Lesson: Baby Jesus

December 13, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010 —

Volunteers: Colleen, Paul, Kaitlyn, Alyssa

Drivers: am: adam/cheryl; pm: tyler

Primary scriptures: Matthew 2; Luke 2

Context: This is part 2 of two Christmas lessons this year; last week we studied prophesies, angels, John Baptist, shepherds

Outline

  • setup: the tables arranged in a “semicircle” worked well last week; also set up the large painted map of Canaan / Egypt / the east
  • (10:00am) name tags, coloring pages (see below)
  • pray (together)
  • sing
  • lesson — (see below)
  • craft / activity — (see below)
  • (11:00 am) SNACK/BREAK
  • (11:20 am)  finish activity
  • sign card for Mr. J
  • sing
  • pray [Paul]
  • (11:50 am) hand out homework
  • tidy

Lesson

0. Background to Temple and Wise Men — [Colleen]

  • Herod was king in Judea region (show on map) during the time of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem; “Herod the Great” was a half-Jew chosen by Roman officials to be king over Israel
  • in Jerusalem:
    • Anna spent her nights and days in the temple; 84 years old, without her husband for decades, prophetess, serving God, praying, fasting
    • God’s Spirit told Simeon that he would not die until he had seen Christ; good man, loved God, waiting for God to save Israel
  • in Mesopotamia/Persia (east): there were magi who understood the stars, and most likely knew Hebrew prophecies about the coming Christ
  • [set up pieces on large map to represent locations of: Joseph and family in Bethlehem (for now), magi in the east, Herod/Anna/Simeon in Jerusalem]

1. Temple in Jerusalem — [Colleen]

(Luke 2:22-39)

Note: To help with telling the story, the key plot elements to memorize are listed in the bullets… The words in lighter gray are descriptive details. Scanning bold words will remind you of the basic framework

  • (When He was at least 41 days old) Mary and Joseph took Jesus to Jerusalem; baby, 8 km trip, temple, first-born son presented/devoted to God, Law of Moses
  • Mary and Joseph offered a sacrifice; pair of doves or two young pigeons
  • the Spirit told Simeon to go into INTO the temple
  • Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God; “Lord, I am your servant, and now I can die in peace, because you have kept your promise to me. With my own eyes I have seen what you have done to save your people, and foreign nations will also see this. Your mighty power is a light for all nations, and it will bring honor to your people Israel.” (Luke 2:29-32; CEV)
  • Simeon’s words surprised Jesus’ parents
  • Simeon knew that this little baby, who couldn’t even talk, was the Offspring promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
  • Simeon blessed Mary and Joseph
  • Simeon spoke to Mary; “This child of yours will cause SOME PEOPLE TO BE SAVED and OTHER PEOPLE TO BE DESTROYED. Many people will affected by him. Even you, Mary, will feel as if you had been stabbed by a dagger.” (based on Luke 2:34-35)
  • Anna came INTO the temple
  • Anna thanked God when she saw baby Jesus
  • Anna told everybody about Jesus; addressed those who hoped for Jerusalem’s freedom

2. Visit from wise men at house in Bethlehem — [Colleen]

(Matthew 2:1-12; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Numbers 24:17; Micah 5:1-5)

  • Joseph and Mary returned to Bethlehem, and moved into a house
  • Houses around that area were usually built out of sun-dried brick, and people spent a lot of time on their flat roofs when it was more cool in the evening
  • (Some time after Jesus was born) wise men saw His star rising; they were from the east — Mesopotamia/Persia
  • (Note: answersingenesis.org has an interesting article about the “Christmas star.”)
  • Wise men traveled/arrived in Jerusalem; there they asked: “Where is the child born to be king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:2; CEV)
  • King Herod was worried; so was everyone else in Jerusalem — Jews WERE waiting for the Christ [see Luke 3:15]
  • (Herod did not like talk about someone who was “to be king of the Jews”) — Herod, who had rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem, sure wanted to be the king
  • Herod brought together the scribes (teachers) of the Law; “Where will the Messiah be born?”
  • The scribes told Herod “BETHLEHEM,” reading Micah 5:2 to him: “But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel”; other scriptures they knew:
    • “The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteous Savior. (Jeremiah 23:5-6) (OUCH! Herod was not a descendant of David)
    • I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. (from Numbers 24:17; NIV)
  • Herod called in the wise men; secretly
  • Herod wanted to know how old the Christ child was, so he asked the wise men WHEN they had first seen the star; they told him (and it would have been somewhere under two years)
  • Herod pretended he also wanted to worship, but he actually wanted to KILL the baby: He told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, let me know. I want to go and worship him too.” (Matthew 2:8; CEV)
  • The star led the wise men to a house in Bethlehem; it went ahead of them, and stopped over the house where Jesus was, they were “thrilled and excited to see the star”
  • The wise men went into the house
  • They saw Jesus with Mary
  • Wise men worshiped Him; knelt
  • Wise men had treasure chests holding expensive gifts; gold, incense, and perfume
  • [Some legends say that the mage who presented frankincense was named Caspar, which is the Persian origin of the name of our Jasper.]
  • Wise men warned in a dream; do not return to Herod
  • Wise men went home; by another road

