THE SAVIOUR IS BORN (CHRISTMAS)
Memory Verse: Luke 2: 11
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord (KJN).
Jesus was born to be the Saviour of the world.
The Lesson Outline
1. Humble Birth
A. God Worked Through Circumstances
B. The King of Kings Was Placed in a Manger
2. Angelic Announcement
A. Good News Proclaimed
B. Good News Embraced
3. Seeing God’s Salvation
A. Jesus Recognised as the Saviour
B. Jesus Proclaimed as the Saviour
At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:
1. Understand the significance of the Saviour’s birth in the lives of individuals, communities, and nations.
2. Be confident in sharing the true meaning of Christmas with unbelievers.
3. Be motivated to do something tangible to represent Christ to
someone in need this week.
Introducing the Lesson
The Christmas story is perhaps better known to the secular world than any other account in the Bible.
Through the years, Christmas has been mentioned in countless television shows and movies, through music created just for the holiday season (by believers and unbelievers alike), and in displays of nativities that dot the landscape in the month of December.
However. the simple-yet-profound significance of Christmas is often lost in the rush and busyness of the season. People too often fail to grasp the powerful truth that God sent His only Son into this world as the sacrifice for sin, to be the Saviour of the world.
The Holy Scriptures
Luke 2:1. And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
4. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea,
unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5. To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she
should be delivered.
7. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling. clothes,
and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of
great joy, which shall be to all people.
11. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
12. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling
clothes, lying in a manger.
22. And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord.
25. And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of lsrael: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.
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.
Commentary and Application
1. Humble Birth
A. God Worked Through Circumstances–Luke 2:1-5
The Bible does not give the ages of Joseph and Mary, though it does refer to Joseph’s occupation as a
carpenter (see Matthew 13:54-56).
This placed him within the social status of the working class; not priest or teacher. but not among the poorest classes either. Both Joseph and Mary were descendants of King David.
The census forced people to return to the cities of their ancestral birth to register (verse 3). For Joseph, this meant travelling about100 miles south from Nazareth to Bethlehem, the city of David.
This was at least a three-day journey. It would have been inconvenient for Joseph, but with Mary, who was pregnant, it would have been trying and wearisome (verses 4-5).
It is noteworthy that God used a pagan ruler’s census to bring the King of kings to the city of Bethlehem for the most momentous birth in all history. Jacob had prophesied over his son, Judah, that the king’s Sceptre would not be taken from his line (see Genesis 49:10).
This prophecy would find its ultimate fulfilment in Jesus. Micah had prophesied that from Bethlehem would come a “ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2, KJV).
God can use the circúmstances
of life to fulfil His purpose. Through difficult circumstances, He can open a way for miracles in our lives that would not have been possible if conditions had remained the same.
God can also guide us through difficult situations that help us grow spiritually and bring honour to Him.
Questions for Application
What are some spęcific events you can recall from the Christmas story that are recorded in Scripture?
Describe a time when you endured a difficult situation that ultimately helped you, grow spiritually. In what ways did you grow?
B. The King of Kings Was Placed in a Manger–Luke 2:6-7
As a result of our many
Christmas pageants, we often imagine that Mary and Joseph trudged into Bethlehem mere hours
before Jesus was born and knocked on doors looking for a place to stay.
However, the text does not tell us how long they were in Bethlehem before the time came for the birth of Mary’s baby.
It may have been a few hours, or it could have been a few weeks, since Joseph was likely surrounded by family who had gone to Bethlehem for the census and also may well have had relatives living there.
We do know that they found a place that was safe, private, and humble for His birth. It was a stable
for animals, perhaps in a cave attached to a family home.
Mary wrapped her firstborn baby in strips of cloth and placed Him in a manger (Luke 2:6-7).
Those born into royalty, riches, and privilege often: struggle to relate to the poor and outcasts of society.
The pain and despair of those who struggle to adequately feed themselves and provide the basic needs of life are unfamiliar to many who have enjoyed the abundance a
privileged birth often brings.
