Sunday School Preview: December 7, 2014

God has provided Jesus as “God with us;” therefore, we are responsible to obey his Word and praise his name.  Check out some thoughts about our upcoming lesson from Matthew 1:1–25 — “The King is Born.”

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“And she will bring forth a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).”

This week begins a series leading up to Christmas where we want kids know and treasure the real Christmas story.

This first week we are going to study Matthew 1:1–25. Matthew is a gospel written by a Jew, to Jews, about a Jew who was the King of the Jews.[1]

One of Matthew’s goals in writing was to demonstrate that Jesus was the promised Messiah.

To that end Matthew gives us two reasons that Jesus is the Messiah and an example of how to obey God even when your life is flipped upside-down.

The First Reason

The first reason Matthew records takes the form of a genealogy from vv. 1–17 where he shows us that Jesus came from the line of Abraham, through Judah, and through David. Without comment Matthew notes four particular women that were part of Jesus’ ancestry: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba.

If you know anything about those ladies, they all have something special about them. Tamar used crafty means of having her son Perez; Rahab was a prostitute who repented and helped Israel spy on Jericho; Ruth was a widow from Moab; and Bathsheba was the wife of a soldier of David . . .

All of this, along with the hundreds of other small connections throughout the names listed, should point us to God’s sovereign hand in the redemption that he was working for his people.

The Second Reason

The second reason Matthew records is a promise and its fulfillment. Namely, Jesus Christ was born of Mary, the betrothed wife of Joseph, who was a virgin. In v. 22 Matthew tells us that this birth took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel.”

Matthew quotes from Isaiah 7:14, which is God’s chosen sign for his people. God picked the sign because Ahaz, in his false piety, says, “I will not put the Lord to the test.” Side-note, if God ever tells you to pick a sign to bolster your faith, ask for something!

Anyway, Isaiah replied to king Ahaz, “the Lord himself will give you a sign (since you are too chicken to ask for one). Behold, a virgin . . .” The context of this promise makes perfectly clear that the term which is translated “virgin” is correctly rendered. Some argue that it should simply read “maiden.” They, however, miss the point of the sign.

What kind of sign is it if a young woman gets pregnant? Happens all the time . . . A good sign is a virgin becoming pregnant, then you would know God is at work. That’s exactly what God did ultimately with Jesus’ birth.

Also note that in Luke 1:47, Mary herself makes clear that she is a sinner in need of a savior. She isn’t perfect. And, contrary to some teaching, she had children after Jesus was born. James and Jude were two of her children who went on to write the epistles that bear their names.

The Example of Joseph

The example we have in this passage is of Joseph’s righteousness and obedience to God. Put yourself in Joseph’s shoes for a moment. Time elapses between knowing Mary is with child and the angel’s appearing. Those words “he considered these things” were probably excruciating. Joseph is losing his betrothed, and he feels the weight of rejection possibly for another man . . .

His life was getting flipped upside down. He loved Mary and didn’t want her to wear the “scarlet letter,” and so he resolved to divorce her quietly. Matthew is the only gospel to note that Joseph was just in seeking to divorce Mary. He was a man who desired to honor God and love his wife. God in his sovereign grace granted that while Joseph was considering his dilemma he receive a word from the Lord. Joseph, after this dream, v. 24 notes he did precisely as he was commanded. He wed Mary, kept her chaste, and named the child Jesus.

Bookended with God’s presence

To end, consider this interesting observation: the name Immanuel is defined by Matthew as “God with us.” Matthew also records Jesus’ last words after the great commission as, “Behold I am with you always…”

The story of Jesus from beginning to end demonstrates that Jesus was and is “God with us.”

Matthew demonstrated that Jesus was the messiah with two reasons (his ancestral line & virgin birth), and Matthew gave us an example of obeying God through rough trials.

In Summary

God has sovereignly provided messiah Jesus as “God with us;” therefore, we are responsible to obey his word and praise his name!

These are some of my thoughts about this week’s lesson. I pray that God will use you to convey this lesson and change the hearts of kids to love him.

See you Sunday!


[1] From “The King is Born” 1.3 Bible Background.

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David ChristensenDavid Christensen
David Christensen is a pastoral intern at Faith Church. He is married to his wife Kelly of more than 3 years. He regularly attempts to blog at http://HisGloryYourJoy.blogspot.com, and can be followed on twitter here.  
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