BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 1, Day 5: Matthew 1:18-25

Summary of passage:  Jesus’ mother, Mary was pledged to marry Joseph but before they got married she became pregnant through the Holy Spirit.  Joseph was going to divorce her until an angle of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and told him that the baby was from God and to not be afraid.  Name him Jesus because he will save his people from sin.

This fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy (Isaiah 7:14) of a virgin giving birth to a son named Immanuel, “God with us”.  When Joseph awoke he obeyed the angel of the Lord and married Mary but did not sleep with her until she gave birth to Jesus.

Questions:

9a)  Genesis 3:15:  Christ will come from the line of Eve and will crush Satan

Genesis 49:8-12:  The scepter (or the kingship) will not depart from Judah until Christ comes to whom the kingship belongs and al the nations obey him i.e. Christ will come from Judah’s line.

Psalm 2:7:  Here God declares Jesus to be His son.  This whole Psalm is a prophecy of the Messiah.

Isaiah 7:14:  A virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son whose name shall be Immanuel.

Isaiah 9:6-7:  A child will be born and given to us (God’s son) and he will rule and be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.  He will bring peace to the nations and reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom with justice and righteousness forever.

b)  Isaiah 7:14 in Matthew 1:23:  Isaiah is quoted, saying a virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son called Immanuel or “God with us”.

10a)  Joseph did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  My plan it seems is never God’s plan so I have umpteen examples from my life.  I wouldn’t use the word “prove” though; I’d say “reluctantly followed” with much screaming and kicking along the way!  Seriously, with this whole teaching thing.  I believe it’s God’s will and I’m following it even though I never dreamed as a child I’d be a teacher.  Same with writing.  Same with motherhood.  Same with wifehood.  Etc.

11a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Well, adultery was punishable by death in ancient times so Mary was putting her life at risk by carrying God’s child.  She would have been scorned, looked down upon, shunned, etc by all her family and friends with a pregnancy out-of-wedlock.

Same for Joseph.  He was probably shunned as well for taking a wife who was pregnant instead of divorcing her.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The ultimate:  to be Jesus’ parents!  Also, God’s blessing beyond belief.  Eternal life.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I don’t like the word “suffer” here because being faithful to God does not always entail suffering nor do I believe you have to suffer for your faith.  Anytime you are called by God and you are faithful you are rewarded either here or there (heaven), either in things you can see or not see.

It’s very difficult to compare what Joseph and Mary went through to what we go through in the US in the twenty-first century as opposed to the first century.  We live in a very tolerate society and even if we do suffer for our faith it’s not usually a life or death suffering.  It’s more of a quality of life type of suffering.

We should all be encouraged and grateful when we compare our lives to Joseph’s and Mary’s.

Conclusions:  Didn’t like 11c if you couldn’t tell and the more I thought about it the more I didn’t like it.  You don’t have to suffer for your faith.  Suffering is in the mind anyways.  If you look upon your life as a blessing, you won’t suffer despite all the hardships for it’s all a gift from Him.  It’s the victim mentality.  You either choose to be a victim.  Or you choose to be blessed.  It’s up to you.

While I love the time period I have been born into and our tolerate society, we have sacrificed morals and values to be so tolerate.  I watched the movie “42” over the weekend which is the Jackie Robinson story.  The coach of Jackie’s team was suspended for one year because he committed adultery.  You’d never see that in today’s society where it seems to be flaunted instead.  Thus, in some respects, I think you can go too far the other way.

Yearly Tip:  I encourage all of you to read the passages before and after.  In this instance, the entire Psalm 2 passage is a prediction of Jesus Christ.  You get a more complete picture reading the entire Psalm than just reading one verse stuck in the middle.

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BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 1, Day 4: Luke 1:26-38

Summary of passage:  God sent Gabriel to Nazareth in Galilee to Mary, a virgin engaged to Joseph, a son of David.  He tells her she is highly favored by God and that she will give birth to God’s son whom you will call Jesus.  He will be given the throne of David; he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.

Mary wonders how she will have a baby and Gabriel says through the Holy Spirit.  Even her relative Elizabeth will have a baby in her old age because nothing is impossible with God.  Mary says she is the Lord’s servant.

Questions:

7a)  1)  He will be great

2)  He will be called the Son of the most High

3)  The Lord will give him the throne of his father David

4)  He will reign over the house of Jacob forever

5)  His kingdom will never end

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Holy Spirit.  Genesis 1:2 speaks about how the Spirit of God was there in the world from the beginning.  Job says how the Spirit of God has made him and given him life.  John says how the Spirit gives birth to the Spirit.  I connect this as the Spirit is responsible for all living things and since the Spirit lives within us all (the Holy Spirit in believers), the Spirit was responsible for Jesus’ birth.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God is in control of my life and He rules over all.  I need not worry for it is all in His hands no matter what happens in my little life.

