“February 18–24. Matthew 5; Luke 6: ‘Blessed Are Ye’” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: New Testament 2019 (2019)
“February 18–24. Matthew 5; Luke 6,” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: 2019
Record Your Impressions
President Joseph Fielding Smith said that the Sermon on the Mount is “the greatest [sermon] that was ever preached, so far as we know” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith , 234). Why do class members feel that this is true? What can they share?
The Savior’s Sermon on the Mount, which was addressed primarily to His closest disciples, begins with statements known as the Beatitudes, in which Christ invited us to rethink what it means to live a blessed life—a life of lasting happiness. To begin a discussion about lasting happiness, you could ask class members to share what makes them happy. According to the Beatitudes, what did Jesus say makes a person “blessed,” or eternally happy? How are Jesus’s teachings different from other ways people try to find happiness?
To help class members understand terms like pure in heart or peacemakers, you could list some of the terms from verses 3–12 on the board. Then invite class members to suggest the opposite of each term and what they learn about each term by doing this. Ask class members to ponder what they could change in order to be the type of person described in these verses. What does 3 Nephi 12:3, 6 add to our understanding of Matthew 5:3, 6?
Another way to explore these verses is to invite each class member to study additional scriptures about one of the Beatitudes and share with the class what they learn. How does someone they know exemplify that principle?
How do your class members feel when they read Jesus’s statement that they are “the light of the world”? What does it mean to hide our light “under a bushel,” and why might we be tempted to do this? The statement by Elder Robert D. Hales in “Additional Resources” might be encouraging. Who has been a “light” to your class members?
Think of a way to demonstrate Christ’s teaching that we are lights to the world. Could you show a picture of a city lit up at night? Could you bring a flashlight and hide it under a basket? Why does the Savior compare His disciples to light? How can we use this understanding to be a light to others? (see D&C 103:9–10). Class members could discuss or role-play ways in which the light of the gospel can shine in their lives and bless others.
Some other scriptures that could add to your discussion about light include 3 Nephi 18:24; Doctrine and Covenants 50:24; 84:44–47; 88:50, 67; and 93:36–40. Class members might also enjoy singing hymns about light, such as “The Lord Is My Light” and “Lead, Kindly Light,” Hymns, nos. 89, 97. What do these hymns and scriptures add to our understanding of Matthew 5:14–16?
The situations described in Matthew 5 were specific to the Savior’s day, but the principles He taught are universal. To help class members see the applications to their lives, invite them to select one of the following passages and think of a modern-day example that illustrates what the Savior was teaching: verses 21–24; 27–30; 33–37; 38–39; 40–42; and 43–44. They could do this individually or in groups and share their examples with the class.
Youth might enjoy a matching game that helps them see that the Savior’s teachings found in Matthew 5:21–48 supersede the law of Moses. You could create one set of cards with phrases that begin “ye have heard” (describing the law of Moses) from Matthew 5:21–44. Create another set with phrases from the verses that begin “but I say” (describing Christ’s higher law). Put both sets of cards facedown, and let a class member select one of the “ye have heard” cards, followed by one from the other set, looking for matches. Continue until class members have matched the Mosaic law with Christ’s new teaching. For each match, discuss why the Savior’s teaching is needed in our day.
How can you help class members see that the Savior’s command to be “perfect” means, as President Russell M. Nelson explained, to be “complete” or “finished”? (Matthew 5:48; “Perfection Pending,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 86–88). Here’s an idea: cut a picture of Jesus into a puzzle, and invite class members to write on the back of each piece a teaching from Matthew 5 that they feel inspired to apply to their life. Let them work together to complete the puzzle. How does Jesus Christ’s Atonement help us become “complete” or “finished”? (see Bible Dictionary, “Grace”).
You might also invite class members to set a goal to act on a prompting they received while studying Matthew 5. Consider how you can follow up on this invitation in future lessons.
To inspire class members to read Matthew 6–7 during the coming week, you could tell them that President Harold B. Lee called the Sermon on the Mount “the constitution for a perfect life” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee , 200).
Elder Robert D. Hales taught: “Have you ever stopped to think that perhaps you are the light sent by Heavenly Father to lead another safely home or to be a beacon from a distance to show the way back to the straight and narrow path that leads to eternal life? Your light is a beacon and should never stop burning or mislead those who are looking for a way home” (“That Ye May Be the Children of Light” [Brigham Young University fireside, Nov. 3, 1996], 9; speeches.byu.edu).
President Harold B. Lee taught: “Would you suppose the Savior was suggesting a goal that was not possible of attainment and thus mock us in our efforts to live to attain that perfectness? It is impossible for us here in mortality to come to that state of perfection of which the Master spoke, but in this life we lay the foundation on which we will build in eternity; therefore, we must make sure that our foundation is laid on truth, righteousness and faith” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 195).
President Joseph Fielding Smith said: “[Perfection] will not come all at once, but line upon line and precept upon precept, example upon example, and even then not as long as we live in this mortal life. … But here we lay the foundation. Here is where we are taught these simple truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in this probationary state, to prepare us for that perfection. It is my duty, it is yours, to be better today than I was yesterday, and for you to be better today than you were yesterday, and better tomorrow than you were today” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith , 234–35).