Razing Cain: How Christ Crucifies a Heart of Anger (Matthew 5:21–26)

sermon05Razing Cain: How Christ Crucifies a Heart of Anger

This Sunday we looked at Matthew 5:21–26, where we saw the first of six lessons Jesus gives us about the law of Moses applied to his new covenant disciples.

Interpreting the sixth commandment, “Do not murder” (Exod 20:13; Deut 5:17), Jesus stressed the importance of making peace with those whom we have sinned against. In Sunday’s sermon we looked briefly at how Jesus applied Moses Words, but more importantly we considered a multitude of applications found in Jesus Words.

You can listen to the sermon online. Discussion questions and additional resources are listed below.

Matthew 5:21–26

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.

Discussion Questions

  1. As you have read the Sermon on the Mount in the past, how have you understood Jesus teaching? How might looking at these six examples from the law help us understand Matthew 5:17–20?
  2. Is Jesus loosening the Law? Tightening the law? Or clarifying the original intent of the Law? Why does getting this right matter?
  3. What do we learn about the Law from seeing how Jesus applies the sixth commandment? How does pride relate to anger, and anger to pride?
  4. Look at the commands in this passage (“Leave . . . Go . . . Be reconciled . . .”). What do we learn about what Jesus is commanding us to do? Does he say “Don’t be angry?” And if not, why not? What hope does this give us who struggle with anger?
  5. What is the source of our anger? Cf. Genesis 4:1–16; James 4:1–4. Why does knowing the universal origin of anger help us? Why does seeing the source of anger in our hearts help us?
  6. How does the new covenant and the cross of Christ help us with our anger? When you struggle with anger, what actions steps do you take to seek reconciliation?
  7. What is the most difficult aspect of reconciliation for you?
  8. In studying Matthew 5:21–26, what have you learned? What is one step you can take to grow as a peace-maker (see Matthew 5:9)?

Additional Resources

Articles on Anger and Matthew 5:21–26

Books on the Sermon on the Mount

Soli Deo Gloria, ds