Jesus, the Son of God, came into the world in humble circumstances. This is a powerful reminder that He can relate to our weaknesses and understand the struggles we face in life.
Looking at the events of this first Christmas, we can catch a glimpse of the heart of God —His great compassion for us. Jesus came into the world without fanfare and without the
privileges normaly afforded to royalty.
In that lowly stable, everlasting hope and light came to the world in the person of Jesus Christ.
Question for Application
What significance do you find in the Saviour’s coming into the world through humble circumstances?”
Read Philippians 2:5-11. Paul opens this passage about Christ with an admonition that we should have the same attitude Jesus had. How can you make that happen in everyday life?
2. Angelic Announcement
A. Good News Proclaimed–Luke 2:8–14
While the birth of Jesus was humble in its circumstances, it was not completely without fanfare. The birth announcement was made in such a way that it pointed again to Jesus’ coming to be the Saviour of the world.
Bordered by hills, Bethlehem was a good place to raise sheep, often to be offered as sacrifices. So it is fitting, perhaps, that the first announcement of the Saviour’s birth was made to a group of shepherds.
While watching ver their flocks at night to protect them from thieves and attack by wild animals, an angel of the Lord came to these shepherds.
Though they may have been largely unnoticed by the world, God invited them to visit His Son. In the light of the glory of the Lord, these poor shepherds were terrified (Luke 2:8-9).
The angel then spoke a word of peace. The shepherds were not to fear because the message was one of good news for all people (verse 10).
The angel spoke of Bethlehem, the city of David, where the Messiah had just been born. He would save
the people from their sins.
And the shepherds would find the Baby lying in a manger, or feeding trough, wrapped in strips of cloth (verses 11-12). This was a lowly birth for the highly exalted Son of God.
When the message had been given to the shepherds, a large number of angels appeared, praising God, who is glorious above all things. Through His Son, God offers peace to all people (verses 13-14).
The peace the angels spoke of extends to us today. We must first see the need to carry this message to individuals in our communities, for there can be no peace in society without peace in each person, family, and neighbourhood. It starts with prayer, for this is a divine work, and extends to people one-on-one.
May we all find’ our place in extending God’s peace through our hearts and our hands.
Question for Application
What special significance might there have been In the fact that shepherds visited Christ that night? What does the Bible, Including the Old Testamernt, say about shepherds?
How can we take the message of, peace to a world so torn apart by pain, uncertainty, selfishness, and violence?
B. Good News Embraced–Luke 2:15-20
The angelic proclamation
inspired action, which is the response of faith.
After the angels had left, the shepherds decided they would go to Bethlehem to see this newborn Baby (Luke 2:15). They were not going in order to prove if this was true or not, but to give praise for what had been told them.
After a hurried search, they found Mary and Joseph, with the Baby lying in a manger (verse 16). Their faith led them to find the promised Messiah.
When God speaks to us through His Word, we should also be inspired to act. Faith should produce a change in how we go about our lives.
When their time with the Baby was done, the shepherds once more expressed the simple faith that pleases God: They reported the good news to others about Jesus.
The words of God’s grace from the lowliest of men amazed those they approached (verses 17-18).
They did not just rejoice in the moment, only to keep quiet about it afterward. They went out and told others, who were in turn astonished by their message.
Mary chose to keep these things to herself for a time, treasuring her memories of these events in her heart. She pondered them often (verse 19).
Also, the shepherds returned to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for what they had experienced (verse 20). Their response of praise to God lifts our hearts yet today, for we know that God’s grace extends to people at every level and status of life.
Even today, we can respond to God’s grace, choosing to lift our voices fo Him in praise through the day and to recognise His mercies in each day’s events.
And we can also tell others about the Saviour, who came to bring peace and God’s favour to all people.
Question for Application
What kinds of thoughts and emotions might the shepherds have experien ced that night?
What thoughts and emotions do you experience when God has done something amazing in your life?
