Discussion Guide for "Blessed Are Those Who Mourn" 11/1/2015

Summary:

The Sermon on the Mount has inspired many great people, but it says some hard things so many people don't think of it as practical.

We are looking at hope in the Sermon on the Mount. Eschatology is "the study of end times." It is generally taken from the apocalyptic literature in the Bible, which is usually a word of hope for tomorrow to a group of people in trying circumstances. While many take it to be prophecy, it is better to see it as a description of brokenness in the world combined with the assertion that in the end it will all work out through the power of God.

Seen this way, it is a statement about how the world is supposed to be. And that is something that doesn't just apply to the future; it applies to here and now. It becomes a call to allow God to "re-create" us into who we are meant to be and to participate in that process for the rest of the world.

Yet in the end, death takes us all. But Christianity has always been a message of hope rooted in resurrection and the Resurrection. This belief is what drove the apostles, even to their deaths. The world is broken, people aren't supposed to die, but there is hope.

While we see the Sermon on the Mount as being ethical in describing who we are to be, it also describes the world as it is supposed to be. It opens with the beatitudes; a statement that God is with those who suffer but also that God will heal our suffering. Blessed are those who mourn. But the blessing is not in the mourning, it's in the hope.

We serve a risen God and while there is still pain and suffering, death has lost its sting. We celebrate those we still have and the goodness of God, a God who weeps with us, a God who will make it all right. This is why we are blessed.

Discussion Questions:

1.    Does it surprise you that even non-Christians are inspired by the Sermon on the Mount?

2.    How does the resurrection play into your every day life?

3.    How have you seen the Book of Revelation in the past?

4.    Does it matter to you whether or not it is prophecy?

5.    Does the suffering of the Apostles give you confidence in their message?

6.    In what ways do you see hope in the Sermon on the Mount?

7.    How does the Sermon on the Mount provide care for the suffering?

8.    How does God comfort you?