- Read Matthew 5:38-42. Summarize in one sentence what the main idea is.
- How does Matthew 5:38-42 fit with the idea Jesus expressed in 5:17-20?
- Read Exodus 21:24; Leviticus 24:20; and Deuteronomy 19:21. What are these passages teaching about retaliation? Why would the OT emphasize this?
- How do these OT passages help you understand what Jesus is referring to in 5:38?
- Is Jesus contradicting the OT passages in 5:39? Why or why not?
- List the illustrations Jesus gives about retaliation in 5:39-42. What is the emphasis of each one uniquely (i.e., what is the issue with being slapped verses being sued, etc.)?
- Is Jesus advocating pacifism in these verses? Are Christians not to defend themselves? Is Jesus suggesting that we not advocate justice? Why – why not?
- How are Christians supposed to apply these concepts in 5:38-42 in day-to-day living?
- Over what sort of issues are you most prone to seek personal vengeance?
- How could you cultivate the default attitude of trusting God and not seeking revenge when taken advantage of? What sort of patterns of thinking would you need to develop? How could this affect how you pray for those who are unjustly taking advantage of you?
- What would help motivate a person to respond the way Jesus is advocating?
- How does the message of the gospel help cultivate this sort of response? Think back to what Jesus suffered. How did he respond? Why did he respond as he did? How would his responses be helpful in our cultivating a similar response?
- Have you been expressing any personal animosity or vengeful attitudes toward anyone lately? What has happened? What has motivated your responses? What does it suggest about your own trust in God? How could you better exemplify what Jesus advocates in Matthew 5:38-42 and how he himself lived?
- Confess to God any specific sin of self-preservation and vengeful attitudes. Read Romans 12:17-19. What do you need to do to apply this with a righteous heart?
- What relationships in your life are most challenged by this passage? What do you need to do to honor God in accordance with Matthew 5:38-42 and Romans 12:17-19?
- Pray for those who will be leading the service on Sunday: Dawson Bryant, music; Sam Karl, Elders’ Prayer and Scripture reading; Bret Capranica, teaching. Pray each will be uniquely edifying to the congregation as they serve. Pray for all who are involved in making Sunday’s service effective for God’s glory.
- Meditate on the songs we will be singing this Sunday. Listen to them regularly through the weekend as you prepare your heart to join together with the congregation.
Songs for Sunday
Your Great Name We PraiseGod You ReignWhat A SaviorJesus, Thank YouI Want to Be Where You Are