Third Sunday before Lent 16.2.14 Matthew 5: 21-37

13 02 2014

But I Say to You

Jesus uses hyperbole to make his fundamental point that God requires of us a deep response of integrity, not just lip-service or grudging obedience, which can be hypocrisy.


To help give shape to the reflection here are three types of question: head questions, heart questions and hand questions. They are about our intellectual response, our emotional response and our practical or behavioural response. I hope that you will want to work at all three levels.

Head Questions

  1. How do you interpret the commandment “you shall not murder”?
  2. Is “looking with desire” equivalent to adultery in your book?
  3. Is Jesus exaggerating in this passage?

Heart Questions

  1. How do you feel about this prohibition on “being angry”?
  2. Is it hard for your ‘yes’ to be yes, and your ‘no’, no?
  3. “Love your enemies” – really?  How does that happen?

Hand Questions

  1. This passage invites its readers to change at the attitudinal level.  Can you identify three specific, practical challenges that the passage issues today?


These questions are intended to challenge you to engage more closely with the passage and to hear and feel what it has to say to you. That’s more than a five-minute task. And so is the follow-up, working out what you might want to say to others as a result of engaging with the passage with head, heart and hands. Take your time.




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