Startup: From all the Christmases you’ve known and all the times you’ve heard the Christmas story, what images do you have of the “wise men” or “magi” or “kings,” as they’re variously called?
SEEING WHAT’S THERE
1. What things did the magi or wise men apparently know and understand about the identity of Jesus?
2. Compare verse 3 with verse 10 and notice the difference in attitude reflected in these verses. How would you explain the reasons for each attitude?
3. From what you see in verses 9-10, do you think the magi (or wise men) had lost sight of the star mentioned in verse 2? Or could the star in verse 9 have been a different star from the one in verse 2?
4. How could you use this chapter to illustrate to a new Christian the concept of God’s protection for His people?
5. How do these first two chapters show the uniqueness of Jesus the King?
6. EYE FOR DETAIL—If everyone in the group has read the entire chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: How many dreams are mentioned in this chapter? (See verses 12,13,19, and 22.)
CAPTURE THE ESSENCE
7. What patterns do you see in the way Joseph responds to the different situations he faces in life?
8. How would you describe Joseph’s basic mindset or attitude in life?
9. How would you describe Herod’s basic mindset or attitude in life?
10. How is Joseph a model of a good father?
11. Look again at the tragic incident recorded in verses 16-18. Why do you think God allowed this to happen, and why did He include it in the Bible?
FOR LIFE TODAY
12. What guidelines for obedience can you draw from Joseph’s example in Matt 1 and 2?
13. What guidelines for depending on God can you draw from these chapters?
14. What helpful insights do you find in chapter 2 regarding the right way to approach God in worship?
FOR GOING DEEPER
Compare the Christmas story in Matt 1 and 2, which focuses more on Joseph and the magi, with the Christmas story as told in Luke 1 and 2, which focuses more on Mary and the shepherds. What are the most important ways in which they complement each other?
(from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament, © 1992 by Questar Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.)