“February 18–24. Matthew 5; Luke 6: ‘Blessed Are Ye’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: New Testament 2019 (2019)
“February 18–24. Matthew 5; Luke 6,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2019
Record Your Impressions
By this point in His ministry, it was clear that Jesus’s teachings would be unlike what the people of His time were used to hearing. The poor will receive the kingdom of God? The meek will inherit the earth? Blessed are the persecuted? The scribes and Pharisees were not teaching such things. And yet to those who truly understood God’s law, these doctrines felt right. “An eye for an eye” and “hate thine enemy” were lesser laws (Matthew 5:38, 43), given to a people who were unwilling to live the higher law. But Jesus Christ had come to fulfill the lower law and teach a higher law (see 3 Nephi 15:2–10) designed to help us one day become “perfect, even as [our] Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).
Everybody wants to be happy, but not everyone looks for happiness in the same places. Some search for it in worldly power and position, others in wealth or in satisfying physical appetites. Jesus Christ came to teach the way to lasting happiness, to teach what it truly means to be blessed. What do you learn about obtaining lasting happiness from Matthew 5:1–12 and Luke 6:20–26? How is this different from the world’s view of happiness?
What questions or impressions come to your mind as you read each verse? What do these verses teach you about being a disciple of Jesus Christ? What do you feel inspired to do to develop the qualities described in these verses?
Salt has long been used to preserve, flavor, and purify. Salt also had religious meaning for the Israelites. It was associated with the ancient practice of animal sacrifice under the law of Moses (see Leviticus 2:13; Numbers 18:19). When salt loses its savor, it becomes ineffective, or “good for nothing” (Matthew 5:13). This happens when it is mixed with or contaminated by other elements. As disciples of Christ, we keep our “savor” by avoiding spiritual contamination from the world. This allows us to fulfill our preserving and purifying work as the salt of the earth—for example, through sharing the gospel and being an influence for good in the world (see D&C 103:9–10).
The disciples may have been surprised to hear Jesus say that their righteousness needed to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees (see Matthew 5:20), who prided themselves on how well they kept the law of Moses. But Jesus taught a higher law that not only elevates our actions but also the thoughts and feelings that inspire them. This higher law required much more: the heart, soul, and mind (see Matthew 22:37).
See also “Sermon on the Mount: The Higher Law” (video, LDS.org).
President Russell M. Nelson taught:
“The term perfect was translated from the Greek teleios, which means ‘complete.’ … The infinitive form of the verb is teleiono, which means ‘to reach a distant end, to be fully developed, to consummate, or to finish.’ Please note that the word does not imply ‘freedom from error’; it implies ‘achieving a distant objective.’ …
“… The Lord taught, ‘Ye are not able to abide the presence of God now … ; wherefore, continue in patience until ye are perfected’ [D&C 67:13].
“We need not be dismayed if our earnest efforts toward perfection now seem so arduous and endless. Perfection is pending. It can come in full only after the Resurrection and only through the Lord. It awaits all who love him and keep his commandments” (“Perfection Pending,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 86, 88).
As your family reads the scriptures together, the Spirit can help you know what principles to emphasize and discuss in order to meet the needs of your family. Here are some suggestions:
Which principles taught in Matthew 5:1–9 could help your home be a happier place? You might focus on one or two as you study the Sermon on the Mount over the next few weeks. For example, what teachings do your family members find that can help them be peacemakers? (see Matthew 5:21–25, 38–44). What goals can you set? How will you follow up?
To help your family understand what it means to be “the light of the world,” you could explore some of the sources of light in your home, your neighborhood, and the world. It might be helpful to show what happens when you hide a light. What did Jesus mean when He said, “Ye are the light of the world”? (Matthew 5:14). Who has been like a light for our family? How can we be a light to others? (see D&C 103:9–10).
Why does the Lord want us to pray for those who have been unkind to us? How can we live this principle in our family?
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.