BIBLE STUDY ASSIGNMENT – WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23, 2011 – LESSON THREE

THE LIFE, PERSON, TEACHING AND WORK OF JESUS THE CHRIST

“THE BABY JESUS AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD”

Welcome to this week’s Bible Study!. This week we are studying the Baby Jesus and his birth and how his birth changed the world then and now. We also look at the conflict between an earthly kingdom and the Kingdom of God that came with the birth of the Baby Jesus. Please read this week’s handout and Matthew Chapters 1 and 2 for help in answering the questions below. Let us now “meet Jesus again, for the first time!”
Matthew 1:1
A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:
In the above Scripture, Jesus was called the “son of David.” What does the term Son of David mean and how did it prove that Jesus was the Messiah?
Matthew 1:20
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
In the above verse, Joseph is called “son of David” which is the same title given to Jesus in Verse 1. Why do you think Joseph was called the son of David?
Matthew 1:1-25 is said to show the human and divine heritage of Jesus. If Matthew 1:1-17 shows the human heritage of Jesus, how does Matthew 1:18-25 show the divine heritage of Jesus the Christ?
Matthew 2:1
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magia from the east came to Jerusalem
What does the word Magi mean? How many were there? The handout says three wise men and nativity plays show three but what does Scripture say?
Was Jesus still a baby when the Magi or wise men came to see him? How old do you think he was when the wise men brought their gifts to him?
The handout says Jesus was 40 days old when he was taken to the Temple for the first time. If you were the CSI (Christ Scene Investigator) of those days what evidence in the Bible would you use to prove Jesus was 40 days old then?
Matthew 2:13
13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” 14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt,
The above Scripture shows the obedience of Joseph and God’s plan to protect His only begotten Son. Using your CSI hat again, how would you prove how old Jesus was when his parents took him to Egypt to escape the murderous wrath of King Herod? Where do you find your proof?
Matthew 2:1-3
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magia from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the eastb and have come to worship him.” 3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.
In the handout I write about the “Clash of the Titans!” and how there was “Only Room for One King at a Time!” In the above Scripture the Magi called Jesus the “King of Jews” and this upset King Herod. This was the first notice in the New Testament that Jesus represented the coming of the Kingdom of God. Why do you think King Herod was upset about the birth of Jesus and why did he think it was a threat to his kingdom?
Matthew 2:19-3:2
19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.” 21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene.”
Matthew 3:1-2
3 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
The above Scriptures support what is written in the handout about Jesus’ birth signaling the coming of the Kingdom of God. But in Matthew 3:2 some 28 years later John the Baptist declares coming of Jesus meant “the kingdom of heaven is near.” Yet in Mark 1:15 when Jesus was also speaking about his coming he declares that “The kingdom of God is near.” What do you think kingdom of heaven means and is it different from kingdom of God?
Rites of Passage. The handout teaches about some of the Rites of Passage that Jewish boys during Jesus’ time went through. What were some of the rites Jesus probably passed through as boy until age 13? The handout makes it clear that Jesus probably went to school. If the Son of God went to school, what does that say about the importance of going to school for today’s youth?
The handout says that when a Jewish boy reached a certain age he received his phylacteries. What was a phylactery? Why were they so important?

BIBLE STUDY HANDOUT FOR WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23, 2011

JESUS CHRIST: THE BABY, THE BOY AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD

