Luke 6:1-16 The Sabbath (see also Mark 2:23-27; 3:1-6)
Read Luke 6:1-5, then verses 6-11, and consider what these two episodes can teach us about Sabbath behavior in our day (the story of David is found in 1 Samuel 21:1-6).
Matthew 5:1-12 The Beatitudes / Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount (see also Luke 6:20-49)
The “mount” is the hillside overlooking the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus sat to teach His gathered disciples (verse 1). Many have called Jesus’s teachings in Matthew 5-7 the greatest of all discourses. President Harold B. Lee said that these chapters are “a blueprint for our lives” (Stand Ye in Holy Places, p. 341). Elements of this sermon are also found in Luke 6, and Jesus gave a very similar discourse to the Nephites in 3 Nephi 12-14.
The word beatitude is not found in these chapters, but Matthew 5:3-12 are called The Beatitudes, taken from the Latin word beatus, which means “blessed.” Note that the Beatitudes focus on inward character and obedience, rather than fulfilling outward rituals. Read verses 3-12 and identify the eight attributes that Jesus declares to be blessed, and the blessings that will follow:
|Verse||Blessed are the …||Blessings pronounced||Helps|
|3||“poor in spirit” means to be humble; the JST says “the poor in spirit who come unto me”|
|4||Has mourning brought you closer to God?|
|5||“meek” means to be gentle, forgiving, benevolent|
|6||3 Nephi 12:6 adds “shall be filled with the Holy Ghost”|
|7||Who do you know that has exemplified mercy? How?|
|8||What do you think it means to be “pure in heart”?|
|9||Read Mosiah 5:7-9 about becoming “children of God”|
|10-12||Why is it “blessed” to be persecuted, reviled, and spoken against? Read also Luke 6:22-23.|
Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Twelve wrote that being persecuted is “the heritage of the faithful [and] evidence that they have forsaken the world” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:216).
Matthew 5:3-12 can help us recognize and overcome our selfishness. President James E. Faust of the First Presidency taught, “At the heart of the message of the Savior of the world is a single, glorious, wonderful, still largely untried concept. In its simplest terms the message is that we should seek to overcome the selfishness we all seem to be born with, that we should overcome human nature and think of others before self. We should think of God and serve Him, and think of others and serve them” (Ensign, December 1999, pp. 3-4).
Matthew 5:13-16 Salt and Light
There is a saying that certain people are “the salt of the earth.” But there is more; read Matthew 5:13; D&C 101:39-40, and consider how the “everlasting covenant” impacts our roles in this world. What can you add as you read Matthew 5:14-16? Who do you know whose “light shines”?
Matthew 5:17-20 Not Good Enough
What things did Jesus say in these verses to help His listeners understand that the Jews’ ways of living the law of Moses were not sufficient to “enter into the kingdom of heaven” (verse 20)?
Matthew 5:21-48 From the Law of Moses to the Law of the Gospel
To further push the point that the people needed to abandon certain beliefs and practices, Jesus helped them understand by citing incorrect things the people had heard from their religious leaders and teachers. He then taught the higher ways to obey God and to become true disciples. Find the following:
- For example:
- Verse 21 What the people had heard about killing (don’t do it!).
- Verses 22-24 What Jesus taught about killing (don’t even get angry!)
- Note that in verse 22 the JST deletes the words “without a cause,” as does 3 Nephi 12:22; how does this change the meaning?
- Also, Jesus teaches us not to speak ill of others, and not to approach God until first resolving issues with others.
- Now, verses 27-30:
- What had the people heard, and what did Jesus say?
- Consider, what Jesus is saying in these verses about our thoughts?
- Next, verses 38-42:
- What had they heard, and what did Jesus say?
- Why should we just “take” certain kinds of abuse or coercions?
- Also, verses 43-47:
- What had the people heard, and what did Jesus say?
- Note what Jesus commands us in verse 44, regarding our reactions to others’ mistreatment against us.
- In verses 45-47, what reasons did Jesus give for living His higher law?
- Note that Luke 6:27-30 repeats much of what Jesus taught in Matthew 5:39-44, then a glorious addition follows in Luke 6:31, which says “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (some have called this “the Golden Rule; see also Matthew 7:12).
- Continue by reading Luke 6:38. In what ways Has the Lord blessed you with “good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over”?
After your study of Matthew 5, in what ways can verse 48 be considered a suitable ending to this chapter?
In the October 1989 Ensign magazine, President Ezra Taft Benson wrote, “We must be careful, as we seek to become more and more godlike, that we do not become discouraged and lose hope. Becoming Christlike is a lifetime pursuit and very often involves growth and change that is slow, almost imperceptible…. But we must not lose hope. The Lord is pleased with every effort, even the tiny, daily ones in which we strive to be more like Him. Though we may see that we have far to go on the road to perfection, we must not give up hope.”
I really like the questions that you compose..they really help start class discussions….perhaps you could relate specific themes of a General Conference talk to a specific verse of scripture and compare or contrast the ancient scripture to the modern excerpt from a talk.
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