Sunday School Lessons
Mrs. Daisy B. Scott - Superintendent
(Updated November 30, 2020)

Sunday School classes start at 9:30 AM every Sunday.


 


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November 1 – Loving by Serving

Alternate Title – Serving Love

Bible Lesson: John 13:1-15, 34-35 (KJV)


Key verse:
John 13:15 (KJV) - "For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you."

(Pop-up references come from The New Living Translation courtesy of Faithlife Reftagger)


What shall we learn from this lesson:

Jesus' hour had come. It was time for Him to prepare to give His life so that we could have salvation through His blood. In the past when His life was in jeopardy, no one took Him because His hour had not come:

So they were seeking to seize Him; and no man laid his hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come.
(John 7:30 NASB)

These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come. (John 8:20 ESV)

Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew His hour had come and it was time to leave this world and return to the Father (John 13:1). He said, "The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified" (John 12:23 KJV). His whole life and ministry had lead up to this point.

It was time to prepare the disciples for what would come. The setting of the reference text was at the last supper Jesus would have with His disciples before He would be betrayed by Judas and then crucified.

He did something to His disciples which demonstrated how important humility and love were. He washed their feet. He was the most important one in the room but He did what was normally expected of the least important one.

He didn't just say for them to not be proud ...He showed them. This was akin to Him telling a parable to make a point except He acted it out in a dramatic way. This would be something they would never forget and would help mold their lives.

Jesus came to the world not to be served but to serve (Matthew 20:28). As a member of the body of Christ, we are to humble ourselves so we can help others. If we always are focusing on what pleases us and bragging about ourselves, how can we help others?

His disciples had been arguing about who would be the greatest in the kingdom (Luke 22:24). Washing their feet showed them that their importance was secondary to their love and desire to serve others. This attitude focused on the cravings of the world; pride in our achievements and our own self-worth. The Bible warns us to avoid this type of thinking:

"Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world" (1 John 2:15-16 NLT).

You may have an opportunity to see this type of thinking in action if your church is like another I have attended. It amazed me to see the deacons serving the congregation at a fellowship meal. It didn't matter to them what their secular position was ... from a college calculus instructor to a manager and even a judge, they still served those of us who had no position of authority.

In the Body of Christ, the first must be last and a servant to all (Mark 9:35). "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5)" is one of the Beatitudes and means meekness and humility is valued more than arrogance and pride.

If we want to please God, our life must be dedicated to first advancing His kingdom and not our own importance. It is He that we must love and give thanks, for it is He that made us and not we ourselves.

All our success and human value we owe to Him. Therefore, we should approach life with humility and not pride. Even though Jesus came to earth as the long-awaited Messiah, He demonstrated, by washing His disciple's feet, that they (and we) should not focus on self-importance.


The Bible lesson link (at the beginning of the lesson) is for the King James Version. You may also wish to read the New Living Translation Bible Version of John 13:1-15, 34-35

The key verse: John 13:15 (NLT) - "I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you."






November 8 – Abiding Love

Alternate Title – Obey God and Love One Another

Bible Lesson: John 15:4-17 (KJV)


Key verse:
John 15:5 (KJV) - "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing."

(Pop-up references come from The New Living Translation courtesy of Faithlife Reftagger)


What shall we learn from this lesson:

In the reference Scripture, we are led to understand our dependence on Jesus and His teachings is paramount. He is the vine and we are the branches. Therefore, our spiritual nurishment and spiritual life depend on Him.

Just as with any plant, we must remain connected to the source of nurishment if we are to live and produce fruit. We remain connected to Christ through the Holy Spirit and the word of God. We have an internal committment to live as He desires us to.


The Bible lesson link (at the beginning of the lesson) is for the King James Version. You may also wish to read the New Living Translation Bible Version of John 15:4-17

The key verse: John 15:5 (NLT) - "Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing."





November 15 – Confident Love

Alternate Title – Know That God Loves You!

Bible Lesson: 1 John 3:11-24 (KJV)


Key verse:
1 John 3:24 (KJV) - And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us."

