Jesus Birth Announced And Anticipated. AG Sunday School Adult

 

JESUS’ BIRTH ANNOUNCED AND ANTICIPATED

 

 

*Memory Verse: Luke 1:31*
Thou [Mary] shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS (KJV).

*Central Truth*
Christians rejoice in the birth of Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.

*The Lesson Outline*
*1. The Annunciation to Mary*
A.. Gabriel’s Appearance
Luke 1:26-27
B. Gabriel’s Message
Luke 1:28-33

*2. Mary Visits Elizabeth*
A. The Son of the Most High
Luke 1:34-38
B. Elizabeth Blesses Mary
Luke 1:3945

*3. The Magnificat of Mary*
A. Mary Praises God for Her Privilege
Luke 1:46-49
B. Mary Prophesies God’s Blessings to His People
Luke 1:50-55

*Learning Objectives*
At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

1. Comprehend the prophecies and anticipation that surrounded the coming of the Messiah.

2. Reflect on the significance of Mary’s obedience in the culture of the time.

3. Worship God amid His call for surrender and obedience.
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*Introducing the Lesson*
Today’s lesson examines an important time in the life of a major figure in the New Testament and the story of Jesus: Mary. Some Christians, often out of theological concerns, deny Mary the respect that is due to her. We note that Mary was selected from among all women who have ever lived to give birth to and raise God’s Son. Christians can learn a great deal from her example. This lesson examines Mary’s response to the invitation from God to be the earthly mother of Jesus and reminds us that we are to praise God for the gift of His Son, Jesus.
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*The Holy Scriptures*
Luke 2:26-31,35,38-41,46-50
[26]And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
[27]And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,
[28]Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
[29]Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:
[30]For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
[31]Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
[35](Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
[38]And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
[39]And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.
[40]And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
[41]Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover.
[46]And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.
[47]And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.
[48]And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.
[49]And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?
[50]And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.
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*Commentary and Application*

*1. The Annunciation to Mary*
*A.. Gabriel’s Appearance–Luke 1:26-27*
Luke carefully detailed the events that led up to the birth of Jesus. Just six months after the angel Gabriel had appeared to Zechariah (see Luke 1:19), he appeared to Mary (Luke 1:26-27). Mary lived in Nazareth, a relatively obscure village in the first century. No major roads ran through it. It appears there was a saying around the area that denigrated the village: “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” (see John 1:46, NLT).

Mary’s residence in this small town was not by chance. The name Nazareth comes from a Hebrew word that means “branch.” Isaiah’s prophecy in Isaiah 11:1 indicates that Jesus would come from the branch of Jesse. Many scholars link Isaiah to the understanding that the Messiah would be called a Nazarene (see
Matthew 2: 23). Mary’s residence-and Jesus’ childhood in Nazareth- were components in the fulfilment of this prophecy.

The Bible teaches that Mary was a virgin at the time of Gabriel’s visit, fulfilling another prophecy from Isaiah (7:14; Luke 1:27). There has been debate as to the meaning of the word “virgin” in Isaiah. (Some say it referred to a young woman in Isaiah’s time as well as made future reference to the Messiah.) Matthew’s use of Isaiah 7:14 settles any doubts that it means Mary had not had sexual relations (see Matthew 1:18-25). Mary’s declaration that she was still a virgin (Luke 1:34) and Joseph’s reaction to the news of Mary’s pregnancy (Matthew 1:18-25) bear this out. Luke described Mary as a woman espoused or pledged to be married (Luke 1:27). This pledge was more binding in the first-century Hebrew culture than engagement is in most Western cultures today. The key component of the pledge was the payment of a dowry to the parents of the bride. This could be paid in money or in personal service. Once
the financial arrangements had been made, a blessing over the union was requested from God. This arrangement was legally binding, so to back out of it meant that a formal contract would have to be nullified. There was generally a period of time (a year or two) before the official marriage would take place, with the consummation of the marriage. A good example of this can be seen in the seven-year waiting period in the marriage of Jacob and both Leah and Rachel (see Genesis 29). Mary and Joseph were in this waiting period when Gabriel appeared to Mary.

Luke identified Mary’s espoused husband, Joseph, as part of the line of David (1:27). This information is crucial because the Old Testament prophets were clear that the Messiah Would come from the line of David.
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*Questions for Application*
How many Old Testament prophecies can you name that speak to the birth of Christ?

