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Friday, December 6, 2013

Who is Really Living? Outline

Who Is Really Living?
Matthew 2:1-12
Waiting: Christmas 2013

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How do we nurture the kind of spiritual alertness needed to pursue God and his work in the world rather than getting stuck in our small ways of looking at God and his work among us? 

1.     See how easy it is to miss what makes us alive

Matthew 2:1–6 (ESV) Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
“ ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’ ”

2.    Identify dead ends

Matthew 2:7–8 (ESV) Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.”

3.    Pursue delight in what brings life

Matthew 2:9–12 (ESV) After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

Questions for reflection and further discussion
  • What contrasts to pursuing real life do you see in this incident?
  • What implications do you draw from the willingness of the Magi to travel such a great distance to see Jesus?
  • What characteristics can you list revealed in the actions of the Magi that are desirable?
  • What does this incident reveal about the nature of authentic worship? 
  • How do we nurture the kind of spiritual alertness needed to pursue God and his work in the world rather than getting stuck in our small ways of looking at God and his work among us? 
  • The Magi were foreigners apparently having little or no advantage from the stories or scriptures of the Old Testament, yet they found Jesus and worshipped him. The Jewish religious leaders with all their background in the Hebrew scriptures missed Jesus. What are the implications of this?

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