(Pop-up references come from The New Living Translation courtesy of Faithlife Reftagger)


What shall we learn from this lesson:

Much of the Ten Commandments as well as much of Jesus' ministry on earth is based on our love for God and our love for each other. Jesus affirmed how important this love is when an expert in religious law asked Him which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses:

Matthew 22:37-40 NLT - "Jesus replied, 'You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.'"

As an example, the commandments which say not to not steal, covet, lie, commit adultery, and not to kill are all satisfied if we loved our neighbor as our selves. These are all sins against another person which would not happen if they loved one another.

John said to "love one another" is a message that had been preached from the beginning (1 John 3:11). He wrote these words decades after Jesus had ascended to heaven.

This was during a time that the early church was in need of consistent and reliable instruction such as found in First John. Otherwise believers could fall victim to false teaching that taught false doctrine.

During this time, the message of Christian love had not changed when it came from reliable souce such as the Apostle John. It is the same message Jesus taught.

Imagine what the world would look like if everyone truly loved each other as God wants us to. Imagine if there was spiritual unity between all of us on earth.

Violence would disappear along with hunger, poverty, and hatred. As a society, we have struggled to find a solution for these urgent and enduring problems even though the answer is in three words from Jesus: love one another.

The example of Cain and Abel (1 John 3:12) demonstrates the contrast between those who have the loving spirit of Christ as opposed to those who have hate in their heart. Out of faith and love, Abel offered God a substantial sacrifice that pleased the Lord, but God was not pleased with Cain's offering.

Rather than trying to give a better sacrifice, Cain let jealousy and envy invade and dominate his spirit. This led him to hate Abel, not because of anything Abel had done to him personally but because he had failed where his brother had succeeded.

Cain let jealousy and envy develop into hate. The hatred in his heart drove him to kill his brother, Abel.

Not only is "loving one another" a message, but it is also a commandment that is interwoven in obeying God and modeled after Christ.

Jesus told the Parable of the Good Samaritan to illustrate that our neighborwho we should lovecould be anyone. Our neighbor is anyone to whom we can show mercy and God's love. It doesn't have to be someone whose views or physical attributes are similar to our own. It could be anyone.

We are even instructed to love our enemies and to do good to those who hate us (Luke 6:27-28).

This type of love is modeled after the type of love Jesus has for us. It is not like the romantic and emotional love that sometimes exists between an unmarried man and womanwhich may come and gobut a love that lives on a higher plane; a more lasting plane.

When a man and woman become husband and wife, their love requirement is elevated to a higher planea more lasting plane. Paul said the following in Ephesians 5:24-25 NIV:

"Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her."

We have discussed romantic love, the love in marraige, and the love of our neighbor. Now we will discuss the love Jesus has for us and how that relates to the love we should have for each other.

While speaking to His disciples at the Last Supper, the Lord gave a commandment revealing how they should love one another. He said their love toward each other should be as He has loved them.

John 13:34 NIV - "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another."

Even though these words were told to His special disciples, we are also His disciples and are supposed to model our life after the example of Christ.

We should also remember that the love of Christ is intertwined with the love of God the Father; they are from the same source. With this in mind, let us describe the love of God through Jesus Christ.

His love is sacrificial - He died on the cross to give His life as a sacrifice for our sins (1 John 3:16). Jesus did not personally commit any sin but He took our place to atone for our sins, like the sacrificial lamb. By doing so, He suffered unimaginable pain at the hands of unbelievers.

He said, "There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends" (John 15:13 NLT).

Our love should be sacrificial - In all likelihood, we will never be called upon to literally die for a friend. But we should welcome an opportunity to sacrifice something for the physical and spiritual well-being of someone in need.

It's easy to say we love someone as long as we don't have to prove it.


His love is one of forgiveness - The purpose of Jesus giving His life on the cross was for our forgiveness by God.

Our love should be one of forgiveness - Paul said, "Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." (Ephesians 4:32 NASB).


His love is unconditional - "But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners" (Romans 5:8 NLT).

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16 KJV).

