The Mission of Jesus
Lesson 1: Real Transformation
Lesson Workbook (PDF) Click here
1. To help students better understand Matthew 5:1-20 and the mission of Jesus
2. To motivate students to take part in the mission of Jesus
3. To encourage students to embrace real life change through repentance
Attitude, Beatitudes, Influence, Repentance, Witnessing
Matthew 5:20; Romans 12:2 and 2 Corinthians 5:17
OPENING PRAYER (5 to 10 minutes)
GROUP BUILDING (5 minutes)
The Upside Down Challenge (Game)
Allow a small group of volunteers to compete for a prize. Have them take turns to see who can remain upside down for the longest amount of time by standing or walking on their hands. Encourage the other students to cheer them on. Award the winner with a small prize.
GETTING STARTED (10 minutes)
• Why do you think Jesus came? (Allow for comments and provide affirmation.)
• Jesus came to turn things upside down. Would you agree or disagree with this statement? (Allow for further response.)
Jesus was not just some run-of-the-mill “goody two-shoes.” No, actually, Jesus was quite the revolutionary! He did not come to introduce a bunch of religious rules. He came to set into motion a worldwide counter-cultural movement. Jesus came to turn things upside down!
Just a few minutes ago, we witnessed an upside down challenge. Jesus also challenged His disciples.
Read Matthew 5:13-16
1. How did Jesus challenge His disciples? (To be different, by exposing the world as salt and light, etc.)
Jesus challenged His disciples to turn society upside down, and they did. Referring to Paul and Silas, scripture says, "These [men] who have turned the world upside down have come here too." (Acts 17:6 NKJV)
2. In what sense do you think the world was turned upside down? (The counter-cultural movement of Jesus became very influential.)
Read Acts 2:42-47
1. How do you think the early disciples met the challenge to "turn the world upside down?” (By the living testimony of their lives, not by power, but love. See John 13:35.)
2. Who changed their lives? (Jesus.)
The way the disciples lived was attractive. Their changed lives won people over and caused the movement to grow. Therefore, Jesus turns the world upside down by changing people's lives. Before we move on, think a moment on this question.
• How has Jesus changed your life?
DIGGING IN (30 minutes)
While you think about that, turn to the fifth chapter of Matthew.
Read Matthew 5:1-12
1. What is happening here? (Jesus is teaching His disciples.)
2. What word does Jesus say most frequently in this passage? (Blessed.)
3. What do you think He means by that word? (Either divinely favored or distinctly fortunate/well off.)
4. Considering that, what is it about this passage that seems strange? (It is not what one would expect. It seems to be upside down.)
5. What do you think Jesus is doing here? (He is challenging the standards of society, in terms of whether a person was thought to be favored or fortunate.)
6. What standards do we use today to judge whether someone “has it good"? (Allow for discussion.)
7. In Matthew 4:17, Jesus tells us to repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near. How might that relate to what Jesus says in this passage? (“Repent” means to change one’s mind, or to change one’s standards of thought.)
8. Earlier, we said that Jesus changes people’s lives. How do you think He does that? (By changing the way they think. See also Romans 12:2.)
9. Twice in Matthew 5:1-12 and again in Matthew 4:17 Jesus mentions the "Kingdom of Heaven." What is this "Kingdom of Heaven"? (Jesus’ counter-cultural movement)
So, how do we bring together everything we’ve learned so far? Jesus set in motion a counter-cultural movement that operates by its own standards, one that contradicts society’s standards.
Read Matthew 5:17-20
1. What do verses 17-19 say about the movement that Jesus set in motion? (It would bring people to a fuller sense of the Law. Hence, at the religious level.)
2. Did Jesus intend to abolish the Law? (No, only to offer people a fuller sense of the Law.)
3. According to verse 20, what sense of the Law did the Jews have until this point? (That of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law.)
4 What sense of the Law do you think the Pharisees and teachers had? (External particulars—meticulous rules to be outwardly observed.)
5. What then is the fuller sense that Jesus brought? (Just the opposite: Internal principles, general guidelines to be inwardly pursued.)
6. Which of these best reflects your own standard of thinking: external or internal? (Allow for discussion.)
MAKING IT REAL (10 minutes)
We have now shifted our focus from “upside down” to “inside out.”
By “upside down,” we mean an influence upon society, the Kingdom of Heaven.
By “inside out,” we mean changed lives through a change of thinking and repentance.
The church cannot have real influence upon society until the people of the church experience real change. This type of change we will call "transformation."
Let's review Matthew 5:1-12
At first glance, these statements appear to be mere positions in life. But, by looking closer, we realize they are meant as dispositions of the heart. What are these verses usually called? (The beatitudes.)
Workbook Activity (10 minutes)
BE AND ATTITUDE
Jesus brought more than religion. He brought real transformation, the kind of change that takes place from the inside out. It’s not just about doing religious things. It’s about being a changed person. Doing proceeds from being, actions proceed from attitudes.
As we become transformed (Matthew 5:1-12), we will influence society (Matthew 5:13-16). However, in order for this to happen, a fuller sense of the Law is needed (Matthew 5:17-20). In order to be a part of the movement that turns the world upside down, we ourselves need to be transformed from the inside out.
CLOSING PRAYER (2 minutes)
Have the students pray for each other in light of what they have shared.