Devotional for Worship Series
God's Rescue Plan - New Testament
NOTE: Please use the devotional studies below to help you prepare for the upcoming weekend worship services.
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“Who Is Jesus?” December 10-16
Read Matthew 16:13-28 (Action Bible pgs. 582-583)
Introduction: As the season of Advent progresses, our thoughts tend to get more and more focused upon celebrating the birth of the baby Jesus who was born in Bethlehem that first Christmas Day. This week, we take some time to remind ourselves who that cute little baby would grow up to be.
This account from Matthew 16 occurs about a month or two before Jesus’ crucifixion in Jerusalem. He and His disciples had traveled to the northern most region of Israel at that time, Caesarea Philippi. In Old Testament times, the city was a center of the Canaanites’ Baal worship. Later the Greeks substituted their god Pan for Baal, and later the Romans used it to develop worship of their emperors. So, Jesus took His disciples on a field trip to the center of pagan worship in Israel to discuss with them who He is.
- Read vss. 13-14. What was Jesus’ first question? How did the disciples answer? Can you think of any reasons why people might have thought that Jesus was one of these people? (NOTE: For help google each name to give you some insight).
- Read vss. 15-16. What was Jesus’ second question? Who answered and what did he say?
- Read vss. 17-18. What did Jesus say in response to Peter’s confession of Him? NOTE: When Jesus said, “on this rock I will build my church…”, He was referring to Peter’s confession of who Jesus is. This truth is the foundation upon which the Christian Church is built. Without unwavering faith in this truth the Church cannot and does not exist.
- Read vs. 19. What special authority has Christ given to His Church? What does the Church have the authority to imprison (bind) or to set free (loose)? For help see John 20:22-23.
- Read vs. 22-23. Where did Jesus say they were going? Why were they going there? How did Peter react to Jesus’?
- Read vss. 24-27. What kind of commitment did Jesus demand of His disciples? What does He expect of us today?
“Divine Intervention” December 17-23
Read Luke 1:26-38, 46-55 (Action Bible page 526-529)
- What have you been told about the details surrounding your birth?
- Read vss. 26-30. How many months has it been since the angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah? What do we learn about Mary here?
- Read vss. 31-33. What do we learn here about Mary’s future child?
- Read vs. 34. What is Mary concerned about? Why? Read Deuteronomy 22:13-21. What do vss. 20-21 say could happen to a woman whose husband says she was not a virgin when they got married and he was not the one she lost her virginity to?
- Read vss. 35-38. How did the angel answer Mary’s question? How do you think you would have responded to all of this if you had been Mary? How did Mary respond (Also read vss. 45-55)?
- Read Matthew 1:18-19. What did Joseph plan to do when he found out that Mary was pregnant and he knew that it wasn’t his child? Now read vss. 20-25. What changed his mind? How did he respond to this intervention?
- The key to the obedience of both Mary & Joseph is found in Luke 1:33 & Matthew 1:21? What is it? How do you think you would have reacted if you had been Mary or Joseph?
“A Powerful Lesson Learned” December 3-9
Read Luke 1:57-80 (Action Bible page 530-532)
- What is your nickname and how did you get it? Do you know how this child will get his when he’s an adult? Read Luke 3:1-6 for assistance.
- Read vss. 57-64. How did John’s birth fulfill the words of the angel in vss. 13-17? What important lesson did Zechariah learn from this experience?
- Read vss. 65-66. How did the neighbors and relatives respond to these events? How does all of this serve to promote the Gospel?
- Read vss. 68-75. Make a list of all of the things for which Zechariah praises God. What does he say is the purpose of salvation? How does Zechariah’s song show God’s unfolding plan from Old Testament days to the coming of the Messiah?
- Read vss. 76-79. What has God revealed to Zechariah about the mission of his son’s life?
- Read Isaiah 40:3-5 and Luke 1:80. How did the details of John’s adult life fulfill the Old Testament prophecies about him?
- During this Advent season as we look forward to celebrating the birth of the Messiah, make a list of the things that you are thankful for– blessings that are yours because the long-awaited Messiah has come.
“Angel Promises” November 26– December 2
Read Luke 1:5-25 (Action Bible pgs. 526-529)
- Read Malachi 3:1 & 4:5. What does God promise here?
- In Luke 1:5-25, God sends an angel to an old priest named Zechariah to announce the coming pregnancy and birth of a very special child. Read vs. 17. Sound familiar? God’s plan of salvation is about to take a major step forward with the coming of this child.
- What do we learn about Zechariah & his wife in vss. 5-7?
- Read vss. 8-10. What did Zechariah do on this day? According to vss. 11-12, what happened that frightened the priest? Now read vss. 13-17. What message did he receive?
- In your own words, how would you describe the mission of this child’s life? In this culture, the coming of a very important person to a town would often be announced by a trumpet acclaim and then the proclamation made by a messenger. How would this child serve that function? And for whom?
- Read vss. 18-22. What was the priest’s reaction to the message? Why did he react this way? What happened as a result? What did the people think when Zechariah emerged from the temple mute? What irony do you find between the mission of this child and his father’s reaction to the message of the angel?