FAITH QUEST

Advent

Workshop Leaders’ Bible Study

This workshop leader’s Bible study is a historical, theological, and contextual introduction to the Advent rotation of Kirk of Kildaire’s Faith Quest workshop rotation program.  It is intended to provide workshop leaders with:

·        A historical context for understanding the Bible story.

·        A Biblical context for reading and teaching the story.

·        The theological basis for the concepts to be taught to the children.

In Kirk of Kildaire’s Faith Quest program, workshop leaders attend a one-hour Bible study two weeks prior to the start of a new rotation.  This Bible study helps workshop leaders understand how the concepts to be taught to the children are derived from the Bible story and how the lessons in the rotation fit together to reinforce the concepts.  It also provides an opportunity for the workshop leaders to grow in their own faith and understanding of the Bible.

It will be helpful to have a chalkboard, whiteboard, or flip chart for writing down questions or observations during the Bible study.

Note:  This is not a comprehensive study of the text, but only a few notes to help provide context and background for workshop leaders.  Consult titles cited in the reference list at the end of these notes for more information.

 

Scripture:

Matthew 1:18-25, 2:13-15, and Luke 1:26-28, 2:1-17

Memory verse for this rotation:

            “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”  Luke 2:11 (King James Version)

Concepts:

v     God works through ordinary people who obey him.

v     Jesus is both human and God.

v     God planned from the beginning to bring Jesus into the world to save the world.

v     The story of Jesus’ birth (and life, death, and resurrection) is a story about God.

v     Jesus has many important names: Son of God, Son of the Most High, Son of David, Emmanuel, Christ the Lord, the Son of Man, the Messiah.

v     Jesus came into the world to reveal God the Father.

Prayer Concerns & Prayer

·        If workshop leaders do not know each other, give them an opportunity to introduce each other and say which workshop they will be leading.

·        Begin the Bible study by praying for God’s guidance as teachers begin a new rotation.

Reading the text

Ask a workshop leader to read the text aloud.  Since this rotation focuses on an entire chapter, you might want to divide the reading among three or four workshop leaders.

Ask the workshop leaders what questions came to mind as they heard the story or read it before the Bible study.  Write down any questions that arise and will need to be answered during the Bible study.

 

Historical, Theological, and Biblical Contexts

As you know each gospel presents its own story about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Mark and John do not include stories about the birth of Jesus.  Matthew’s and Luke’s accounts of Jesus’ birth differ significantly.  In his commentary Matthew Boring argues that much is lost and little is gained by trying to assemble these different birth stories into one picture of Jesus’ birth (150-151).  I contend however that we are given these stories side by side in the Biblical canon and therefore must view them together when trying to learn from them about who God is, who Jesus is, and who we are.  So let us look at the two stories from Matthew and Luke and discover what they have to teach us.

What do we learn about:

Matthew

Luke

Jesus’ Birth

·       The birth itself is not narrated but we are told he is born in Bethlehem

·       There are signs that Jesus is royalty.

·       He is visited by important people – the Magi – and hunted by the king.

·       Begin in Bethlehem and move to Nazareth

·       The telling of the birth is brief and gives few details

·       He is born in Bethlehem in lowly circumstances – in a stable, to an unwed mother.

·       He is visited by shepherds.

·       Jesus’ humanity is emphasized – he is born human.

·       Mary speaks of the preference of the poor in her hymn/prayer.

·       Go from Nazareth to Bethlehem and back to Nazareth

Jesus

·       child from the Holy Spirit

·       “will save people from their sins”

·       Emmanuel

·       son of David (through Joseph)

·       Jesus = Joshua = Yahweh helps or saves.  Joshua was also the successor to Moses.   “a common human name” (Boring, 134-135)

·       great; Son of Most High

·       will reign on the throne of David forever

·       holy; Son of God

·       from the Holy Spirit

·       descended from David through Joseph

God

·       God is the main actor – the one making things happen

·       speaks through angels and works through people

·       clear that God is with us and that this gospel story is a story about God (Boring, 138)

·       God is the main actor

·       speaks through angels and works through people

·       God can do anything!

Humans/the world

·       Joseph – righteousness.  See the tension between the law and the new way of Jesus (Boring, 136)

·       obedience

·       we need saving

·       Mary – obedient – a vessel for God’s work

·       what God is doing in the world is not just spiritual – see a connection with the injustices in the world

God’s plan or purposes

·       “formula quotations”  Matthew uses these to make the point that Jesus is “the fulfillment of the whole of Scripture” (Boring, 135).

·       prophecies concerning Jesus’ birth are being fulfilled.

·       Egypt – parallel to Moses

·       birth in Bethlehem is a fulfillment of prophecy.

 

Our challenge is to take all these ideas and find a way to make sense of it all for ourselves and for the children.  Jesus is a king and a servant – human and God – powerful and yet in his birth and death, powerless.  In and through it all, God is in control.  God chose to bring Jesus into the world.  God planned it and made it happen.  God continues to be in control and to be active in the world.

 

Workshop Summaries

Ask each workshop leader to summarize his or her workshop.  As they do so, point out the concepts that each lesson reinforces.  Ask workshop leaders if they have any questions about the logistics or practical application of their lesson.

 

Antioch Arcade:  The children will play a quiz game to reinforce the details of the story and then will discuss how to relate the story to their lives and the concepts.

Apostles’ Playhouse:  The children will play a game while listening to the story being read, and then they will work in small groups to create a tableau or still picture based on one part of the story.

Creation Station:  After learning that throughout history artists have created works that celebrate events concerning Jesus life through a rich tradition of art and music, the children will choose scenes from the Christmas story and portray them in a stained glass triptych format.

Holywood:  The children will view the video The King is Born which covers all the concepts in general terms.  They will also discuss all the different names used to refer to Jesus in the story.

Praising Puppets:  While acting out four puppet skits the children will learn that Jesus is both human and God.  They will also learn that Jesus has many names, as a result of being who he is (both God and man) and then learn what some of those names mean.

Review Questions

Return to the questions that were gathered at the start of the hour.  Have they been answered?  Are there any further questions about the Bible story or about the lessons?

Closing Prayer

Close the Bible study with a prayer.

References

Boring, M. Eugene. "Matthew." New Interpreter's Bible, vol.VIII. Leander Keck, et al. editors. (Nashville, Abingdon Press, 1995). pp. 89-124 and pp. 138-145.

Craddock, Fred. “Luke.” Interpretation. James Luther Mays, et al. editors. (Louisville, John Knox Press, 1990). (pp. 1-12, 21-37).

Culpepper, R. Alan. “Luke.” The New Interpreter’s Bible, vol. IX. Leander Keck, et al. editors. (Nashville, Abingdon Press, 1995). (pp.3-37 and 49-67).