Archive for the ‘birth’ tag
The text for this lesson is Luke 1:26–38.
- Because of Christ, God favored Mary and chose her to be the mother of the Savior. Because of Christ, God favors us and chooses us to be His children.
- Law: Like Mary, I deserve nothing from God because of my sinfulness.
- Gospel: God gives me unmerited grace and favor because of His Son.
- Why is it absolutely essential that we maintain that Jesus was conceived without a human father while Mary was a virgin?
- Gabriel says to Mary in Luke 1:37 that “nothing will be impossible with God.” How could this verse be misused by Christians today? How should we apply it?
- Is it appropriate to call Mary “the mother of God”?
- What is the traditional date for observation of the annunciation (Gabriel’s announcement to Mary of Jesus’ conception)? Does your congregation celebrate the annunciation?
- The angel Gabriel came to both Zechariah and Mary with prophecies of extraordinary births. Compare Zechariah’s response in Luke 1:18 with Mary’s responses in 1:34, 38. How are they different? What could account for the differences between their responses? What can we learn from this comparison?
- In Luke 1:28, Mary is called “favored one,” and in 1:30, she is told that she has “found favor with God.” What does favor mean? See Genesis 6:5–8 for the first instance of the word favor in the Bible. What caused God to favor Noah? What caused God to favor Mary? How does this help us see that we are justified by grace?
- Joshua was the successor of Moses and led the children of Israel triumphantly into the Promised Land. His name means “the Lord helps” or “the Lord saves.” In a way, Joshua was a savior of Israel. Jesus is the Greek form of the name Joshua. In Luke 1:31, Gabriel tells Mary that she will call her son Jesus. How does Jesus’ name reveal who He is? See Matthew 1:21. How does Matthew define what kind of Savior Jesus is?
- Read 2 Samuel 7:11b–16 and Isaiah 9:6–7. The first is a prophecy from the Lord given through the prophet Nathan to King David that there would come after him a King (Messiah or Christ) whose throne would endure foreHow does Luke emphasize that Jesus will fulfill the Jewish hope for the long-awaited Messiah?
How does he reveal that Jesus is not a mere earthly king but is actually God Himself?ver. The second is a prophecy from Isaiah concerning the Messiah. Compare these prophecies to Luke 1:27, 32–33, 35, and note similar phrases.
- The liturgy and confessions that we use in the Church help connect us historically to God’s people of all times. Much of our liturgy is derived from the Psalms, the prayer book of the Old Testament. The Sanctus is from Isaiah 6, the Aaronic Benediction is from Numbers 6, and more Old Testament examples could be given. Of course, New Testament phrases and songs also appear in the liturgy. We also confess our faith through the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, which declare what we believe about the God who created the world, redeemed us by the cross of Jesus, and sanctifies us through the Holy Spirit’s continuing work.
As we read the Old and New Testaments, we learn that they are truly part of the story of our lives as Christians. Christian doctrines are not just abstract statements disconnected from reality but are living descriptions of God’s gracious dealings with His people of all times. We see an example of this in Mary. Where do we find her in our creeds and liturgy? How does the Church properly remember Mary?
- In Luke 1:35, Gabriel says to Mary that “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.” Though Jesus is uniquely the Son of God, in what way can all Christians be called “holy” and “sons of God” through the work of the Holy Spirit? See 1 Corinthians 6:11; John 3:5; Galatians 3:26–27; and Romans 8:14–17.
- A literal translation of Luke 1:28 from the Greek would be “Rejoice, favored woman, the Lord is with you.” Gabriel indicates that the Lord’s favor toward and presence with Mary are cause for rejoicing. In what unique sense was the Lord with Mary? See Matthew 1:23. Where do we find Immanuel today?
The text for this lesson is Luke 2:1–20.
- God chose to send His only Son, Jesus Christ, into the flesh to die for the sins of the world.
- Law: I have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.
- Gospel: In love, God sent His Son, Jesus, to pay the price for my sin.
- Law: Sin separates me and all people from God.
- Gospel: God sent Jesus to be “God with us,” making me His own dear child.
- At this time of year, we often hear the plea to “put Christ back into Christmas.” This is good and salutary, since we are inundated and overwhelmed with society’s “Christmas” of commercialism and materialism. But in the Church, should we also make the plea to get “cute little baby Jesus” out of Christmas? Why or why not?
- Did baby Jesus cry? If so, then why do we sing “The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes, But little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes” (LSB 364:2)? If He did make no crying, do we run the risk of soft pedaling His incarnation?
- Read Luke 2:1–7. Why does Luke begin the story of Jesus’ birth with mundane details of the Roman world? How does God use these ordinary, historical human events for His sacred, saving purposes?
- In verses 6–7, what do the details of Jesus’ birth tell us about His entrance into the world and His reception by the world? See also John 1:9–11.
- Read Luke 2:8–15. Luke goes from the low, matter-of-fact reporting of Jesus’ birth to the high, lofty apex of angels proclaiming the message and meaning of Christ’s birth! What are the three parts of the angelic message to the shepherds and what do they mean? See Luke 2:10, 11, 12.
- Compare the angels’ hymn of praise in Luke 2:14 with the song that the crowd sings when Jesus enters Jerusalem riding on a donkey in Luke 19:38. What do these two songs teach us about the purpose behind Jesus taking on our flesh and blood? What do they tell us about peace with God?
- Read Luke 2:15–20. In this section of the Christmas story, what reactions can you see to the good news of the Savior’s birth?
- How do the ordinary, even mundane, details of Jesus’ birth help you rejoice in the ordinary, little details of your life in this world?
- When do we get to sing the song “Glory to God in the Highest”? Why is this song a regular, ordinary part of our worship each Sunday, and what does it mean?
- How does the entire Divine Service serve as our weekly encounter with the Christ Child born in Bethlehem? Think of Luke 2:16–20 and the threefold response to the good news of a Savior born to bring great joy.
The text for this lesson is Luke 2:1–20.
- A Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord.
- Law: Because of my sin, I fear God as the shepherds did.
- Gospel: God’s Son, Jesus, takes away my fear and offers me true peace.
The text for this lesson is Luke 1:57–80.
- Zechariah spoke God’s Word announcing that John would give people knowledge of salvation in the forgiveness of sins. God speaks through His Holy Word to give me knowledge of salvation and forgiveness through Jesus, His Son.
- Law: God wants me to listen and obey Him, following His ways.
- Gospel: God looks at me through the obedience of Christ and is pleased.