We are studying Matthew 7:1-6 & 15-23 for Sunday, July 28. This includes the portion of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount that instructs us not to judge, which clearly does not mean abandoning every form of discernment. [Study notes on the text are here.] Here are a few questions we might want to think about before class or discuss in class:
In v1, Jesus tells the listeners not to judge. If we review what’s come before this in the Sermon, can we think of any particular reason to bring “judging” up now? What would that be, do we think?
Why would people need this instruction? Do we ourselves need this instruction? Why is that?
[More personal] What is the payoff from judging – assuming there is one? What would leave our lives if we eliminated judging? What would we like about that? What would we miss? Why is that?
What would need to change to eliminate judging, do we think?
How might the instruction not to judge be connected to the instruction to love our enemies?
What is the effect of Jesus’ image of the speck and the log? How important, do we think, is the role of “the eye” in this image – what does “seeing” have to do with “judging,” do we think?
In v15, Jesus says to “beware of false prophets” – why, do we think? What do we think “prophet” means, usually? What gives us that idea? Can we think of an example of a false prophet in the ancient world? (see e.g., 1 Kings 22; Jeremiah 29) In these days?
Jesus compares these actors to “wolves” – how do we understand that image? How do we understand the metaphor of devouring people?
[More personal] We don’t do that, do we?
What’s “good fruit” in the context of Jesus’ Sermon? (Again, we might need to look over what has come before verses 16-18.)
What is our reaction to Jesus announcement in verses 21-23? Why is that?