Sixth Sunday after Epiphany

 Sermon Text: Matthew 5:21-37

 Other Readings: 2 Samuel 11:1-17,26-27 and 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12


  1. Which of the Ten Commandments is Jesus commenting on?
  2. Why does Jesus feel the need to comment on the Ten Commandments? (Hint: Note the way he keeps on saying, “You have heard… but I say to you…”)
  3. The NIV translates the end of verse 37 as “the evil one.” The Greek leaves the door open for it to be translated simply as “evil.” Which translation do you prefer? Why?
  4. In regard to these verses, Martin Luther quoted an ancient saying, “I cannot keep a bird from flying over my head. But I can certainly keep it from nesting in my hair or from biting my nose off.” What do you think Luther meant by that?

  1. Jesus is highlighting the Fifth Commandment, the Sixth Commandment, and then also things that relate to the Second and Eighth Commandments.
  2. It is not because the commandments were insufficient when Moses received them from God. Jesus is trying to reclaim their full meaning after many generations of Israel’s teachers had obscured that full meaning.
  3. Answers can vary. Either way, the big picture is clear. It is good for us to recognize the presence of evil, especially yielded by the evil one in our lives. If we take that seriously, we can take the commandments seriously.
  4. We will never not experience temptation. As long as we’re this side of heaven, temptation will always be around, like birds flying overhead. But, by the power of God, we can say no to temptation, even as we ask God to help us do in the Sixth Petition of the Lord’s Prayer.