8a)  She unequivocally accepted God’s will in her life despite the hardships she knew she’d face being pregnant before marriage.  She didn’t question.  She humbly submitted to God’s will in her life.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We are being forced to move because our landlord sold our rental.  We didn’t want to move at all and have no idea where we will end up, but I am trying to accept it as God’s will and that He has something better in store for us.  I am also trying to accept His will in my life in terms of a job.

Conclusions:  I see this as a trend probably this year that we will be continually comparing Matthew with the other gospels when the passages are parallel in order to glean more insight into Jesus’ life.  Normally, I protest this but I think this will deepen the study and is a great way to study the passages of Matthew.

I also see a lot of personal questions right off the bat.  I’m assuming this will continue as well.

Fun Facts:  This is the first mention of Nazareth in the Old or New Testaments (it was unmentioned in the Old Testament).

Mary is the Greek name for Miriam (Moses’ sister), which means “exalted one.”

Many cultures (in fact, most) have myths that have gods having children with humans. But only in Christianity is there a virgin birth.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 1, Day 3: Matthew 1:18-25

Summary of passage:  Jesus’ mother, Mary was pledged to marry Joseph but before they got married she became pregnant through the Holy Spirit.  Joseph was going to divorce her until an angle of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and told him that the baby was from God and to not be afraid.  Name him Jesus because he will save his people from sin.

This fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy (Isaiah 7:14) of a virgin giving birth to a son named Immanuel, “God with us”.  When Joseph awoke he obeyed the angel of the Lord and married Mary but did not sleep with her until she gave birth to Jesus.

Questions:

5a)  Jesus, which is the Greek form of Joshua, which means the Lord saves (verse 21) and Immanuel, which means “God with us.” (verse 23).  I’ve also seen in Hebrew “Yahweh is salvation”.  Yahweh is Hebrew for God.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus has saved me from my sins, ensuring my ascension to heaven and God is with me wherever I go, which provides me with great comfort, especially now as we are in the midst of another move.  He is in me through the Holy Spirit which drives my every step in this life.

6a)  John 3:17:  God sent his son to save the world through him.

John 8:24: If you do not believe in Jesus, you will die in your sins (the word “saved” is not used in this verse.  Wondering if this is a misprint).

John 10:14-16:  Jesus laid down his life for us (again, “saved” is not used).

Acts 4:12:  Only Jesus can save us.

Romans 10:9:  If you believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead then you will be saved.

Ephesians 2:5,8:  Through God’s grace (a gift from Him) alone have we been saved as long as we believe in Him.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  In the Christian faith, it’s all positive.  I am saved by Jesus’s death on the cross so I get to go to heaven.  If we are talking secular, then it could be either.  In the independent minds of most Americans (and American women) some don’t want to be “saved” by anyone.  I like being saved personally.  For I have been saved many times by many a person God has placed in my path.  God saves us even when we’re not talking about eternal salvation.

Conclusions:  I’m assuming since saved is in quotes it’s supposed to appear in the passages but in two it does not.  That frustrates me.  Question 6b is a puzzler because there is definitely a broad interpretation of this word.  Webster’s Dictionary alone has 4 separate definitions, each with numerations under those.

Matthew here focuses on where Jesus came from.  Luke goes into details about Jesus actual birth.

End Note:  The name “Jesus” was fairly common at the time and God elevated its significance.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 1, Day 2: Matthew 1:1-17

Summary of passage:  A listing of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham.  There were 14 generations in all from Abraham to David and 14 from David to the exile in Babylon and then 14 more to Christ.

Questions:

3a)  Tamar married Er, Judah’s firstborn son; but Er was put to death by the Lord because he was wicked.  By law, Tamar was given to Er’s brother, Onan, in order to bear children.  However, Onan refused to have children with her so he was put to death as well.

Judah was afraid his final son, Shelah, would die as well so he sent Tamar away.  Tamar, tired of waiting and understanding she’d never have Shelah, tricked Judah into sleeping with her.  She became pregnant and bore twins, Perez and Zerah–Perez being an ancestor of Jesus.

Rahab–After Moses died, Joshua was hand-picked by God to lead His people into the Promised Land and in order to do so, they had to defeat those already living there. Joshua sends two spies to scout the land before they attack.  They end up staying with Rahab, a prostitute and a Gentile.  The King of Jericho tells Rahab to send the spies to him.  She told the King that the spies had left the city when in fact she had hidden them in her roof.  In return, Rahab asks that she and her family be spared from God’s wrath.  She helped the spies escape and told them where to hide.  In the end, Rahab and her family were the only ones spared when Joshua conquered Jericho.

