We are studying Matthew 5:1-12 for Sunday, June 30 – that is, the familiar text known as “the Beatitudes.” [Study notes on the text are here.] Here are a few questions we might want to consider before, or discuss in, class:
In verse 1, Jesus is described as sitting “up” an unnamed mountain, and teaching his disciples. What does this description tell us about Jesus, and the teaching situation? What could the mountain setting symbolize or communicate? How does that setting affect the significance of Jesus’ teaching here? Why?
Jesus begins describing groups of people who are “blessed,” using a word that could also be translated “happy” or “fortunate.” How do we react to these different words: blessed, happy, fortunate? How are they alike, to us? How are they different? Would we rather be blessed, or happy, or fortunate? Why is that?
Would it make a difference to say “Blessed are the pure in spirit,” “Happy are the pure in spirit,” or “Lucky are the pure in spirit”? And so on. What difference? Why, do we think?
Which of the groups that Jesus identifies as blessed do we feel closest to? Why is that?
Which of the groups do we feel least like? Why is that?
What do these groups seem to have in common? What does that tell us about how Jesus sees blessedness?
How is that like, or unlike, the way we ourselves see blessedness?
Do we want to be blessed, according to Jesus? Why, or why not? What would change in our lives?