Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Living as a Christian Community: Part 1 - Matthew 18:1-14

This week we come into the fourth of Matthew's five discourses (teaching sections). In his gospel Matthew carefully organized Jesus' teachings into five main collections, which echo the five books of Moses. Each discourse has a different theme, and the theme for Matthew 18:1-35 is Jesus' teaching on how to live as a community of his disciples. Verses 1-14 form the first half of the discourse, and we will cover the second half next week.
  •  Read Matthew 18:1-14. This passage deals with issues of greatness. How we usually define greatness? How does Jesus define it? Is greatness something you seek? Are you ambitious?
  • Jesus also talks quite a lot about ‘little ones’. What do you think Jesus’ means by this term? How does Jesus describe the proper relationship between those who are ‘great’ and those who are ‘little'?
  • Look at verses 8-9. Matthew included this saying earlier in a different context (5:29-30 in the middle of teaching about marriage). What do you think it means in this section about greatness and ‘the little ones’? What specific things (attitudes and behaviours) is Jesus telling us to cut out of our lives?

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