Lesson 3: Teacher

A man should not be judged by his fame, power, or money, but rather by how much love he gives to others.

– Sandranil Biswas

Devotion: Read Matthew 6:19-7:29. The second half of Jesus’ “sermon on the mount” is a collection of teachings on how to live a righteous life. Two passages help tie these statements together. First, Jesus draws on a common belief in his day: healthy eyes allow physical light to enter so we perceive the world accurately. Jesus suggests this is true spiritually as well. When we see the world from God’s perspective, we have an inner “light” or clarity. Just as diseased eyes prevent us from seeing accurately, when we do not seek God’s vision, we do not see the world accurately. We live in “darkness.” Those in right relationship with God understand what is treasure and what is not (6:19). They serve the real master, not wealth (6:24). They do not worry, judge, or profane the holy. It seems greed, anxiety, and judgmental attitudes are also a problem in Jesus’ day. What makes these particular temptations so commonplace?

“Ask, seek, knock” (7:7) is a righteous response in a world where darkness clouds vision. When we are tempted to hoard treasure, serve wealth, worry, judge, or profane, we must seek God’s way of viewing the world. There is a path leading to destruction. Avoid it! The narrow path leads to life, and it requires us to live by the golden rule, avoid false prophets, bear good fruit, and put Jesus’ teaching into action. Many people focus on “do to others as you would have them do to you” (7:12). Would living out that teaching with sincerity encompass all these other teachings?

Personal Worship Option: Read Isaiah 55:6-7. What does “seeking the Sovereign” mean in your spiritual life? How often do you try different forms of prayer? Consider incorporating something new into your life today: fasting, written prayer, journaling, walking prayer, sitting in silence, praying for enemies, etc. If you do not try anything new, tell God why you will not.

Dig A Little Deeper:

6:19 What worldly things preoccupy you? What do you worry about? What is the difference between worry and planning? What is the connection between treasure and worry?

6:24 What should be the Christian attitude toward money? How can a person tell if they are serving wealth? What signs indicate someone is greedy or obsessed with earning money?

6:33 What do you fear you are missing in life? How does this teaching address such fears?

7:1 “Judge” means to condemn harshly. Luke’s version makes this more clear (Lk 6:37-42). Jesus also teaches the community of faith is responsible for providing discipline for its members (18:15-20). How do you feel about being judged and/or forgiven by the same standards you apply to others (7:2)? Are you harder on others or on yourself? 

7:13 What makes it difficult to embody God’s reign in our current culture?

7:15 Jesus presents two teachings in tension with one another. The tree/fruit (7:15) and the hearer/doer teachings (7:24-27) encourage us to pay attention to actions and perform good works. The “Lord, Lord” passage (7:21-23) suggests that good works (prophesy, casting out demons, deeds of power) are not sufficient to earn God’s favor. In these teachings, we are called to “know” Jesus. What does Jesus mean by “I never knew you?” Which is the larger problem in your life: knowing Jesus or performing good works?

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