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Birth of Jesus

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THE BIRTH OF JESUS 

Scripture: Matthew 1:18–24; Luke 1:26–33

Memory verse: Luke 1:31-32
“You will…give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.”

Lead—In

Bring an empty Coke or Fanta bottle to class. Begin by writing “Jesus Is Born” in large letter on a strip of paper. Roll up the paper and insert it into the bottle. Tell the students to pretend that you want to send a message to a friend by dropping this bottle into a river. Let them estimate how long it would take for the message to get from one part of the country to another. Ask the students what the likelihood would be that the message would reach the particular person. Allow them to discuss things that could happen to the message to prevent its arrival.

Let the students name other methods of communication used in the past. As each method is mentioned, discuss its speed and reliability in getting a message delivered. Point out that some methods are quite reliable while others could be risky to use in trying to get an important message to someone.

Ask the students to name some faster, more reliable means of communication used today (i.e. radio, TV, cell phone, computer, internet, etc.). List their suggestions on the chalkboard. Mention the ease of communicating with people today compared to communicating in the past.

Tell the students that the message of Salvation is so important and exciting it should be shared with everyone. Explain that this week’s lesson begins with a message sent by a special method of communication.

Hearing God’s Word

About 2,000 years ago God had a very important message for the world. (Ask a student to read Luke 1:26, 27.)

Ask: “How did God choose to send His message?” (Allow response.) God sent an angel, Gabriel, as His messenger.

Ask: “How fast and effective do you suppose Gabriel was?” (Allow discussion.)

God had used Gabriel before to deliver important messages. Gabriel could not be stopped; nor could he get lost.

God’s Message

Ask: “To whom did God send the message?” (Allow responses.)

God sent the message to a young woman in a village called Nazareth. Who was she? What was the message? (Ask several students to each read a verse of Luke 1:28–33.) A part of this message is this week’s memory verse: “You will…give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High” Luke 1:31, 32). (Repeat the verse with the class.) The angel announced that Mary would soon be the mother of Jesus.

Ask: “How do you think Mary felt when she heard this news?” (Allow the students to discuss their opinions.)

At first Mary did not understand what the angel meant; she was confused by the message. (See Luke 1:29.) In addition she was probably frightened by the angel’s message and surprised that God would choose her. The angel, Gabriel, even told Mary what to name her Baby. (Refer again to the memory verse.) He said she was to call the baby “Jesus.”

A Special Baby

The angel said the Baby would be special. (Draw the outline of a crown on the chalkboard.)

Ask: “What are some things the angel said would be special about the Baby?” (Let the students read Luke 1:32, 33. List their responses inside the crown.)

Jesus would be great, the Son of God, and reign forever. Hearing that she was to be the mother of this special Baby must have been both exciting and frightening for Mary.

Joseph’s Reaction

Ask: “How did Joseph react when Mary told him about the Baby she would have?” (Allow response.)

Ask a student to read Matthew 1:18, 19.) Joseph found it hard to accept what Mary told him about an angel and his message that Mary would carry God’s Son. He was so concerned he considered breaking their engagement. After all, he and Mary were not yet married and now she was going to have a baby! This presented a serious problem for Joseph. Yet his love for Mary kept him from shaming her in public. He would quietly break their engagement.

Ask: “How was Joseph finally convinced that Mary was to be the earthly mother of God’s Son?” (Ask the students to silently read Matthew 1:20, 21.) God sent an angel to Joseph in a dream.

Ask: “What did the angel tell Joseph?” (Allow response.)

The angel convinced Joseph that Mary’s Baby was indeed the Son of God. He also told Joseph to name the child Jesus. Why should the Baby be named Jesus? Jesus means “Saviour.” He would save people from their sins.

Meaning of Names

(You may want to let the students look up meanings of several modern names. Many of them may have learned the meanings of their own names.)