Ruth–Ruth was a Moabite woman (a Gentile) who had married a man from Bethlehem, a Jew, who had traveled to Moab along with his mother during a famine.  He died and Naomi, the mother, desired to return to her homeland.  She freed her daughters-in-law to return to their people but Ruth refused, her love so strong for Naomi, saying she goes where Naomi goes.

So they return to Bethlehem where Ruth meets Boaz, a distant relative of Naomi’s.  Ruth works in Boaz’s fields, collecting the leftover grain from the harvest in order to care for Naomi.  This garners the attention of Boaz who ultimately takes her as his wife.

“Wife of Uriah”–  Better known as Bathsheba, she is coveted by King David who commits adultery with her and she then conceives.  Hoping to cover-up the affair, David calls Uriah the Hittite home who out of duty does not sleep with Bathsheba.  Therefore, David puts Uriah up front in battle and he is killed, leaving him free to marry Bathsheba.  There’s only one problem:  God knows David’s sin and God is not happy.  Thus, God punishes David by killing the child.  David worships the Lord despite his hardship and the Lord grants him another child, Solomon.

Mary–The Virgin Mother of Jesus whom God chose to bear His son.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It show’s God’s ability to work with all sorts of people–and to work through sin.  There is no criteria one must meet in order to be chosen by God and do His works.  Jesus was not from a pure aristocratic line.  Also, it shows God’s love of all of His people, including women, who were at this time considered mere objects and property.  Some Jewish men at that time prayed to God every day and thanked Him that they were not born a woman.

By using Gentiles and woman in Jesus’ line, we see that the New Covenant is meant for all.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Firstly, Rahab for she risked her life to save strangers–all because they followed God.  Secondly, Ruth who left her homeland for hardship to stay by Naomi’s side.  Thirdly, Tamar albeit she used deceit, she was following God’s law at the time and calling Judah out.  Bathsheba and Mary I would say no.  David took Bathsheba.  I don’t think she had much of a choice in the matter.  Mary accepted, also accepting God’s will.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I believe I’m called to teach so I applied for teaching jobs.

4a)  The prophets foretold that the Messiah would be a king and therefore Jesus must come from kings as kingship is usually hereditary.  It validates Jesus as the Messiah so he wouldn’t be considered just some charlatan or imposter.

The Messiah would come from the line of Abraham:  Genesis 22:17-18:  “Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed.”  Genesis 12:3 says the same.

2 Samuel 7:16:  God’s promise to David: “Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.”

2 Samuel 7:12-13:  God’s promise to David”  “…I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom.  He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.”

Isaiah 9:7  “He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom…from that time on and forever.”

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus must come from God’s people (the Jews).  Genesis 3:15 God says to the devil “And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head and you will strike his heel.”  It’s important to establish who Jesus is and what his job is here on earth.

To convince the Jews that Jesus is the Messiah.  Jesus had to fulfill the Old Testament prophecies or they would never believe.

Conclusions:  Great start to the year!  Challenging questions which establish the importance of Jesus.  I liked reading about the women.  It’s a great refresher and also some of the best stories in the Bible.

The Jewish people of Jesus’ time looked to the Old Testament for their Messiah and in the Old Testament the prophets foretold how the people would recognize the Messiah when he arrived.  Known as the Messianic prophecies, there are 44 specific things to look for.   This website had a complete list of prophecies from the Old Testament and their fulfillment in the New:

http://christianity.about.com/od/biblefactsandlists/a/Prophecies-Jesus.htm

End Note:  Matthew’s list is not the complete genealogy.  There are glaring people left out, namely Jehoiakim (2 Chronicles 36:5-8), who was such a wicked king of Israel that God promised through Jeremiah that a descendant of his would not sit on the throne (Jeremiah 36:30-31).  This posed a problem and this is where Luke’s genealogy comes into play.  Jehoiakim is a relative of Joseph but since Jesus was not a blood son of Joseph the curse does not apply to him.

Mary’s line, the true blood line of Jesus, goes through a different son of David namely Nathan (Luke 3:31), thus exempting Jesus from Johoiakim’s curse.

Why did Matthew leave out people in his listing?  Scholars say it was typical of Jewish custom to skip generations in their recordings.  Also, it was easier to memorize with 14, 14, 14.  Matthew’s goal may have been to get the most important (in his view) listed and skip the rest.