1. Can you think of a time when you realized that you needed to be better at something than you thought? What was that experience like?
2. When Jesus tells the crowds that their righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and the Pharisees, what do you think that he means? Can you give some examples of what it might look like to have this greater righteousness?
3. As Jesus begins to give examples of what our greater righteousness looks like, the first point that he makes is that not only are we not to murder, we are not to be angry. Describe some experiences you have had with anger. How does it affect you?
4. How have you seen your anger affect others? What does anger normally look like for you?
5. Jesus continue to push us, as we are then challenged in vv. 23-26 to pursue reconciliation and to make amends for how we have wronged others. Can you think of a particular relationship in your life where God may be challenging you to pursue this kind of reconciliation and amends?
6. Where do we get the resources (desire, power in our hearts, strength, etc) to live like this? How do you think Jesus' fulfillment of the law (v. 17) can help us as we seek to live this "better than we thought" life?
17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26 Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.