Topic 6: The Sermon On The Mount



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Activity Three


Enquiry Questions

Generic Skills

Values and Attitudes

Regarding Jesus’ new interpretation of “Love your friends, hate your enemies” in the Mosaic Law, what was the new ethical requirement for human relationship? How did this new ethical requirement fulfill the spirit of “Love your friends, hate your enemies”?

Collaboration skills, communication skills,

critical thinking skills



Rationality, justice, common good, appreciative


Teaching Steps

Step 1: Teacher asks:

  • If you had enemies (assume you had one if you do not have), how would you treat them? Why?

  • Do you think it is easy to love your enemies, treat them well and pray for them?


Step 2: Teacher carries out the “Late Pope John Paul II and the Assassin Mehmet Ali Agca” activity with students. Help them understand why some people can forgive those who hurt them badly.

  • Teacher shows “PowerPoint 4” (The Late Pope John Paul II and the Assassin Mehmet Ali Agca) as an introduction. The contents of the PowerPoint can also be found in “Students’ Reference: Material 2”.

  • Teacher divides students into groups and asks them to discuss: (Teacher can show the last slide “Question Discussion and analysis” of PowerPoint 2 to aid the activity.)

      • If you or the one you valued were shot, would you forgive the murderer? Why?

      • Under what circumstances would you forgive the murderer?

      • Why did the late Pope John Paul II forgive the assassin Mehmet Ali Agca?


Step 3: Teacher points out:

  • In Matthew 5:38-42, Jesus reinterpreted the meaning of “Love your friends, hate your enemies” in the Mosaic Law. He taught people not to take revenge on those who wrong them. Why did Jesus reinterpret “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” as not to take revenge on those who wrong us?

  • Jesus also taught people to love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them. Why did Jesus reinterpret “love your friends, hate your enemies” as “loving your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”?

  • What was Jesus’ new ethical requirement for getting along with one’s enemies?

The Six Antitheses (2) Activity Three 3-2
Step 4: Teacher carries out “The New Requirements for the Six Antitheses” activity with students. Help them understand the new ethical requirement concerning the law “love your friends, hate your enemies” and see how this new ethical requirement can fulfill the spirit of the Law.

  • Teacher asks students to form groups according to the previous grouping. Teacher then asks them to read Matthew 5: 43-48 and find out Jesus’ reinterpretation of the law “love your friends, hate your enemies”. Teacher also asks students to explore the kind of interpersonal relationship required in the new interpretation. Then asks students to complete the third row “love your friends, hate your enemies” on “Worksheet 1”.

  • Teacher shows “PowerPoint 2” (“6. love your friends, hate your enemies” of “The New Interpretation and the Spirit of the Six Antitheses (2): Vows, Revenge and Love for Enemies”) and helps students understand the spirit of the law “love your friends, hate your enemies”. Also, help students understand how the new ethical requirement “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” can fulfill the spirit of the law “love your friends, hate your enemies”?

  • Teacher summarises:

      • Jesus raised the spirit of the law “love your friends, hate your enemies” to a higher level by asking us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.

      • It is natural for us to love our close relatives and friends from the bottom of our hearts. But we need will power to love our enemies.

      • If we can overcome our instinct with will power and to love our enemies, we will attain a perfect life as a free gift from God.


Step 5: Teacher discusses with students:

  • Jesus emphasised that the spirit of loving our enemies is to overcome hatred and treat others with kindness, no matter how others treat us. Then we can follow God’s example of treating bad and good people in exactly the same way. What can people in Hong Kong learn from Jesus’ teachings?

  • Is loving one’s enemies feasible in reality? Give examples to support your answer.

  • How can one abandon hatred and cultivate kindness in our hearts?

The Six Antitheses (2) Activity Three 3-3
Step 6: Teacher summarises:

    • Jesus reinterpreted the law “love your friends, hate your enemies” as loving one’s enemies, just like God who treats bad and good people in exactly the same way. If we love people as God does, we will restore the good nature that God created in us, and our lives will become perfect.

  • When the late Pope John Paul II forgave the assassin who shot him, he set up a very good example for us and showed us that Jesus’ teaching of loving one’s enemies is simply practical.


Step 7: Teacher distributes “Students’ Reference: Material 3” (Jesus’ New Interpretation of the Six Theses (Matthew 5:21-48)) and “Students’ Reference: Material 4” (Jesus’ New Ethical Principles (Matthew 5:21-48)) as the interpretation and wrap up of the six antitheses.

