December 3 - Witnesses of the Messiah: Joseph
Prepare for Sunday morning worship using the guide below.
This Sunday Bryan Launer will continue the class on Understanding the Heart in the youth room at 10:00am. This class explores what Scripture says about the heart, why it's so important, and how you can better understand your own heart and help others. Ray Rutledge and Bo Pritchard will be in the Adult 1 classroom continuing through The Gospel Project (currently going through the New Testament).
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
After having instructed us about the unique lineage of Jesus, the Son of Abraham and the Son of David (1.1-17), Matthew now speaks of his unique birth and purpose in being born a man (1.18-25). While born to a woman, he was also born of God. Just as the Spirit gave life in creation (Genesis 1), so now the Spirit gives life to the body prepared for Jesus, making his fully human and fully divine. While this is a great mystery, we are helped in understanding his purpose through the two names the angel gave to him, Jesus and Immanuel. In these names we find his purpose clearly, he will come to dwell with us to save us from our sins. Given the nature of this miracle, are you surprised Christmas is controversial? It is hardly the stuff of wrapping paper and toys but demands our attention for God is coming to us. As you prepare for this holiday season, consider with deep thought the glory of God revealed to us in Jesus, God with us.
Review and Apply
How does a denial of the virgin birth affect the gospel?
What are some inadequate views of Jesus held in our culture?
How do you see Jesus' humanity and divinity in the gospels?
How are you comforted by his name, Jesus?
How does his name, Immanuel, bring you confidence?
In what ways are we instructed by Joseph in the face of God's mysterious plan?
How will this passage lead you to worship in this season?