If you have a map in your
classroom or in your Bibles, find the town of Nazareth. What facts do we know about Nazareth?
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*B. Gabriel’s Message–Luke 1:28-33*
Gabriel approached Mary with a formal greeting, and Mary was, startled, not only by the angelic appearance but also by the words that he spoke (Luke 1:28-29). She wondered what the angel meant when he identified her as “favoured woman” (verse 28, NLT). Mary understood her culture and would have been aware that the phrase “the Lord is with you” was often given as assurance when a difficult task was about to be given. She surely remembered the stories of how heavenly messengers had been sent to Abraham, Jacob, Samuel, and many other leaders of the past. What could God want of a young girl that was so important He would send an angel to her? Mary likely surmised that whatever was going to take place would be life changing. Gabriel soothed Mary’s fears (verse 30) assuring her that she had found favour with God. The angel had not Come to condemn Mary, but rather to commend her. Out of all the women in the world, God had chosen her accomplish a task that would impact all humanity (verse 31). Gabriel told her that she would have a son and His name would be Jesus. The name “Jesus” is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua, which means “the Lord is salvation.”

Gabriel also told Mary that her Son would be called “the Son of the Most High” (verse 32, NLT). Jesus would be the long-awaited Messiah who would be given the throne of David (verse 32). The Jewish people had been waiting for this Messiah since the destruction of Judah by the Babylonians (see Jeremiah 23:1-6). Finally, Gabriel stated that the Messiah’s kingdom will never come to an end. This is likely a reference to Daniel’s prophecies found in 2:44 and 7:13-14.

It is very possible Mary had as previously prayed on many occasions for God to send the Messiah to assist her people. How surprised she must have been to realise that she would be the instrument God would use to fulfil her own prayers!
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*Questions for Application*
How do you think Mary might have felt as she first heard the greetings of Gabriel? How might you have felt in a situation like that? Describe a time when God used you to assist in answering the prayers of a fellow believer.
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*2. Mary Visits Elizabeth*
*A. The Son of the Most High–Luke 1:34-38*

Gabriel’s message was profound: the baby that Mary would deliver would be the “Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” (verses 32-33, NLT). Such designations were and are reserved for God
himself. Mary would bear the divine One. In Christ is found all the power and authority of divinity, for He is
divine. He is the Son of God (verse 35). What a staggering message this was for her. It is not clear if Mary fully understood the impact of the angel’s statement, but she clearly understood its significance. Mary responded to Gabriel that she could not be pregnant; she had never had sexual relations with any man before. It is likely that other thoughts were running through Mary’s mind as well.
What would Joseph think? How
would she be treated when others found out? Why her? How could this
be? All of these considerations would have enough for many people to shout “No!” Fortunately, Mary continued to listen to Gabriel with an open heart.

The angel explained how Mary would conceive (verse 35). The Holy Spirit would come upon her and the power of the Most High would “overshadow”‘ her. This description of the Holy Spirit’s work is important because the pagans taught that the gods mated with humans. But Jesus’ conception was instead the result of the miraculous activity of the Spirit.
And Jesus would be “holy.” This identifies Him as being completely God while living as a human being,
resulting in His being the only one who could ever claim to be both God
and human.

The word translated “overshadow” is used at Jesus’ transfiguration when a bright cloud
overshadowed the three disciples (see Matthew 17:5). That cloud was
an outward manifestation of God’s
presence and glory. At the moment of
conception, Mary wOuld be overshadowed by the unseen but gloriously real presence of the Most High. Her Child would be God in the
flesh. Through this miraculous birth
would come the One called the Son
of God (Luke 1:35).

Gabriel told Mary that her cousin Elizabeth was pregnant and in her sixth month (verse 36). Apparently Mary had not heard of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. And so, Gabriel was letting Mary know that “with God
nothing shall be impossible” (verse 37, KJV). A child born to a woman well past child-bearing years and a child born of a virgin are both miraculous births. God is not limited by the natural. And so Mary, a woman of great faith, accepted this high calling of God (verse 38).

There are times in our walk with God when He will ask us to do difficult tasks that seem beyond our capacity to accept. The first step in submission is not to deny the sacrifices of Kingdom tasks, but to
follow God’s purpose.

