- The least of these. Maybe we should translate 25:40 something like this: “However you are treating the poor, the sick, and those who are suffering from other bad circumstances, well, that’s how you are treating the King of the universe, the God you claim to worship.” You may welcome such a comment, noting that you are loving and kind in every aspect of your life. And perhaps you are. You may be showing your love to God by your kindness and caring to those in trouble around you. Your lesson author suggests that the same attitudes and priorities we are urged to follow on earth will rule supreme in the courts above. 0000
- Introducing the Sermon on the Mount. Salt and light. Probably as common in the days of Jesus’ ministry as today, salt and light are important in our everyday lives. Remember the last time you tasted a spoonful of rice cooked with no salt? Did you “make a face” or say something to indicate how bad it was? And how about living in darkness even for a short time? How much did you appreciate light coming to you, eliminating darkness and making visible what could not be seen before? What are some everyday examples of spiritual salt and light? How much do you and I need this kind of salt and light in sharing the good news of \
- and His ministry? What can we do to obtain it? What about your church? If it would suddenly disappear from the community, how much would its presence in the community be missed?
- Overcoming evil with good. The primary classes of people in Jesus’ time were the common folks and the ruling class, and the differences in lifestyle, material wealth, and opportunities for economic prosperity. Although born In humble circumstances, with His talents and power Jesus could have ascended rapidly to the heights of wealth and privilege. Instead, He lived a life of humble service. He also shared wisdom with the downtrodden. One piece of advice Jesus shared was the concept of treating their oppressors with dignity and respect. How can you and I follow Jesus’ example of friends with the downtrodden and showing respect to the sick and poverty-stricken? Or should our primary field of ministry be one of showing respect to those in power over us? Does the Golden Rule play an important role in your home? your church? your work life?
- The Good Samaritan. How did the example of the “good Samaritan” shed light on the question of who should be judged as a true follower of Jesus? Think about the last time you encountered someone with a great—and obvious—need for food or medical care. Were you able to minister to that person in any way? What if that person wasn’t a friend or acquaintance of you or your family’s? Would that make a difference? Should it?
- The Rich Man and Lazarus. Two men—one rich, one poor; one strong, one weak. The rich man wore the finest clothing on the market. He showed his wealth with every stitch and ornament on his body. Then there was Lazarus, a beggar with a body marked by running sores. Both men died, and the rich man pled for mercy. The conclusion of this story is that by not paying heed to the words of the prophets, the rich man lost his chance of being healed. What is the spiritual lesson of this story? Our lesson suggests that it was the “temptation of wealth” that drew the man from salvation. What do you think?’
- Not salvation by works. Our lesson authors emphasize that we are not saved by how hard we work but by how close our hearts are to the heart of God. Jesus could have walked away and kept a safe distance from every unclean and sinful person who sought His attention. Instead, Jesus willingly approached the most down-in-the-dumps individuals and responded to their desperation and crying needs. Do we do enough in these modern times to help those who are sick and in pain? Should we support our health and healing ministries more than we do? Or should we emphasize healthy living to avoid deadly diseases? Should we spend more time ministering to the sick and afflicted?