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GOOD NEWS ABOUT JESUS 

Scripture: The Gospels; Luke 1:1–4, 4:16–22; John 20:31

Memory verse: John 20:31
"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."

Lead—In

Display several copies of different types of contracts. For example you might include a marriage license, a sales receipt with a warranty statement, or an employment form. Discuss each item with the students. Discuss the purpose of a contract. Ask them to suggest other types of contracts or agreements people might make. These can include simple agreements, such as a girl agreeing to baby-sit for a certain amount of money or a boy promising his parents he will keep his grades up if they allow him to play on the soccer team.

Explain that contracts spell out what each party says he will do. It is a way of assuring that each keeps his part of the agreement.

If time allows, you may want to pose the following situations for discussion:

As people are going about their business in the middle of a city, their attention is suddenly drawn by the sound of screeching tires, followed by a loud crash and the tinkling of shattering glass. A car has run a red signal light.

Soon the police arrive to get the facts. A policeman begins to question those standing nearby. Everyone who saw and heard the accident must now describe how the accident happened.

Ask the students to name the possible viewpoints represented at the scene. List the students’ responses on the chalkboard. They may include the viewpoints of the accident victims, office workers, pedestrians, shoppers, or other people in cars. Point out that there can be many different viewpoints to any event. All may be true and accurate, yet different.

The gospels are a contract in that they explain Jesus’ part (dying for our sins) and our part (repenting, asking forgiveness, and receiving Him) in salvation. They also represent four viewpoints of the life of our Saviour.

Hearing God’s Word

Our word gospel comes from the Greek word meaning “good news” or “glad tidings.” The Gospels were written by four men who were evangelists or “bringers of glad tidings.” All the Gospels were written during the first 60 years following Jesus’ crucifixion.

Each Gospel writer wrote his view of Jesus’ life and ministry. Let us focus on how they each developed their portrait of Jesus.

Matthew

Before he met Jesus, Matthew, the writer of the first Gospel, earned his living as a publican. Publicans were tax collectors for the hated Roman government. This fact would have rated Matthew low on the Jewish social scale. Many publicans were dishonest. Sometimes they charged people more taxes than they really owed. Then the publicans would keep the extra. Jesus was criticized for associating with publicans. But Jesus loved publicans too and wanted to change their lives. In fact, Matthew accepted Jesus and became one of the 12 disciples.

Matthew wrote his book mainly for the Jews. His theme or main reason for writing was to show Jesus as the King of the Jews and Saviour of the world. Matthew’s book brings the good news to Israel by depicting Jesus as Jehovah’s ideal King. Matthew presented the life and character of Jesus on earth as the fulfilment of messages given by the prophets. Matthew wanted his readers to see Jesus as more than just a man; He is truly the King of men.

(Have students turn to Matthew 1. Let them scan verses 1 through 17.) This listing of names is called a genealogy. Another term is family tree. In these verses, Matthew traced 42 generations of history beginning with Abraham and leading to Jesus. The Jews knew their promised Redeemer was to come through the line of David. They also recognized Abraham as the father of their nation. Since Matthew wanted to emphasise that Jesus is the Messiah of Israel, he began his genealogy with Abraham. We know Mary’s husband Joseph was not Jesus’ actual father—God was. But Joseph was recognized as Jesus’ legal father and it was through him the royal line of David’s throne would be traced.

Mark

Mark, the writer of the second Gospel, was a friend and co-worker of both Peter and Paul. Mark was a Jew, but his Gospel was directed toward non-Jewish people called Gentiles. It is believed the Gospel of Mark was written primarily for Gentile Christians. Some scholars also believe the Gospel of Mark was intended specifically for the Romans because of the energy and action expressed in it. Mark came right to the point in his writings. It is thought that this action-packed writing appealed to the Romans. Also, references regarding money mention Roman currency. In Mark 7:3, four Jewish customs are explained in great detail. This would not have been necessary if the book had been intended for Jews.

Mark portrays Jesus as God’s Servant. Jesus had a mission, and He performed every part of it willingly, without complaint, from His birth in a stable to His death on a cross. Most of the Gospel of Mark centres on Jesus’ ministry in Galilee and the events of His last week on earth. Unlike Matthew, no genealogy or report of Jesus’ early years is given in Mark’s writing; Romans would not have found the family history of a servant important or interesting. They probably would not even have known any of Jesus’ family.

