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Bible Studies

Matthew, Mark and Luke
Lesson 1
The Birth of Jesus

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Reading assignment for this lesson: Matthew 1:18-24, 2:1-23, Luke 1:1-80, 2:1-40

Matthew and Luke are the only two Bible books that mention Jesus' birth. Most of the details come from Luke, with Matthew adding the story of the wise men. Most of us know and love the nativity story, but it is more than just a narrative of Jesus' birth. It also gives us important clues about the nature of Jesus' ministry and mission.

1. What do you hope to gain from studying Matthew, Mark and Luke?

2. What useful things did you learn from reading the Introduction?

3. What was the gospel writers' purpose for writing their gospels? (See Mark 1:1, Luke 1:1-4, John 20:30-31.)

4. What news did the angel Gabriel bring to the priest Zechariah? (See Luke 1:5-15, 57-80, Matthew 3:1-6.)

5. a) What was Zechariah's failing in Luke 1:18?
b) How did Zechariah receive what he asked for from the angel?

6. How was Mary's response to the news that she would be the mother of the Messiah (Luke 1:26-56) similar to Zechariah's response to the angel? How was it different?

7. How did Joseph respond to the news that his fiancé Mary was pregnant? (See Matthew 1:18-25.)

8. Some Christians believe Mary, as the mother of God's Son, has a special place in heaven and deserves great honor and devotion. Others see Mary as exceptionally faithful and loving, but still just a plain woman. What do you think?

9. Zechariah wanted to see a miraculous sign before he would believe the angel Gabriel? Does your faith depend on having proof of God's works? (See Matthew 12:38-40, 16:1-4, Mark 8:11-12, John 4:48, 20:27-29, 1 Corinthians 1:20-25.)

10. How do the circumstances of Jesus' birth (Luke 2:7) foreshadow His life and ministry? (See Matthew 5:3, 6:19-21, Luke 16:13.)

11. Being a shepherd was a lowly occupation. Why would shepherds be the first people privileged to see the Savior? (See Matthew 5:3, 5, 11:25-26, 18:2-4, Luke 1:46-55.)

12. The wise men (or magi) traveled many miles to worship Jesus and bring Him gifts. Instead of seeking God, in what ways do we sometimes expect God to come find us and bring us gifts?

13. Why was King Herod frightened (Matthew 2:1-8) by the news of the birth of the Messiah (the Anointed One)? (See Isaiah 45:1, Jeremiah 23:5, Micah 5:2.)

14. Herod's brutality (Matthew 2:16-18) is shocking, but can you think of equally or even more brutal acts in recent times?

15. Matthew was writing to a Jewish audience and was very concerned with showing that Jesus was the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah. Which verses from this lesson illustrate that concern?

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