The Six Antitheses (2) Extended Activity


Extended Activity:


  1. Respect and love were the prime principles in Jesus’ teachings. Suppose the Hong Kong Chief Executive would like to gather public opinion about “Building a Harmonious Society” and he raises the following questions. How would you answer the following questions according to Jesus’ teachings? (Try to discuss one of the questions in group)

  • How to improve marital relationships?

  • How to reduce domestic violence?

  • How to promote community neighborhood relationships (e.g. getting along with minority groups, getting along with those who dislike you or whom you dislike)?

  • How to promote promises-keeping and honesty as important common values of the society?

  • How to promote a living free of hatred and revenge?

  • How to promote the development of forgiving and harmonious relationships?



The Six Antitheses (2) Teacher’s References Material 1 2-1


Material 1: Jesus’ Interpretation of the Six Antitheses (Matthew 5: 21-48)


  1. On Anger

“Do not commit murder” is the sixth commandment in Exodus 20:13 and Deuteronomy 5:17. Jesus reinterpreted the law in a way that he even prohibited people being angry with people around them. Jesus did not want people to interpret the law literally. He wanted people to avoid anything that might lead to murder. He did not want people to accumulate their resentment and anger, refusing to reconcile or even plotting to revenge.


  1. On Adultery

“Do not commit adultery” is the seventh commandments in Exodus 20:14 and Deuteronomy 5:18. According to Leviticus 20:10, adultery was a serious crime. The adulterine might be sentenced to death. Jesus extended this law, such that a man is considered guilty if he desires a woman when he stares at her. Jesus reinterpreted the law because he wanted people to control their desires and to resist temptations.


  1. On Divorce

In Deuteronomy 24:1-4, Moses permitted men to divorce their wives by writing them a notice of divorce. The divorced woman would be free and could marry another man. Jesus reinterpreted the law. He considered marriage as a covenant to sustain the relationship between spouses. It is the God’s will for a couple to keep their marriage because the two are united by God and none should be alone. Therefore, divorce is a crime. A man should not divorce his wife except for marital unfaithfulness.


  1. On Vows

According to the Mosaic Law (Leviticus 19:12; Numbers 30:3), Moses permitted people to make vows but forbade people to breach the vows. Jesus reinterpreted the law that a righteous man needs no vows to guarantee anything.

The Six Antitheses (2) Teacher’s References Material 1 2-2




  1. On Revenge

According to the Mosaic Law (Exodus 21:22-25), only revenge on one for one basis was permitted in order to restrain the extent of revenge. Jesus reinterpreted the law and asked people not to hate or take revenges. He explained the new requirement with three examples: (a) If someone slaps you on the right cheek, let him slap your left cheek too; (b) if someone takes you to court to sue you for your shirt, let him have your coat as well; (c) if someone forces you to carry his pack one mile, carry it two miles.
The three examples show forgiveness because (a) a right-handed person has to use the back of his hand to slap the right cheek of another person. According to the Jewish customs, the insult of slapping others with the back of one’s hand was twice as much as that with the palm. Through this example, Jesus taught people not to resent or take revenge. (b) The coats of the Jews were blanket-like robes. Men wore robes as clothes in daytime and used them as blankets at night. As the Jews usually had only one robe, they must not pawn it or lose it. This example helped people learn not to fight or argue for their rights. (c) If the Roman troops forced the Jews to carry their packs one mile, the Jews should make every effort and kindly serve them with love no matter how rude, unreasonable or even cruel the people asked for help were.


  1. On Loving One’s Enemies

The Mosaic Law (Leviticus 19:18) taught people to love their neighbours and hate their enemies. At that time, the Jews thought that “neighbour” meant people of their own race. Jesus reinterpreted the law and taught people to love their enemies. God loves everyone in the world, including the wicked ones, regardless of their status. His followers, therefore, should love each other and even their enemies so as to follow God’s will.
References:

  1. 黎美霞、歐陽綺文 (1998):《同創新天地第四冊︰學生本》(頁72-77)。香港:宗教教育中心。

  2. Viviano, Bendict T. (1990). The Gospel According to Matthew. In Brown, Raymond & Fitzmyer, J. (Eds). New Jerome Biblical Commentary (pp.630-674). Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall.

