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Bible Study - Advent 2 - Mary & Joseph
Introduction: A betrothal lasted about a years. It was common for a girl to be betrothed around the age of 14. The sixth month = the 6th month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. Note: the word “favored” in vs. 28 & 30 comes from the word grace.
Read: Luke 1:26-45
Today the Virgin Birth is primarily used to prove Jesus’ divinity, but in the early church it was emphasized to prove his humanity, since an early heresy taught he was only divine, and only appeared to be a man. (There were several stories of gods and goddesses who would occasional come to earth pretending to be human. The danger in this is if Jesus was not also human he did not really bleed or die, nor did he get hungry, tired, etc.)
Q-Why is it important for Jesus to be both divine and human?
Q-What other things can the Virgin Birth of Jesus teach us about God’s ways?
Q-What reassurance do the angel’s words offer Mary?
Q- How did Gabriel describe the child who would be born to Mary?
Q-In what way is Mary’s question to Gabriel (vs. 34) more different in intention than Zechariah’s?
[LK 1:18- “How will I know this is so, because I am an old man and my wife is getting on in years?”]
Q- What risk was Mary taking by accepting her role as the mother of Jesus?
Q- How might Mary be considered the first disciple of Jesus?
Q- How does Mary’s response to God’s call model what our relationship with God should be?
Q- Why might Elizabeth’s words (vs. 42-45) have been reassuring to Mary?
Read: Luke 1:46-56
Q-How would you describe Mary’s words about herself in relationship to God?
Q- What does she say about God in vs. 48-49?
Q- How else does Mary describe God’s attributes and actions?
Q- What does this tell us about her faith in God?
Q- How are the actions of the Holy Spirit described in Luke, Chapter One? (vs. 15, 35, 41, & 67 ?
Q- Many people’s perspective of Mary is that she was meek and compliant. How does her action in traveling to see Elizabeth and in her words of praise to God show she also had faith, courage, and took initiative?
Read: Matthew 1:18-25
Note- A betrothal was a legal contract that could only be broken by death or divorce. The unfaithfulness of one partner (especially the woman), was considered adultery. Joseph had several options: divorce Mary publicly by charging her with adultery, or divorce her quietly. Joseph’s acceptance of Mary, in spite of her pregnancy, was the same as admitting he was the child’s father.
Q- Why do you think God did not send an angel to Joseph until after he struggled with the news about Mary’s pregnancy?
Q-How might allowing Joseph to come to terms with it in his own way first, been helpful?
Q- What do we learn about Joseph by the fact he planned to divorce Mary quietly?
Q- What reason is given for the birth of Jesus?
Note: The name “Jesus” is a derivative of Joshua, which means “the Lord saves.”
Q-What other name is given to Jesus in this passage?
Q-How do these two names together define the means of our salvation?
Q- In what way are the words of vs. 21 a foundational statement of the gospel?
Q- What other information about Mary’s unborn child does Joseph learn in vs. 22-23?
Q- How do verses 24-25 give us insight into Joseph’s trust in God?
Q- What things about Jesus and his birth would be ignorant of if not for Matthew’s gospel?
Reflection on both texts: Q-How do you normally respond to life’s interruptions?
Q-What things can you learn from Mary and Joseph to help you deal with God changing or interrupting your plans?
Q-Review some recent interruptions in your plans- How do you see God’s grace in the interruption?
Next Time: Luke 2:1-21