Readings and Reflection Questions
Friday September 11, 2020 Matthew 1:1-17
- Who are the major persons in this genealogy, or background story, and why are they important? (For further study see Genesis 12:1-3, 49:8-10, and Psalm 89:3-4, 25-28, which alludes to 2 Samuel 7.)
- Which major characters in the Old Testament are missing from this list?
- Which parts of Jesus’ background story, or sections of the genealogy, are you most familiar with?
- How does a person’s genealogy relate to their sense of identity and status?
- Say or write a prayer of gratitude for how God worked through the history implied in this genealogy to unfold a plan for our redemption.
Saturday September 12, 2020 Matthew 1:18-24
- What titles or designations are used in this chapter to indicate the person who is the rightful “king of the Jews?”
- Optional: See the Wikipedia Article: “Christ (title).”
- What is the meaning implied in the name Jesus?
- What can we conclude about Joseph’s character based on how he responds first to Mary’s pregnancy and then to the angel’s instructions?
- How difficult do you think it was for Joseph to accept the ‘virgin birth’? How difficult is it for you?
- To what degree do you think the unfolding of God’s plan of salvation depends on how individuals respond to his Word?
Sunday September 13 Matthew 1:23: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
- What language in this verse teaches that Jesus is fully human?
- What language in this verse teaches that Jesus is fully divine?
- How does this verse connect with the final verse in Matthew’s Gospel, “I will be with you to the end of the age?”
- Try to recall some moments when you first felt, or most powerfully felt, that God was with you. Go back to those memories and see if you can feel again what you felt then. Think about what was happening then and what were you believing? Say a prayer of thanks to God, expressing your personal faith and asking for greater awareness that he is with you today.
Monday September 14 Matthew 2:1-18
- How does this account support Matthew’s theme that the Gospel of the Kingdom of God is for Gentiles, or all nations?
- Why was it dangerous for the baby Jesus to have been identified as the rightful king of the Jews?
- Optional: See the Wikipedia Article: “Biblical Magi.”
- Notice the references to fulfilled prophecies in this section, and consider why was it important to Matthew to include these references?
- How would you describe the differences between the culture and mindset of people then and now with regard to dreams, prophecies, and astrology?
Tuesday September 15 Matthew 2:19-23
- Referring back to the prophecy cited in 2:15, “Out of Egypt I have called my son,” look up these references, Exodus 4:22-23; Hosea 11:1, and answer the question: Who is referred to as God’s son in these Old Testament passages?
- Under what circumstances can an individual represent or embody a whole nation or people group in their own person?
- What does it tell us about Jesus’ identity that he was perhaps most commonly known as Jesus of Nazareth?
- See John 1:46. What does Nathaniel’s question imply about the reputation of Nazareth?
- To what degree do you identify with the place in which you live (e.g. Texan)?
Wednesday September 16 Matthew 3:1-17
- According Matthew’s citation from the prophet Isaiah, whose way was being prepared by John the Baptist?
- What does this tell us about Jesus’ identity, as understood both by Matthew and by John?
- What did the baptism of John indicate, or on what was it conditioned?
- What did many Pharisees and Saducees rely upon to guarantee a favored relationship with God?
- What did John seem to understand it to mean that the one whose way he was preparing would baptize with fire and the Holy Spirit?
Thursday September 17 Matthew 3:15
- How is the Triune God revealed in Jesus’ baptism?
- What connections can you make between this and Jesus’ statement that his baptism was to “fulfill all righteousness” (3:15)?
- How does John’s baptism differ from the baptism Matthew later speaks for making disciples: baptizing [the nations] in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?
Thursday Night Class Powerpoint: Click to view Session 2 The Person and Mediation of Christ
Thursday Night Class Recording: Click here to listen