God with Us
Pastor Tony Chute
Overview: The birth of Jesus occupies a brief section in Matthew’s gospel, yet it is rich in detail and application. Matthew reports that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary in fulfillment of God’s promises in the Old Testament. Joseph’s initial hesitation to take Mary as his wife is alleviated by angelic revelation, leading him to follow through with his marriage and name her son Jesus. The wise men from the east inquire about Jesus’s birth, rejoice when they see Him, and provide gifts as an act of worship. King Herod feigns a desire to worship Jesus but in reality, fears Him as a rival king, thus leading to the deaths of innocent children. As it was in the first century, so it is now—the birth of Jesus elicits positive and negative responses from people in all walks of life.
01. The birth of Jesus demonstrates the faithfulness of God in Scripture; the love of God in history; and the majesty of God in creation.
02. The birth of Jesus inspires obedience among the faithful; provides courage among the fearful; and produces worship among God’s people.
03. The birth of Jesus attracts the humble by addressing the fundamental need of humanity and repels the proud by asserting God’s ultimate sovereignty.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION & DISCOVERY
1. Given the space that Matthew dedicates to the birth of Jesus, what can we know about the faithfulness of God, the love of God, and the majesty of God in this section of Scripture? What issues did Matthew choose not to address regarding the incarnation of Jesus? What questions do you have about the incarnation?
2. Consider Mary and Joseph’s experience regarding the birth of Jesus. How were they each informed about the incarnation (see also Luke 1-2)? How did this event require obedience on their part? How did it relieve their fears even as it produced new uncertainties? How has the Lord granted you courage instead of fear at various times in your life?
3. Note the various ways in which God communicates with or directs people in this text (i.e., angels, dreams, a star). Do you know of people today who claim to have similar revelatory experiences? How can you use this same text to underscore the superiority of Scripture over all such claims? (Hint: consider how we know that angels spoke, a star guided, and whether the dreams corresponded with reality).
4. Why did Herod show a sudden interest in where Christ would be born? Was he sincere in his attempt to ascertain the meaning of Micah’s prophecy? What was his purpose in doing so? What unique obstacles do people in power face with regard to the claims of Jesus upon their lives?
5. What prompted the wise men from the east to seek Jesus? In what ways does God lead people with little or no knowledge of the Bible to Himself? In what ways are you pointing others to the Lord?
For Further Reading: Nancy Guthrie, Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas (Crossway, 2020).