Luke

Next in the Gospels is Luke. It is believed that Luke was a Gentile.

Ask: “Do you know what Luke’s profession was?” (Allow responses.)

Luke was a physician, a well-educated man. This is evident in the polished style of his writing.

In the days of the Early Church, many Greeks lived among the Jews. Some think Luke’s Gospel was directed to the Greeks. They were intelligent, cultured people who loved beauty, righteousness, and truth. Luke presents these same characteristics perfectly in Jesus.

The theme of Luke is Jesus, the Perfect and Divine Man. This was someone the Greeks were beginning to seek. For generations they had believed education was the answer to all problems. By this time, however, they could see that learning alone was not enough. There had to be something greater than learning and greater than themselves. Luke presented the Perfect Man to them in the person of Jesus Christ.

As the Perfect Man, Jesus was dependent upon God the Father; He was a friend to outcasts of society; He was caring and loving; He believed in loving one’s neighbour. (Assign the following Scripture references. Ask the class to decide which quality each shows: Luke 5:16, 28–32; 7:13; 10:27, 28.)

Luke gives a genealogy as Matthew did. Because Luke is presenting a picture of Jesus the Man, His family record emphasizes the natural line of Jesus. According to the rule of such genealogies, Luke begins with the Man himself and goes back to His ancestors. He lists Jesus’ genealogy in the opposite direction from Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus.

Because Luke is not writing about Jesus’ relationship to the Jews alone, he takes Jesus’ family tree all the way back to man’s first parents to show Jesus as the promised Seed and the descendant of Adam and Eve.

John

The author of the fourth Gospel is John, the brother of James. He is also the man whom Jesus entrusted with the care of His mother Mary. John, who also wrote 1, 2, and 3 John, wrote this Gospel a number of years after the others were written. John wrote this book for Christians to bring them into a closer relationship with the divine Son of God. He concentrates on the last 6 months of Jesus’ ministry with special emphasis on the last week.

The Holy Spirit directed John to include several things not found in the other Gospels. His main purpose for writing his account is stated in this week’s memory verse. (Recite the verse with the class. Ask the students to identify the key word—believe.) The theme of John’s Gospel is Jesus, the divine Son of God and Messiah. John shows Jesus as God. He points out those things that testify of Jesus’ deity: the Father, Son, Spirit, the written Word, and Jesus’ words.

Since John was writing about Jesus as God the Son, no earthly genealogy could have a place in his book. Instead, John tells us of Jesus’ divine origin. (Ask a student to read John 1:1. Highlight the fact that Jesus had no “beginning.” He has always existed.)

Varied Viewpoints

Each of the Gospel accounts gives us a different view of the life and ministry of Jesus. God had reasons for allowing four accounts of His Son’s life to become part of sacred Scripture. Some incidents are given in all four books: some are described in only one. Sometimes each book gives a slightly different viewpoint of the same event. These viewpoints, when combined, give us a broader picture of Jesus’ ministry. This is especially true of the events surrounding Jesus’ last week on earth. All accounts woven together paint a beautiful portrait of Jesus as King, Servant, Man, and God.

Accepting God’s Word

Reading the Gospels helps us realise Jesus is someone who completely knows and understands all about us. He has experienced all we as humans can experience from the pain of rejection to the joy of relationships. So when we have problems, we can call on Him for help. We know He has felt what we feel and is able to help us in our need.

Faithful Witness

Our guide took us to his village and began the tour by showing us the house where he was born and raised. He is one of the known Protestant believers. A talented brother, he holds degrees in history and linguistics. His life has been devoted to his people, the Safi, and he has researched and prepared an extensive French manuscript of their history.

REMEMBER TO PRAY!
Pray for Safi Believers

1. High profile believers to often make a public declaration of their faith,
2. Students in the classroom to be impacted by the life of Christian teachers,
3. Messengers learn to preach the gospel in the Safi language.

Prayer Promise

"Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying" (1 Corinthians 14:9).

 

 

 

Remember: GOOD NEWS ABOUT JESUS 

Memory verse: John 20:31
"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."

1. Jesus is the Son of God.
2. Jesus wants to reign as Lord and Saviour of my life.
3. Jesus wants to reign as the Saviour of all people.

Pray for Safi Believers.

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Study 12 | Preach Christ/Our Bible | africaatts.org/go-teach

 

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