Read Chapters 1 and 2 from the Gospel of Matthew, again before reading below
Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit through an act of God his father and carried in the womb of a virgin named Mary. His earthly father was Joseph a fair and just man who became a major instrument used by God to ensure that Jesus Christ would be a Son of David.
There is not much written, that is reliable, about the boyhood of Jesus but we know from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke how important his birth and early months of life were to future of the world. Now we will look at the important and necessary birth and childhood of Jesus the Christ when the Kingdom of God really was at hand!
Please read the following excerpts of the birth of Jesus the Christ from the Smith Bible Dictionary and some points from the New Interpreters Bible
THE EARLY LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST
Jesus, having a manger at Bethlehem for his cradle, received a visit of adoration from the three wise men of the East. At forty days old he was taken to the temple at Jerusalem; and returning to Bethlehem, was soon taken to Egypt to escape Herod’s massacre of the infants there. After a few months stay there, Herod having died in April, B.C. 4, the family returned to their Nazareth home, where Jesus lived till he was about thirty years old, subject to his parent, and increasing “in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” The only incident recorded of his early life is his going up to Jerusalem to attend the passover when he was twelve years old, and his conversation with the learned men in the temple. But we can understand the childhood and youth of Jesus better when we remember the surrounding influences amid which he grew.
1. The natural scenery was rugged and mountainous, but full of beauty. He breathed the pure air. He lived in a village, not in a city.
2. The Roman dominion was irksome and galling. The people of God were subject to a foreign yoke. The taxes were heavy. Roman soldiers, laws, money, everything reminded them of their subjection, when they ought to be free and themselves the rulers of the world. When Jesus was ten years old, there was a great insurrection, Acts 5:37, in Galilee. He who was to be King of the Jews heard and felt all this.
3. The Jewish hopes of a Redeemer, of throwing off their bondage, of becoming the glorious nation promised in the prophet, were in the very air he breathed. The conversation at home and in the streets was full of them.
4. Within his view, and his boyish excursions, were many remarkable historic places, — rivers, hills, cities, plains, — that would keep in mind the history of his people and God’s dealings with them.
5. His school training. Mr. Deutsch, in the Quarterly Review, says, “Eighty years before Christ, schools flourished throughout the length and the breadth of the land: education had been made compulsory. While there is not a single term for ‘school’ to be found before the captivity, there were by that time about a dozen in common usage. Here are a few of the innumerable popular sayings of the period: ‘Jerusalem was destroyed because the instruction of the young was neglected.’ ‘The world is only saved by the breath of the school-children.’ ‘Even for the rebuilding of the temple the schools must not be interrupted.'”
6. His home training. According to Ellicott, the stages of Jewish childhood were marked as follows: “At three the boy was weaned, and word for the first time the fringed or tasselled garment prescribed by Num 15:38-41, and Deut 22:12 His education began at first under the mother’s care. At five he was to learn the law, at first by extracts written on scrolls of the more important passages, the Shema or creed of Deut 2:4, the Hallel or festival psalms, Ps 114; 118; 136, and by catechetical teaching in school. At twelve he became more directly responsible for his obedience of the law; and on the day when he attained the age of thirteen, put on for the first time the phylacteries which were worn at the recital of his daily prayer.” In addition to this, Jesus no doubt learned the carpenter’s trade of his reputed father Joseph, and, as Joseph probably died before Jesus began his public ministry, he may have contributed to the support of his mother.
(from Smith’s Bible Dictionary, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
CLASH OF THE TITANS!
Only Room for One King at a Time!
Every king must have a kingdom. At the time of Jesus’ birth Herod the Great was king of Judea and was ruthless ruler who abused his own people the Jews. When the Wise Men from the East came to Jerusalem looking for Jesus they asked in Matthew 2:2 “Where is the one who has been born king of Jews?” This question announced the beginning of the Clash of the Titans. It is important to note that the three Wise Men who were Gentiles, accepted Jesus as Messiah but his own people rejected him. Scripture says in Matthew 2:3 that this question disturbed Herod the Great and “all Jerusalem with him.”
As king of Judea and the ruler of the Jews Herod the Great was outraged that a new king had come to his kingdom. As king, Herod’s kingdom was the same area that Jesus as Messiah was coming to save. Because of this perceived threat to his kingdom, he plotted to kill the Baby Jesus. The plot failed but Herod’s brutality cost the lives of many babies in Jerusalem.
The birth of Jesus Christ signaled the coming of the “Kingdom of God” in that God’s kingdom was being ushered in by his only begotten son. Jesus’ birth was considered by Herod the Great as the birth of a new king. Of course, Herod the Great did not want another king in his kingdom which led him to oppose Jesus. This opposition from Herod was an example of this world’s refusal to accept Jesus the Christ as Savior of the world.
Herod tried to kill Jesus by issuing an order to kill all babies in Jerusalem who may have been near Jesus’ age. This plot failed because an angel had already warned Joseph to take Jesus and his mother to Egypt to escape death at the hands of Herod’s soldiers. The family stayed in Egypt until Herod the Great died. So the Kingdom of God won the first round in the battle between kingdoms.