The Six Antitheses (2) Teacher’s References Material 2 2-1


Material 2: The harm brought by revengeful hearts


  1. Revenge limits one to think only about bygones so that one does not focus on the present. It will not benefit our future.

  2. Revenge prevents one’s wounds from healing. One cannot enjoy the calmness and peace brought by a healed wound.

  3. The action of taking revenge is an imitation of what the offender did. One will be dragged into a vicious circle.

  4. A person who chooses to take revenge will continuously be involved in offensive activities. His/Her creativity and personal growth will be hindered.

  5. The pleasant feeling obtained by taking revenge will only lead to guilt.

  6. If one maliciously blames the offender, one will finally be treated in the same way because the other party will probably ask you pay back.

  7. One may think taking revenge is reasonable and tolerable. But it will only bring fear and anxiety to a person because one will worry that the offender will take revenge someday.

  8. Taking revenge stimulates hatred, enmity, anger and all kind of stressful feelings. It will attack one’s immune system, causing the person to suffer from illnesses.

Reference:

Monbourquett, John (2000): How to forgive, Cincinnati: Saint Anthony Messenger Press and Franciscan.

The Six Antitheses (2) Teacher’s References Material 3 2-1


Material 3: The Late Pope John Paul II and the Assassin Mehmet Ali Agca
On the 13th May 1981, former Pope John Paul II went to the St. Peter’s Square to attend an assembly held once a week and meet the audience. He rode on a jeep, went around in the square and addressed the audience. Among the audience, a Turkish assassin named Mehmet Ali Agca shot the Pope within a short distance with a pistol. The Pope was badly hurt in the abdomen with three wounds. He was saved after the surgical treatment in hospital.
The assassin Mehmet Ali Agca was arrested on the spot. After the trial, he was sentenced to life imprisonment and he served his sentence in Italy. At that time, he was only 23 years old. Two years before he shot the Pope, he robbed a bank and murdered a newspaper editor in Turkey. He was sent to the prison after the trial. However, he escaped from the jail.
After the Pope had recovered, he forgave the young assassin. He said, “If we cannot seek forgiveness from the Almighty and to offer each other forgiveness, how can we stand in front of the Lord?” He visited Mehmet Ali Agca in the prison and embraced the assassin two days after Christmas. The two talked for 20 minutes. The Pope said, “What we talked about will have to remain a secret between him and me. I already forgave him and spoke to him as a brother whom I have pardoned and who has my complete trust.”
The Pope also mentioned in his book: “Ali Agça, as everyone says, is a professional assassin. The shooting was not his initiative, someone else planned it, someone else commissioned him.”
Mehmet Ali Agca served 19 years imprisonment in Italy. He was deported to Turkey to continue serving his sentence till 2000. In the beginning of April 2005, he felt sorrowful as he heard that the former pope was in critical condition. He also prayed for him and wished him good health.
The former pope finally passed away on the 2nd April, at the age of 85. Mehmet Ali Agca was released on parole on the 12th January 2006.

The Six Antitheses (2) Teacher’s References Material 3 2-2


References:

  1. “The shooter Mehmet Ali Agca who assassinated former pope, first gained amnesty by Italy‧now released on parole”. Retrieved from Vol. 3230

website of《Kung Kao Po》, http://kkp.catholic.org.hk/gl/gl3230.htm

  1. Pope John Paul II: Assassination attempts. Retrieved from WIKIPEDIA, the free encyclopedia Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_John_Paul_II#Assassination_attempts

  2. “the assassin who wounded the pope 25 years ago, will be released on parole”(newspaper cutting on January 10, 2006). Retrieved from the website of Taichung detention centre : http://www.tcd.moj.gov.tw/ct.asp?xItem=38193&ctNode=11279

  3. “Pope John Paul II is in critical condition, the assassin who shot him, prays in the prison”. Retrieved from the website of Sing Pao on April 2, 2005

http://news.sina.com.hk/cgi-bin/news/show_news_f2.cgi?type=focus&name=20050401&id=993056

  1. “The timetable of assassinating the pope”, imitative picture, website: http://discoverychannel.com.tw/zerohour/series2/plot_to_kill_a_pope/timeline/index.shtml

The Six Antitheses (2) Teacher’s References Material 3
Material 3: Jesus’ New Ethical Principles (Matthew 5:21-48)


    1. Jesus promoted his new interpretation of the laws as a kind of new morality. He asked people not to follow the laws apparently. Instead, people should respect and love each other wholeheartedly. Jesus did not aim to eliminate the Mosaic Law but to complete the meaning of Law – to respect and love one another.