Our love should be unconditional - We must not put conditions on our love for each other. We can't say, "I will love you if you come around to my way of thinking." We are instructed to love another even if he/she is an enemy.

That doesn't mean we have to like or encourage what they say or do. But it does mean we will not stop praying for them. In fact, we will pray that their actions will become more godly so that their soul will be saved.

By doing so, our actions will demonstrate to others and to ourselves that this is how we truly are. "Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God" (1 John 3:19 NLT).


His love is everlasting - Paul said, "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39).

In other words, the Lord's love for us is everlasting.

Our love should be everlasting - Our love for others should not "come and go" but should exist on a higher and lasting plane.

"Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions" (1 John 3:18 NLT).


Therefore, when our love is modeled after that of Jesus it will be sacrificial, forgiving, unconditional, and everlasting. To accomplish such a love is not an easy task especially when we try to do it alone.

But, through His grace, God has provided help in the form of the Holy Spirit to be with us as we try to live a godly life.

As we try to grow in faith in Jesus Christ and to increase our love for others, our road map is to improve the aspects of Christian love:

On the other hand, if we let anger and hatred rule our spirit, we are giving in to the desires of Satan and opposing the wishes of God. But, if we let our life be controlled by the Holy Spirit, we will have Christian love for one another and not hatred.

Through the influence of the Holy Spirit, we will find ourselves supporting the successes of our brothers and sisters rather than hating or envying them because of their success. We will find ourselves becoming more forgiving and more compassionate.

It was jealousy and envy that moved Saul to hate David and to want him dead. It was jealousy and envy which moved the brothers of Joseph to conspire to kill him.

We can also fall to such weaknesses if we don't seek the guidance and influence of the Holy Spirit that indwells all believers.

The Holy Spirit can help us remain in fellowship with the Lord because He can help us defeat our greatest and most sinful temptations. We were never meant to face the sinful world alone. That is why the Holy Spirit was sent to us and why we should ask for His guidance.

In our reference Scripture, it is said, "And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us." (1 John 3:24b)

"That concept can be difficult to comprehend and embrace, but it is one each Christian must understand. If we do not call upon the Holy Spirit for help, we are left trying to live out our life, disregarding the close association with God which He has graciously provided.*

"It's like a carpenter pondering on how to cut a board in half, and disregarding the saw near his fingertips, provided to him for that purpose."*

Having a loving spirit toward everyone, including those who have been mean and unfair to us, is not an easy task. It is not something we will accomplish overnight. It might take a lifetime.

But we must continue to confidently remind ourselves that this is what God wants us to do. He has shown us what He is willing to do for us ... now it is our turn to show Him what we are willing to do for Him.


The Bible lesson link (at the beginning of the lesson) is for the King James Version. You may also wish to read the New Living Translation Bible Version of 1 John 3:11-24

The key verse: 1 John 3:24 (NLT) - "Those who obey God's commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us."


*Quoted from The Book of the Holy Spirit: Joyful living (Page 99)






November 22 – Sharing Love

Alternate Title – Responsive Love!

Alternate Title #2 – Love Means Sharing

Bible Lesson: Acts 4:32-5:11 (KJV)


The Key verse:
Acts 4:32 (KJV) - "And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common."

(Pop-up references come from The New Living Translation courtesy of Faithlife Reftagger)


What shall we learn from this lesson:

The reference Scripture is from a time when the Christian church was in its early development. It was akin to a movement rather than an established organizational body as we have today. Since the time of the early church, the number of believers has grown to over two billion people worldwide that identify as Christian.

Our reference Scripture is placed in a time when doctrine, ideals, rules, and regulations of the new church were only in the early stages. In many respects, the Apostles were involved in this development. They preached from the power of the resurrection of Christ and the reality of Pentecost and the Holy Spirit.

The accepted thinking was that no member should go in need while the body of Christians had resources to help. They shared what they had so no one was needy.

Acts 4:34-35 "There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need."

But there was a man named Ananias who, along with his wife Sapphira, sold some property and were dishonest with revealing how much money they had received from the sale. They gave a portion of the money to the Apostles under the guise what they had given was the full amount.