In Bible times a person’s name was important. Each person was expected to live up to the meaning of his name. Jesus would certainly live up to His. (Write JESUS on the chalkboard in a vertical column.) One good way to remember the meaning of Jesus’ name is by using an acrostic of the name Jesus. (Write the acrostic on the chalkboard.)

        J—esus

        E—ternally

        S—aves

        U—s

        S—inners

Because Jesus came to earth on that first Christmas and later died for our sins, we can have our sins forgiven. When we repent of our sins and ask for forgiveness, God will forgive us because of Jesus’ death on the cross. The name Jesus is very appropriate; no wonder the angels told both Mary and Joseph what to name Him.

Fulfilment of Prophecy

(Ask a student to read Matthew 1:22, 23 and another to read Isaiah 7:14.) The Jews had been expecting the birth of a Saviour for a long, long time. Isaiah and some of the other books of the Old Testament contain prophecies about the Saviour. Mary helped to fulfil one of these prophecies. (Ask a student to name some added prophecies about Jesus.) After Joseph woke from his dream, he was confident that he could go ahead with the marriage plans.

(Turn to Luke 2:1–7 and ask the students to listen while you read the account of his birth.)

Just before Jesus was born, Joseph and Mary had to make a long trip to be counted in a census. Today when a census is taken by the government, all people have to do is fill in a form that is mailed to them. That was not true ion Joseph’s day. People had to travel many miles to the town of their ancestors. For Joseph, the town was Bethlehem.

Ask: “How do you suppose Mary and Joseph made the trip to Bethlehem?” (Allow responses.)

No one knows for sure. We are sure they did not fly or take a bus. They probably either walked or rode a donkey. Both methods would have taken a long time. Have you ever walked all day to get somewhere? If you have, you were probably very tired after walking all day long. It may have taken Mary and Joseph several days to reach Bethlehem. You can imagine how tired they must have been.

Jesus is Born

Mary and Joseph reached the village to find that it was already full of people who had come to be counted in the census. Because of that, there were no rooms any place for Joseph and Mary to stay. The best shelter they could find was a stable, a place where animals were kept and fed—somewhat like a barn today. While they were in Bethlehem staying in the stable, Jesus was born. There was no crib in the stable, so Mary wrapped Jesus in warm cloths and laid Him in a manger. The manger was a trough where the animals ate.

(Refer to the crown and acrostic drawn on the chalkboard.) It seems strange that the Son of God would come as a baby in such a lowly place. This Baby deserved to be born in the richest palace with a huge celebration. Yet Jesus was born in a stable and placed in a manger. He didn’t come to earth to received honour; He came to be our Saviour.

Jesus was born in a dirty, dark stable, but He came to be a light to show all people lost in darkness how to get to heaven.

Accepting God’s Word

Jesus came to earth as part of God’s plan to show us the way to heaven through His death. Encourage those in your class who have not yet accepted Jesus to do so today. He gave up the riches of heaven for us. All we have to do is believe He is God’s Son who died for our sins. Be sorry for our sin, and ask Him to forgive us.

This lesson has been about a message that changed history. Lives are changed when people accept Jesus’ love and forgiveness. It is a message for everyone.

Moor Prayer

Dear Lord, the Moor wait for a visit from You. You can reveal yourself to them through divine dreams, an angelic visitation or a personal appearance.

Usually you choose Your followers to represent You or reveal Yourself while people read the Scriptures.

I plead with You to visit these forgotten ones in any way You want, so that they may genuinely respond to Your holy calling. Let Your promise be fulfilled by saving people from the Moor and planting churches among them.

Let the heavenly hosts and us believers on earth rejoice in their great salvation! In Jesus’ name we ask it for Your glory and their good. Amen.

Remember: THE BIRTH OF JESUS

Memory verse: Luke 1:31-32
“You will…give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.”

1. The Spirit of God became a human being, Jesus.
2. Through knowing Jesus, I can understand more about God.
3. Now I am God's revelation of Jesus to others.

Pray for Moor men to meet Jesus, the Saviour.

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Study 5 | Come Holy Spirit/Born Again | africaatts.org/go-teach

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