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.