Peter told them they had lied to God.

Acts 5:3-4 "'Then Peter said, 'Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself.

'The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was also yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren't lying to us but to God!'"

They both died (separately) in the presence of Peter after hearing they had lied to God (Acts 4:5,10). Their sin was not in withholding the money, because it was theirs to do with what they pleased. Their sin was deceptionlying about donating all of the proceeds from the sale.

This is akin to claiming we are tithing our income to the church when we are not. Most likely no one knows we are lying except God. Some churches give special recognition to those who tithe. To accept such recognition when we are knowingly undeserving is like lying to God.

As could be expected, the sudden deaths of Ananias and his wife, due to the deception, caused great fear in the community (Acts 5:11). This was a good thing for the community as a whole because it would encourage everyone to be truthful and honest in their giving and dealings with the new church. They may be able to fool man with false devoutness, but not the Holy Spirit.


The Bible lesson link (at the beginning of the lesson) is for the King James Version. You may also wish to read the New Living Translation Bible Version of Acts 4:32-5:11

The key verse: Acts 4:32 (NLT) - "All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had."



November 29 – Impartial Love

Alternate Title – Love Doesn't Judge Others

Bible Lesson: James 2:1-13 (KJV)


The key verse:
James 2:5 (KJV) - "Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love
him
?"

(Pop-up references come from The New Living Translation courtesy of Faithlife Reftagger)


What shall we learn from this lesson:

This lesson has as its foundation the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself (James 2:8). If we discriminate against someone just because he/she is poor or if we unjustly favor one person over another, we are breaking this commandment. And if we break this commandment it is the same as breaking all the commandments (James 2:10).

We would not want to be discriminated against and therefore we should not do so to our neighbor. Our neighbor is anyone to whom we can show mercy and God's love. It doesn't have to be someone whose views or physical attributes are similar to our own. It could be anyone.

This is in the spirit of loving our neighbor as ourselves. If we want it for our self we must also want it for and give it to our neighbor.

It is in this spirit that we must show mercy to others if we want God to show mercy to us (James 2:13). The same is true for forgiveness. If we want God to forgive our sins against Him, we must forgive those who have sinned against us.

"For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions." Matthew 6:14-15 (NASB)

We want to be shown mercy and forgiveness, therefore "to love our neighbor as our self" dictates we should show others mercy and forgiveness.

Through love, we will treat each other fairly and without discrimination. It is through this impartial love for our neighbor that we will have a welcoming church, free for all who wish to attend, without partiality. This is the guiding principle that James taught through our reference Scripture. He used an example of when a rich person and a poor person attends one of their meetings. Imagine the "meeting" is our church service or other church activity:

"Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in." (James 2:2 NIV).

"If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, "You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor"—well, doesn't this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives? If you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law.
"
(James 2:3-4, 9 NLT).

It all comes back to loving our neighbor as ourselves. If we should fall on hard times and are poor or homeless how would we want to be treated when we enter a church service? If we are told to "stand over there, or else sit on the floor," we would be hurt and probably would never return to that church ... or any church. That is not how Jesus wants us to treat the poor (James 2:5).


The Bible lesson link (at the beginning of the lesson) is for the King James Version. You may also wish to read the New Living Translation Bible Version of James 2:1-13

The key verse: James 2:5 (NLT) - "Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn't God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren't they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him?"





December 6 – Called Through Heritage

Alternate Title – Called to Be Heir

Bible Lesson: Matthew 1:1-6, 16-17; Hebrews 1:1-5 (KJV)


The key verse:
Hebrews 1:2 (KJV) - "Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; ?"

(Pop-up references come from The New Living Translation courtesy of Faithlife Reftagger)


What shall we learn from this lesson:

Matthew was a good choice for recording the genealogy of Jesus. As a former tax collector, he had to be a meticulous record-keeper and a literate person. His records traced the lineage of Jesus from Abraham through David to Joseph the husband of Mary - who was the mother of Jesus Christ.

Luke's genealogy of Jesus is located in Luke 3:23-37. It traces Jesus' blood lineage all the way back to Adam through Abraham and David.

