Bible ClinicJ One
A journey into the life, times, and teachings of the Bible.
Prepared by Gary D. Strunk
Lesson 2 - Bethlehem Morning Part 2
The hundreds of books, plays, songs, pictures, stories and legends about the birth of Jesus draw their inspiration from about eleven brief scenes recorded in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. AGospel@ means good news, in this case, the good news about Jesus. We have no other contemporary records in all the world about the birth of Jesus except what is found in the Bible. Our knowledge of these events depends upon the Biblical record. As you read the Bible you are reading the only contemporary documents we have of these historic events. In a short time you can become as knowledgeable as any other person on this topic just by studying these few passages, and passages in the Old Testament to which they refer.
In typical nativity scenes we see the baby Jesus lying in a manger surrounded by several animals, his mother and father, along with the shepherds and the wise men presenting their gifts to baby Jesus. But in the actual events the wise men didn=t arrive in Bethlehem for several weeks or months after they saw His star in the East. It takes time to organize a pilgrimage from Persia to Palestine. By the time they arrived, Jesus was no longer in the manger but in a house. Mt. 2:11. Perhaps taxation was over, leaving housing available for Mary and Joseph.
READ Mt. 2:1-18 Wise men from the East!
1. When the wise men from the East inquired at Jerusalem where the new-born king could be found, (Mt. 2:1,2) the chief priests and scribes knew because of the prophecy of Micah 5:2, written 700 years earlier. Where did Micah say the future ruler was to be born? Mt. 2:4-6 ___________________________
When the Jewish people were taken captive to Babylon in 605-597 B.C., they took their sacred scrolls. (The origin of the Jewish people will be described in lessons three and eight.) As outstanding Jewish men, such as Daniel and his three friends, rose to great authority in Babylon by the obvious hand of God, those Hebrew writings became highly esteemed by their captors as messages from the AMost High God.@ Now, 600 years later, the Awise men from the East@ followed the sign of the coming Messiah predicted in these writings.
2. Out of where was a star to come? Num. 24:17
3. Out of where was a scepter to rise? v. 17
_____________________ What does a scepter stand for? ___ a music conductor, ___ a ruler, ___ a fairy
4. The Wise Men said, AWe have seen His star in the East.@ Mt. 2:2 If a star was to appear over Jacob signaling the rise of the long awaited King who would have dominion, in which direction of the sky do you think the wise men living in the East saw the star? ____________
5. What was the One out of Jacob to have? Num. 24:19 ___________________________________
Be alert to the word dominion and to this promise. It runs throughout the whole Bible pointing to the time when and by whom all things will be restored to God=s people.
The royal visitors from the east were probably perplexed that all Jerusalem was not astir with festivity over the new-born king. They may have worried that they had not understood the star correctly. No wonder they rejoiced greatly at seeing the star. v.10. The Bible speaks in conservative tones. Thus when it says, Athey rejoiced with exceedingly great joy,@ they must have been out of their minds with joy.
READ Luke 2:1-20
6. How did God get Joseph and Mary to travel 70 miles so close to her time of delivery?
Lu. 2:1-7 _______________________________________________________________________________
Bethlehem is like the Acounty seat@ of Judah where birth records are kept and men register for the draft, or for taxation. It was one of the ?cities of David@ for King David was of the tribe of Judah.
7. Bethlehem is 70 miles south of Nazareth. Why do you think Joseph Awent up@ instead of down from Galilee into Judea? Lu. 2:4, cf. Lu.1:39 ______________________________________________________________
9. For how many people are the good tidings of Christ=s birth? Lu. 2:10 _____________________________
10. By what three titles is Jesus referred to by the angel? v.11 Match them with the following titles:
Note: Christ from the Greek Christos means the anointed [one], and is equivalent to Messiah in Hebrew meaning the anointed [one]
b._____________________ Jesus cf. Mt. 1:21
11. What did the shepherds do after they had seen the child? v. 17 ____________________________________
12. Forty days later Jesus is brought to Jerusalem to be dedicated to the LORD. Under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the same Holy Spirit who conceived Jesus in the womb of Mary, Simeon said that Jesus would be a light of revelation to whom? Lu. 2:32 _______________________________ A gentile is anyone who is not a Jew.
13. And what would Jesus be to the Jewish people, Israel? _________________________
14. We have now visited every scene in the New Testament telling of the birth of Jesus. Review the following texts and write a one-sentence description of who Jesus was and what He was to do.