    1. Jesus based on the six antitheses: anger, adultery, divorce of wife, vows, revenge and love enemies to interpret the principles of living with God/Lord in one’s heart. Jesus preached the new requirements concerning all aspects of human relationships, e.g. family, close relatives and enemies.




    1. Jesus’ new morality enhance people’s understand of the Law. He taught people to abandon hatred, inappropriate desires, insincerity and revengeful hearts. He asked people to pay attention to the intentions behind every behavior. He wanted people to respect and love each other so as to follow God’s will.

Reference:

Viviano, Benedict T. (1990). The Gospel According to Matthew. In R. Brown & J. Fitzmyer, (Eds.). New Jerome Biblical Commentary (pp. 630-674). Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall..
The Six Antitheses (2) Teacher’s References Material 5
Material 4: The illustrations of Jesus’ new interpretations of the Jewish

Laws


Love (Fear God/Lord, respect others)





Family

(Brother, Wife)

Close relatives

(Friends, Others)

All people

(those who bully you, enemies, others)




Internal virtues↑

(no anger,

no insult,

respect and maintain marriage)


Internal virtues↑

(honesty,

no adultery desire)


Internal virtues↑

(no revenge, render good for evil, love enemies)

The Six Antitheses (2) Teacher’s References Answers Worksheet 1 3-1


Worksheet 1: The New Requirements for the Six Antitheses (2) (Suggested Answers)


The Mosaic Law

Jesus’ Interpretation of the Spirit of the Mosaic Law

Human Relationship Involved

  1. Do not break your promise; you must put your vows that you have made in front of Lord into practice /Do not make false vows, you must give back your vows to Lord!

  • The interpretations of the spirit of the Mosaic Law:

“Do not break your promise /Do not make false vows” means people have to tell the truth and put their words into practice faithfully.

  • Jesus’ new moral requirements:

If it is yes, say “yes”; if it is no, say “no”

  • The reasons of making new moral requirements:

If people tell the truth and put their words into practice, it is not necessary to guarantee anything through vows. If people are sincere to each other, vows are not necessary. People can also fulfill their responsibilities to improve the world.

Friends

The Six Antitheses (2) Teacher’s References Answers Worksheet 1 3-2




  1. An eye for an eye, a tooth

for a tooth.

  • The interpretations of the spirit of the Mosaic Law:

“Do not break your promise / Do not make false vows” restricts people in taking revenge.

  • Jesus’ new moral requirements:

Cannot take revenge on those who have bullied you.

  • The reasons of making new moral requirements:

No matter how people treat you, you should learn to treat others with a heart of no hatred and revenge, or even serve them.

People who bully you

  1. Love your friends, hate your enemies/ You should love your close relatives, hate your enemies!

  • The interpretations of the spirit of the Mosaic Law:

  • “Love your friends, hate your enemies/ You should love your close relatives, hate your enemies” emphasises the love towards people of the same race.

  • Jesus’ new moral requirements:

Love your enemies.

Enemies

The Six Antitheses (2) Teacher’s References Answers Worksheet 1 3-3





  • The reasons of making new moral requirements:

People should love their enemies, just like God/ Lord loving both good and unrighteous people. When we love people as Jesus loves us, we restore the good nature that God has created in us, making our lives perfect.




The Six Antitheses (2) Worksheet 1 2-1


Worksheet 1: New requirements of the Six Antitheses (2)
Complete the second and the third column.

Mosaic Law


Jesus interprets the spirit of Mosaic Law

Concerned human relationships

  1. Do not break your promise; you must put your vows that you have made in front of Lord into practice/ Do not make false vows, you must give back your vows to Lord!

  • The interpretations of the spirit of the Mosaic Law:


  • Jesus’ new moral requirements:


  • The reasons of making new moral requirements:





    1. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

  • The interpretations of the spirit of the Mosaic Law:


  • Jesus’ new moral requirements:


  • The reasons of making new moral requirements:




The Six Antitheses (2) Worksheet 1 2-2



      1. Love your friends, hate your enemies. You should love your close relatives, hate your enemies!

  • The interpretations of the spirit of the Mosaic Law:


  • Jesus’ new moral requirements:


  • The reasons of making new moral requirements:




The Six Antitheses (2) Students’ References Material 1







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