The importance of the two genealogies is to show that Jesus was a descendent of King David because the Messiah was prophesied to come from David's line (Jeremiah 23:5–6).

The importance of the covenants associated with Abraham, David, and Jesus cannot be overstated. The genealogy shows that Jesus was a descendant of both Abraham and David. He is the ultimate fulfillment of those covenants.

Another interesting observation is that several women are mentioned in the genealogy who were Gentiles: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and the wife of Urias (Bathsheba). In addition, Tamar had resorted to prostitution to achieve her goals and Bathsheba had become David's wife through a sinful plot by David. Their son, Solomon, would become king of Israel.

Some theologians believe the diverse nature of Jesus' genealogy shows that Jesus was the king of all peoples, both Jew and Gentile, and even some with a tainted past.

Through God's promises to Abraham, his descendants would be a blessing to all nations (Genesis 22:18). Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of that promise for He is certainly a blessing to all nations.


The Bible lesson link (at the beginning of the lesson) is for the King James Version. You may also wish to read the New Living Translation Bible Version of Matthew 1:1-6, 16-17; Hebrews 1:1-5

The key verse: Hebrews 1:2 (NLT) - "And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe?"




December 13 – Called Before Birth

Alternate Title – Called to Be Immanuel

Bible Lesson: Matthew 1:18-25 (KJV)


The key verses:
Matthew 1:20b-21 (KJV) - "Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. "

(Pop-up references come from The New Living Translation courtesy of Faithlife Reftagger)


What shall we learn from this lesson:

The lesson for today describes the events leading up to the supernatural birth of Jesus through the virgin Mary. This "virgin birth" is one of the central beliefs in Christianity. What it means is that Mary conceived the baby Jesus through the Holy Spirit while still a virgin (Matthew 1:18).

Even though Joseph did marry her, they had no marital relations until after Jesus was born. Therefore, the child was born while she was still a virgin even though she was married (Matt 1:24-25).

Although Matthew doesn't list anything Joseph had to say about Mary's pregnancy, we can only imagine the heartache, embarrassment, and apprehension he must have initially experienced when he discovered that the one he was betrothed (engaged) to was pregnant...but not by him (Matt 1:18 ESV).

Joseph had to make a decision on how to proceed. Jewish practices for such a situation is that the woman would be stoned to death (Deuteronomy 22:23-24). He did not want this to happen to Mary so he considered quietly ending the engagement (Matt 1:19). In Judaism of that day, the process of ending an engagement was more of a formal process.

As he was considering what to do, God sent an angel to explain the upcoming birth to Joseph so that he would not break the engagement but would marry Mary. The angel appeared to him in a dream and explained that Mary was pregnant by the Holy Spirit (Matt 1:20). Also explained was that the child would be no ordinary child but will save his people from their sins (Matt 1:21).

When Joseph woke up he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded and he took Mary as his wife (Matt 1:24). Also, as commanded, when the child was born He was named Jesus.

Joseph and Mary were called upon by God to fulfill an important role. Each of them responded with obedience and faith. When we are called upon to fulfill a need in the church, will we look upon the opportunity as a blessing or as something to dread?


The Bible lesson link (at the beginning of the lesson) is for the King James Version. You may also wish to read the New Living Translation Bible Version of Matthew 1:18-25

The key verses: Matthew 1:20b-21 (NLT) - "'Joseph, son of David,' the angel said, 'do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.'"






December 20 – A Regal Response to Holy Light

Alternate Title – Called to Worship

Bible Lesson: Matthew 2:7-15 (KJV) ; For the Alternate Title, also include Matthew 2:1-2 KJV


The key verse:
Matthew 2:11 (KJV) - "And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh."

(Pop-up references come from The New Living Translation courtesy of Faithlife Reftagger)


What shall we learn from this lesson:

This is the time of year when we pay special honor to the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Traditionally, many churches and homes will display a nativity scene showing Joseph, Mary, the baby Jesus, the shepherds, and often times, three wise men (also called Magi) that brought gifts.

