to your relationships, what would happen?

What prevents us from doing this?

In what situations are we more likely to make uncreative judgements/

In vv.3-4, what is a log? What is a speck? (note contrast of size)

What is it that Jesus says people are prone to do?

What is this in psychological terms?  

Where do projections come from? 

Return to your list of annoying qualities that you made earlier, and put your name at the top. How many are true of you?  Tendencies that you try hard to squash?

We tend to project the unlikeable, unacceptably content of ourselves on others where we can see it and hate it. What kind of things get projected? 

Why do projections happen?

What is the positive value of projection?

What should we do with them to get this positive value?

Where do Christians project the saviour?

How do we know when we are projecting?

How could we work with them in a positive way?

What is the effect on a relationship if we stay in projection?

“Every projection is an attempt by the self to realise itself; a deeply religious process.” (Carl Jung)

What does Jesus say to do in vv.4-5? What effect does this have?

What can enemies do that no one else can?

What does v.12 say about how to get what we want?

How do we usually expect this law to work?

What do we need to know in order to work on this law?

What would happen if we treated others this way?

Write how you would apply this to a real difficult relationship?

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