Passage: Matthew 5:1
- Jesus calls us to be his disciples, not just spectators in the crowd. Being a disciple requires commitment and sacrifice, while being in the crowd demands less.
- In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches his disciples what it means to be blessed in God's kingdom. The qualities he describes often seem counterintuitive from the world's perspective.
- The beatitudes reveal blessings for those who are:
- Poor in spirit (humble)
- Who mourn
- Who are meek
- Who hunger for righteousness
- Who are merciful
- Who are pure in heart
- Who are peacemakers
- Who face persecution for following Jesus
- These qualities provoke the world because they are Christ-like. Disciples should expect resistance and persecution, just as Jesus did.
- To be a disciple means making the ultimate wager - to lose your life for Jesus' sake, trusting that you will find true life in him. It requires stepping out from the crowd to follow Jesus wholeheartedly.
- Why is it often easier to be a spectator of Jesus rather than a wholehearted disciple? What holds us back from full commitment?
- Which of the beatitude qualities most challenges you? Why do you think it is difficult to live out?
- Have you experienced any "persecution" for seeking to follow Jesus (rejection, insults, loss of relationships, etc.)? How did you respond?
- What do you think it means practically to "lose your life" and fully submit to Jesus' lordship? What might this look like for you?
- How can we as a church do a better job of making disciples rather than just gathering crowds? What needs to change?