"Christmas: Birth of a Baby-King"
TEXTS: Matt. 2, 28:16-20; Rev. 4, 19:16; John 1
1. People typically display one of three reactions when they encounter the person and work of Christ: (1) hatred, (2) indifference, or (3) worship. We find all three reactions in both the New Testament and in our world today.
2. Possibly because of the legacy of faith left behind by Daniel during his time in exile and captivity, the presence of the magi around the birth of Jesus is a ‘big deal’. They were known culturally as “kingmakers.” Meaning, they were an influential group who affirmed and directed the governmental powers of the day. When you understand the historical context of the magi you can see how fitting it was for them to be present and offer worship to King Jesus following His earthly arrival.
3. There are several credible theories concerning the star in the sky that led the magi to Christ’s birthplace. The most fitting explanation seems to be that it was a supernatural manifestation of God’s shekinah glory.
4. Every child of God should consider the magnitude and implications of receiving eternal life. Although there are many things (both good and bad) to think about and focus on in our daily lives, every believer should strive to include intentional meditation about eternal life into the rhythm of their lives. Having such a practice built into the rhythm of our lives will help ignite passion within us regarding Christ and His Kingdom.
5. What was the primary purpose of the miracles that Jesus performed during His earthly ministry? They were “pointing” to a divine proclamation and revelation of truth. Each miraculous demonstration reveals Jesus’ superiority and control over a particular aspect of creation (an aspect in which the exercising of control over it points to the reality that Jesus was/is divine).
6. The powers of darkness work against the heirs of salvation in hopes that they will “delay” their personal judgment. The Lord will direct His saving power back towards His chosen people–the Jewish nation–but will do so only after the ‘Church Age’ is over. We are currently in the Church Age where God has directed His saving work towards gentile people, and the powers of evil are aiming to slow down the expansion of God’s Kingdom during the Church Age and ultimately delay their final judgment. This reality is often referred to as “spiritual warfare.”
7. Believers should not find themselves fearing the end of the Church Age and life as we know it (marked by Jesus’ triumphant return to earth as King). For those who have been clothed with the righteousness of Christ, His return will not bring anything negative for us to deal with–only good things. But it will signify the end of sin, suffering, death, pain, and evil. And there is nothing that a person can do to change this event from taking place–Jesus will return. But each person gets to decide how they will participate in His return. Will they gladly welcome the return of their King and Savior, or will they shrink in fear and realize they have made a tragic and eternal mistake concerning the trajectory of their lives?
TALK TO EACH OTHER:
1. Believers should intentionally think about what it means to have received eternal life (Truth Four). This practice is often referred to as "meditation." Are there any helpful truths, directives, or pieces of general knowledge that you have learned concerning the practice of Christian meditation that may be helpful for others to hear?
2. Why is it important to understand the primary purpose of the miracles that Jesus performed during His earthly ministry?
3. How can a believer discern if they are experiencing spiritual warfare? Is it something that comes in and out of our lives depending on the season of life we are in, or is it something more constant that we must battle every day? Additionally, what must a believer do to ensure that they remain faithful to Christ when they find themselves in the trenches of spiritual warfare?
TALK TO GOD:
Pray as you feel led concerning the following areas:
- That the magnitude of eternal life would ignite zeal and fervency in our souls
- That the Holy Spirit would fill and empower us as we walk through spiritual warfare