3. Joseph takes Mary and Jesus to Egypt — [Paul]

(Matthew 2:13-15)

In first person, speaker = JOSEPH

  • The wise men left our house [show/move pieces on the large map]
  • Angel came to me in a dream; angel from the Lord; “Get up! Hurry and take the child and his mother to Egypt! Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is looking for the child and wants to kill him.” (from Matthew 2:13; CEV)
  • I got up and left with Mary and Jesus; (that night)
  • We stayed in Egypt with some Jews (see Jeremiah 43:7)

4. Herod’s murderous temper tantrum in Bethlehem — [Paul]

(Jeremiah 31:15; Matthew 2:16-18)

  • (While we were in Egypt, this is what was happening back home…)
  • Herod found out the wise men had tricked him; (i.e., they did not return to tell Herod they had found our son)
  • angry Herod wanted a way to kill Jesus; (assuming Jesus was still in Bethlehem)
  • Herod recalled the time since the wise men first saw the star; which they had reported to him; he probably added some time to be certain
  • Herod gave orders for his men to kill all baby boys around Bethlehem; age two or younger
  • There was great sadness in Bethlehem
  • This fulfilled Jeremiah 31:15; “In Ramah a voice was heard crying and weeping loudly. Rachel was mourning for her children, and she refused to be comforted, because they were dead.” Do you remember RACHEL? as Jacob’s wife, she represents all of Israel in this prophecy of a weeping mother — consider also that Rachel was buried near Bethlehem — the particular “Ramah” mentioned in this scripture is in the Benjamin tribe, “about six or seven miles from Jerusalem, near this place Rachel was buried

5. Joseph takes his family back to Nazareth — [Paul]

(Matthew 2:19-23)

  • (we were still in Egypt)
  • an angel appeared to me in dream again; the angel told me (we didn’t have telephone or internet back then)
    • that Herod had died
    • that I should take Jesus and Mary back to Israel
  • Herod the Great had died just a few months after trying to kill the prophesied King of Israel! Herod is remembered as a ruthless man with many enemies — he even killed his wife and several of his own children — history reports a Roman emperor as saying that it was more safe to be Herod’s pig than to be his son
  • we got up and left for Israel [/ Canaan -- remind kids of promise to Abraham]
  • This fulfilled Hosea 11:1 (“out of Egypt I called my son”)
  • On the way, we heard that Archelaus (are – keh – LAY’ – us) was now ruler of Judea; Archelaus was Herod’s son; Israel was Herod’s domain; the Romans restricted Archelaus to Judea province only
  • I was afraid to return to Bethlehem in Judea because of Archelaus; he might have been a jealous tyrant like his father — as it is, Archelaus is remembered in history as a violent murderer
  • an angel appeared to me in a dream again; the angel told me to go to Galilee
  • We went to Galilee, to our hometown of Nazareth
  • It is usually nonsense to say “happily ever after” at the end of a story — but this was the story about Jesus coming into the world!

Activities/Crafts

  • A) “Scribal Scramble” game: (I adapted the idea by Dr. Robert R. Duke from “180 Faith-Charged Games for Children’s Ministry Elementary Grades”):
    1. Read Matthew 2:1-6; discuss the duty of scribes to accurately copy texts that were given to them; (the scribes were also expected to correctly interpret the law, and so King Herod asked them where the Messiah was to be born
    2. using encode/decode chart below, each child should write his name on an index card; leader shuffle cards, and give each child one card — each child must decode and return the card to each author
    3. Write the coded message (below) on the board and have the children decode on the backs of their index cards: [answer: Jesus was born in Bethlehem.]

key for decoding (note: i did NOT intend this to be anything correct or meaningful!)

  • B) Make “Christmas crackers”: [TBD]..
  • C) Make “coupon” gifts for parents/siblings: [TBD]..
  • D) Magi maze:

  • 5) Word Search Hidden Message Puzzle:

Bethlehem Hidden Message

F R O E J M M Y N H O C U S H
A L L S C E O A O O H J O Y M
E A R N U L R U G R S E R I W
H O W E I L S U I I L S H M E
S P H C E E R S S D M Y P M E
W O P N L E T I S A R A A A E
E L N I G F Y E U P L N B N E
J E S K J O S E P H G E F U H
N Y V N W H M J S E B W M E M
P U M A R U E T L A L O Y L X
D N A R S S A G N I K R R Z U
R L Y F U R M M D G A S X N T
V M O S V R I S U M F H N A M
M Z B G B T L C Y Q D I V A D
P J G K G R S T F I G P W L X

ANGEL BORN CHRIST
DAVID FRANKINCENSE GIFTS
GOLD HOUSE IMMANUEL
JERUSALEM JESUS JEWS
JOSEPH JOY KING
MAGI MARY MYRRH
SAVE SON STAR
WORSHIP

After you have found all the words, write down the remaining letters here to find the hidden message about Bethlehem:

__ __ __ __   __ __ __   __ __ __ __ __   __ __ __ __   __   __ __ __ __ __   

__ __ __   __ __ __ __   __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __   __ __   __ __ __ __ __ __   

__ __ __ __ __ __ .

(I generated this puzzle automatically at puzzlemaker.discoveryeducation.com.) The solution is: “From you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.”

Coloring Pages

Homework

[TBD]

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