Gospel Reading Guide – December 26, 2011 – January 1, 2012

How do I use this guide?

Luke 2:22-40

This scene takes place in the temple complex. When the Gospels and the book of Acts refer to entering the temple or teaching in the temple, it is often not a reference to Herod’s temple itself, but rather to this temple complex, including a number of courts and chambers that surrounded the temple [ESV Study Bible Notes].

The time of purification dates back to the time of Moses when God gave him instructions regarding the purification rituals of the mother and child after childbirth. It can be found in Leviticus 12:3-4. Jesus, being the firstborn male, was to be called holy to the Lord. The ritual sacrifice was a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons for a poor family. A well to do family would have offered a lamb. So we know from this that Mary and Joseph had limited means.

Who was Simeon? What did he say about Jesus that Mary and Joseph marveled at? What does it mean that “this child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many will be revealed.”? Who did Anna speak to regarding Jesus? What were they looking for? Notice in verse 40 that it says “and the grace of God was upon him.” What do you think that means?

John 2:1-11

Here we see Jesus come on the scene as an adult. Jesus and his disciples had been invited to celebrate as well as Jesus’ mother, Mary. The wedding took place in Cana in Galilee which according to some scholars was as nearby to Nazareth as 8.3 miles. What is it in the story that leads you to believe Mary is expecting a miracle? After all, where would they get enough wine to satisfy this crowd of people celebrating. There is an air of expectancy in Mary’s voice as she tell the servants to, “Do whatever he (Jesus) tells you.”

Jesus answers, “My time has not yet come.” What does this mean? Jesus is possibly thinking about his wedding day when he has the wedding feast to end all wedding feasts (See Revelation 19:9). He most likely is thinking about what it will cost him to provide wine for his wedding feast which is of course his death. Jesus does perform the miracle of changing the water into fine wine. Why do you think he does so? What does this miracle reveal about Jesus?

John 4:46-54

Here we see Jesus back in Cana of Galilee. Once again he is confronted with a difficult situation. The official’s son was very ill, to the point of death. Another impossible situation seems to creep in for Jesus. Jesus’ answer is quite direct, “Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders, you will never believe.” Jesus, then heals the boy without ever going to him.

Why was Jesus upset with the people according to this passage? What was necessary for the boy’s healing? What does this miracle say about Jesus’ power over life and death? What does this miracle say about the power of His word?

John 5:1-15

Some time after the healing of the official’s son, we see Jesus coming up to Jerusalem. This time we see Jesus coming up to the one who was in need of healing on the Sabbath saying, “Do you want to get well?”

It is important to note Jesus heals on the Sabbath. His is doing something completely taboo in Jewish culture. What does Jesus do here to heal the man who was an invalid? What does this say about Jesus’ power? What does this say about our cooperation in healing? One thing we need to understand is that God does not force himself upon man, but man has to have faith in cooperation with God. How does Jesus respond to the man when he sees him again in the temple?

Matthew 1:18-25

Matt. 1:18 Mary had been betrothed to Joseph. The custom of betrothal was different from “engagement” in modern society. Customarily the parents of a young man chose a young woman to be engaged to their son. A second stage of betrothal involved official arrangements and a prenuptial agreement before witnesses, which was a legally binding contract and could be broken only by a formal process of divorce. found to be with child. Mary is about four months pregnant, having spent three months with Elizabeth, her “relative” (Luke 1:36, 56) [ESV Study Bible Notes]

Why did Joseph plan to divorce Mary? What did the angel say to convince Joseph to stand by Mary and be united with her in marriage? Who conceived the child according to the angel? How does this change Joseph’s mind? .

John 6:41-47

John 6:43 The grumbling is reminiscent of the pattern of grumbling against God in the OT (e.g., Ex. 16:8; Num. 14:27; Ps. 95:8–9) [ESV Study Bible Notes].

John 6:44 No one can come to me means “no one is able to come to me” (Gk. dynamai means “to be able”). This implies that no human being in the world, on his own, has the moral and spiritual ability to come to Christ unless God the Father draws him, that is, gives him the desire and inclination to come and the ability to place trust in Christ (see notes on v. 37; 12:32) [ESV Study Bible Notes].

What does Jesus say here about how people come to him? Who draws the people to Jesus? How does Jesus relate himself to the Father here in this passage? What happens to those who believe according to verse 47?

John 8:12-19

Jesus fulfills OT promises of the coming of the “light” of salvation and the “light” of God (e.g., Ex. 25:37; Lev. 24:2; Ps. 27:1; Isa. 9:2; 42:6; 49:6; John 9:5; Acts 13:47; 26:18, 23; Eph. 5:8–14; 1 John 1:5–7) [ESV Study Bible Notes].

Here Jesus is testifying that he is the light of the world. The Pharisees take great offense to this. They refer to the rabbinic law that “No man can give witness for himself” (Mishnah, Ketub. 11. 9) as well as the Mosaic Law in Deuteronomy 17:6 and 19:15. Jesus counters with the statement that he knows where he came from which, of course, refers to the Father in heaven. He is testifying along with his Father that he is the light of the world.

Who does Jesus claim that His witnesses are? What does it mean that Jesus is the light of the world? What does it mean that, “Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”?

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