How can you express your worship to God for sending His Son to be the Saviour of the world?
3. Seeing God’s Salvation
A. Jesus Recognised as the Saviour–Luke 2:21-35
Mary and Joseph had the Baby Jesus circumcised on the eighth day, in accordance with the law of Moses (Luke 2:21).
He was given the name Jesus, the name the angel told Joseph to give Him (see Matthew 1:21). The name “Jesus” means “the Lord saves” and reflects the mission of the Messiah.
Jewish mothers went through a time of ritual purification after giving birth, which was forty days for the birth of a son (see Leviticus 12:1-5).
Following this time of purification, Mary and Joseph took Jesus present Him to the Lord at the temple
This ritual would involve the sacrifice of a pair of doves or pigeons for the poor, or a lamb for the wealthy (verse 24; see Leviticus 12:8).
In Jerusalem at that time was a man named Simeon, a devout follower of God who was longing for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel.
The Holy Spirit was with him and had revealed to him that he would not die until he saw Christ, the anointed One (verses 25-26).
Divinely directed, he went to Mary and Joseph in the temple and took the Baby in his arms, offering praise to God for the fulfilment of His promise to Israel to provide salvation (verses 27-28).
Simeon could die in peace, for the Messiah had come –the One who would be a light to the Gentiles and the glory of Israel’s people (verses 29-32).
Mary and Joseph were amazed at what was said (verse 33). It was not that they were unaware of who Jesus was, and is, but the scope of what He was to accomplish was being made clear to them.
He would be not only the glory of the people of Israel, but He would also be a light to the Gentiles (verse 32).
The blessing of Simeon may well have surprised these parents even more. The Child would cause those who believe to be raised up and those who deny Him to fall.
Simeon also said that a sword would pierce Mary’s heart, referring to Jesus’ suffering that she would one day observe (verses 34-35).
Question for Application
In what ways can a Christian today reawaken the sense of wonder and amazement that was experienced that first Christmas?
How would you answer someone who asked what Chris tmas means to you?
B. Jesus Proclaimed as the Saviour–Luke 2:36-38
While Joseph and Mary were at the temple in Jerusalem to present Jesus, a prophetess, Anna, approached them. Her husband had died after just seven years of marriage, and now she stayed at the temple praying and fasting continually (Luke 2:36-37).
Moved by the Spirit, Anna gave thanks to God, speaking to those around her who longed for the redemption of Jerusalem (verse 38).
People around us are looking for something meaningful to fill their lives. At Christmas, this search is heightened as people look to recapture some sense of the peace or joy that the birth of Jesus promises.
This desire can be met as Christians proclaim Jesus as the Saviour of the world. The Christmas season provides many opportunities to share with the lost “good tidings of great joy” (verse 10, KJV).
One way to do this is to take part in giving to those in need, perhaps through the church or a local need- based agency.
Work together with your family and friends to relieve some of the stress that single parents those living alone might be feeling at this time of year. There are many ways we can help others come to see the truth that Jesus is the Saviour of the world.
In a world that is in darkness, this message of light and hope is vital. Let us seek the Spirit to guide us to coworkers, neighbours, or others who may be longing for some sign of hope and peace in a holiday that has become mostly materialistic.
Question for Application
How did Anna use people’s expectations to tell them about Jesus?
What hopes and dreams of others can we use to share the story of Christ?
Call to Discipleship
Jesus arrived on the Earth in humble circumstances and His first worshippers were shepherds. He was also worshipped by an elderly man who had been waiting for His arrival and by an elderly woman who served others as she waited.
All of these individuals were eager to praise Him and
testify about what they had seen. God also calls us to share His message with those around us.
Christmas is a great time to do so because people can be especially open to the message of the gospel at this time.
Ministry in Action
Develop a succinct way you can share the true meaning of Christmas with people you come into contact with during this season.
Join with other class members or have your own family provide food and/or gifts for someone in need.
Pray for those who have never heard the true Christmas story, whether in your own community or in some other country.
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