We are continuing our series in Matthew’s gospel.
Read the bible story either as it is written here in the NIV bible or from a bible you have at home:
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Watch a video that helps us think about the Bible story:
Questions to think about:
In this passage Jesus is speaking to his disciples, he is talking to them about what is said in the law about how to treat people and explains what loving other people might look like.
Here are some questions to think about. The verses the answers are found in are given in brackets.
- What do you think ‘An eye for and eye, and a tooth for a tooth’ means? (38)
- What does Jesus suggest they should do instead of this? (39-42)
- If people ask for things what does Jesus say that the disciples should do? (42)
- Does this seem like a hard thing that Jesus is asking? Why/why not?
- When Jesus talks to them about neighbours and enemies, what kinds of people might be their neighbours/enemies? (43)
- How does Jesus say the disciples should treat people that they find difficult to get on with or who are nasty to them? (44)
- Does this seem like a hard thing to do? Why/why not?
- Jesus goes on to explain why they are to so this in verses 45-48 and tells them about God’s character and how he shows love for all people. If we love others, even our enemies, how does this help show God’s love?
Jesus is asking his disciples to do a really hard thing in this passage – to show love for people that are mean to them, it almost seems impossible. We also are to love people in this way. The reason we are to do this is because we belong to God, we are his children. This is how God loves people, so we are to be like him in how we love people. It seems an impossible task, BUT it is not just down to us. We have the Holy Spirit – God living in us – to help us in this task, so when we find it hard, we need to keep asking God to help us!
Questions to discuss:
- Can you think of any situations where you could show love for someone who you might find it difficult to love?
- What do you think might help you in this task?
- Is there anything from today’s passage that you would like to pray about?
Here is a song which reminds us what God’s love is like and how much he loves us:
You will need:
- White paper
- Coloured paper (if you don’t have coloured paper you can colour in white paper)
- Colouring pens
- On your piece of white paper draw a heart.
- Write the Bible verse ‘Love your enemies’ in the centre of your heart and colour in the heart red.
- On your coloured paper draw and lots of people and cut them out
- Stick your people to your piece of white paper all around your picture of the heart.
Father God, thank you that you loved us when we were your enemies. Help us to love others in the same way. Amen