December 22, 2019

Advent 2019 – Week 4: Faith

Listen. Matthew 1:18-25 tells the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. Names in this story are very important as they reveal Jesus’ identity and his mission. Here are some key names: 

  • Jesus’ adoptive father is called “Joseph Son of David.” David was Israel’s greatest king and God promised him that one of his sons (descendants) would be king forever. 
  • The child born to Mary is to be called “Jesus.” Jesus means “God saves” and he is given this name because he will save us from our sins. This is Jesus’ mission. 
  • Jesus is also called Immanuel, which means, “God with us.” Jesus, who is conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, is not only God, he is God come to be with us. This is Jesus’ identity. 
  • Finally, Jesus is also called Christ (or Messiah), which means, “The Anointed One,” as in “The Anointed Forever King.” This is Jesus’ title. 

Respond. Most people in Jesus’ day would have thought they were “all-set” when it came to their sin problem. They assumed that God’s “Anointed Forever King” would come to save them from their enemies, not their own sin. Be personal and specific.

  • What sins has Jesus come to save you from?
  • If sin is our biggest problem, how should we prepare ourselves for Jesus’ coming this Advent season?
  • What will you do?

Jesus’ name, Immanuel, means that he is not only God, he is God come down to be with us. This is important because our sin separates us from God and separation from God is death.  We are vulnerable to oppressors, because we walked away from God. Israel was oppressed by Rome, because they were separated from God. God could get rid of Rome, but Rome would have been replaced by another oppressor. 

It is the same with us. We face all sorts of oppressors in our world today: addiction, abusive relationships, poverty, and most of all death.

  • How would your life change if you fully believed that God is with you always because Jesus is Immanuel?
  • How will this change your view of death?
  • How will this change your view of life? How will you live differently.

Having Jesus our King come down to us something we desperately need, but sometimes when Jesus shows up, he throws our lives into chaos.

  • How was Joseph’s life turned upside down through Mary’s pregnancy and the birth of Jesus?
  • How was he challenged to trust God?
  • How are you challenged to trust God?
  • What area of your life are you reluctant to surrender to Jesus your King?
  • What will you do about it? 

This is the fourth week of Advent, and this week we light the two purple candles the pink candle we lit last week and the third purple candle which is called the “Angel’s candle.” Remember the role the angel played in Joseph’s journey of faith with God.  Read Isaiah 7:10-16 together, which predicts Jesus’ virgin birth and his name, Immanuel. God had to become a man in order to save us from our sins, but he was born of a virgin because he is also the sinless Son of God. 

Share. What have you learned from this study that God is moving you to share with someone else? Who is this person you are to share this with? Make a plan to share what you have learned with this person.

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