*Question for Application*
Describe why it is significant that verse 35 says the Holy Spirit would come upon Mary?

What are some ways your life is or has been impacted by the work of the Holy Spirit?
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*B. Elizabeth Blesses Mary–Luke 1:39-45*
A few days later, Mary decided to
go see her cousin Elizabeth (Luke
1:40). Two important events
occurred when Mary and Elizabeth
met (verse 41). First, the baby in
Elizabeth’s womb leapt for joy at
Mary’s greeting. Second, Elizabeth
was filled with the Holy Spirit. And so,
again we see the Holy Spirit appear
in John the Baptist’s story.

Elizabeth declared that Mary was blessed by God, and so was her Child (verses 42–45). Mary had not yet told Elizabeth of her experience Child (verses 42-45). Mary had not yet told Elizabeth of her experience with Gabriel and the Holy Spirit. Yet in that instant the Spirit gave at least partial knowledge to Elizabeth of what had happened concerning the Messiah’s impending birth. So through Elizabeth’s prophetic expressions, the Holy Spirit was confirming the missions of both John
the Baptist and Jesus.

*Question for Application*
Take a moment to tell the class about something great God has done in your life recently.

Describe the role of the Holy Spirit in the lives of both Mary and Elizabeth during this time.
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*3. The Magnificat of Mary*
*A. Mary Praises God for Her Privilege–Luke 1:46-49*
After Elizabeth’s statement, Mary broke out in praise
to God (Luke 1:46-47). This
expression of praise has come to be
known as “The Magnificat” because
Magnificat is the first word of the
The Latin translation of this passage.
(The word means “magnifies,” and in
this case it speaks to magnifying
God.) God, of course, knew Mary’s
lowly station in life, and Mary rejoiced
that because of what God did
through her, future generations
would call her blessed, recognising
she had been chosen by God to
receive such a wonderful privilege
(verses 48-49). Cleanly, Mary did not
make her claim in a prideful manner,
but rather in a state of amazement.
She recognised her lowly state,
understanding that she had done nothing to deserve the honour that
had been given to her. Any acclaim
that would come to her was a direct
result of what the Mighty and Holy
One had done for her. Like Mary,
Christians today need to point
people to God even as we praise Him
for what He does in and through us,
Humble Thanksgiving will remove
any focus from ourselves and direct
all the glory to God-the One who
alone is worthy to be praised.
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*Question for Application*

What lessons for your life can you draw from Mary’s example?

To what extent are praise and worship a part of your prayer life?

To what degree might you need to increase your focus on praise, and why?
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*B. Mary Prophesies God’s Blessings to His People–Luke 1:50-55*
The next portion of Mary’s song
was a prophetic word Concerning the
blessings the Messiah would bring to
the Jewish people (Luke 1:50-55)
She recognised that what was
happening to her was but part of a
a great plan that would bring God’s
mercy to her and all who would fear
Him (verse 50). Then Mary gave
honour to God for His wisdom and
power (verses 51-53). God would scatter the proud, bring down leaders, and reject the rich while Iifting the humble and feeding the
hungry. Mary also worshipped God for His faithfulness to Israel (verses 54-55). Through the Messiah, God would continue to bless and protect His people, just as He had done throughout their history. God would
remember Abraham and the covenant He established with him.
Mary’s obedience played a central role in bringing the Messiah into the world. This young woman had faith to place her trust in God and make choices that radically changed
her quiet life. And by the grace of God, history was changed forever.
Mary is a wonderful example of the dedication, purity, and humility that ought to embody a person living in service to God.

*Question for Application*
Describe how the world has been affected by Mary’s obedience.

How might the world around you be affected by your obedience to God?

*Call to Discipleship*
God chose the perfect time and the perfect way to send His Son into the world. Gabriel’s announcement to Mary was one that would change the world –and change our lives. He calls us to live in obedience and cary that message to everyone around us.

*Ministry in Action*
Find someone with whom you can praise God and rejoice together as Mary and Elizabeth did.

As you anticipate Christmas, share the reason for that anticipation with an unbeliever.

Pray that God will use you this Christmas season to show Him to unsaved family and friends.
*THIS PUBLICATION IS A PRODUCT OF GENERAL COUNCIL SUNDAY SCHOOL DEPARTMENT ASSEMBLIES OF GOD NIGERIA*

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