However, if we examine the Scripture in Matthew 2, we will see there is no mention of how many wise men came to worship Jesus and certainly no statement that they came while the baby was still in the manger.

In fact, the key verse for this lesson says they came into a "house" to see the "young child" Jesus (Matt 2:11 KJV). There was no doubt in their minds who the child was because they bowed down and worshiped Him (Matt 2:11).

This indicates that by the time the wise men came, Joseph, Mary, and Jesus had moved from the location where the animals were kepta place they were forced to use in the emergency of the birth.

Why did Joseph and Mary go to Bethlehem?: Joseph was required by a decree from the emperor, Caesar Augustus, to return to his family location of origin for a census. Quite often such a census was used to determine taxes. Since Joseph and Mary were members of the House and family of King David, he had to go to David's hometown, Bethlehem (1 Samuel 16:1). This was a small village about six miles southwest of Jerusalem.

We do not know if Joseph and Mary were aware of the prophecy that the Savior would be born in Bethlehem which was made 700 years earlier (Micah 5:2). It does show that God has control over all events present and future to accomplish His will because the future was shaped such that the prophecy was fulfilled.

What kind of trip did they have to endure from Nazareth to Bethlehem?: This was not an easy trip for Mary since it was close to the time the baby would be born (Luke 2:5). The trip was hilly and 80 miles long. Bethlehem was at a lofty altitude around 2,500 feet above sea level and about 100 feet above Jerusalem.

King Herod (Herod the Great) had told the wise men that after they had found the baby to stop by on their way home to tell him where He was. This was a well-advised plan to rely on men bearing gifts for information rather than sending soldiers bearing swords. This way, without alarming anyone, he could easily verify that the baby truly existed and, if so, where He was located.

What type of person was Herod the Great?: He was the Roman-appointed king of Judea and was known as a cruel tyrant who brutally treated those who opposed him. When he heard of a baby that was born King of the Jews (Matt 2:2 KJV), he viewed this as a threat to his kingship. Out of paranoia, he decided to eliminate the threat through murder.

During Herod's rule, it is said he was responsible for the murder of one of his wives, Mariamne, her two sons, her mother, and her grandfather because he believed they conspired against him. He also had his firstborn, Antipater, killed 1.

When the wise men left Jerusalem, the guiding lightthe star reappeared and they were overcome with joy. It stopped over the place where the Child was (Matt 2:9-10).

The Bible doesn't reveal how old Jesus was at that time the wise men visited but the indications are He was older than a newborn.

Who were the wise men (Magi)?: The book of Matthew doesn't give any details of who specifically the wise men were. No names or occupational practices are mentioned in Matthew but the inference is that they were knowledgeable and important men who, even though they were Gentiles, knew about the prophecy of the Messiah being born. They were thought to be men of wealth judging from the gifts they gave.

It is also said they may have practiced astrology and fortune-telling. Because of this, the Magi were believed to be counselors to royalty based on their so-called insight into the future. This type of occupation would lead them to search for knowledge of prophecies and future events that were to occur...such as the birth of a Savior.

Did their gifts have any special meaning?: Although all the gifts were valuable during the time of Jesus, the Bible doesn't assign any specific significance to them. However, by tradition, there is some symbolism. The gold was a valuable gift worthy of giving to a king and thereby could be a symbol of kingship on earth. Frankincense was burned by priests in religious rituals and has been combined with other ingredients to make a holy perfume (Exodus 30:34). It could be a symbol of holiness or Jesus' priesthood on earth.

Myrrh was a substance with a pleasing fragrance used in perfumes and also in embalming oil (John 19:39). Therefore it could be a symbol of suffering and death on earth. Together these gifts could symbolize "the Holy King and priest on earth who will suffer and die". In other words, the gifts themselves could symbolize what lies in the future of Jesus on earth.

The wise men worshiped the baby through faith and not because of anything Jesus had done or anything said to them. Their actions contrasted to the worship of the shepherds who had seen and heard an angel and a magnitude of heavenly hosts announcing the birth of the Messiah in Bethlehem:

"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. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord" Luke 2:9-11 KJV

The shepherds came to worship as well as the wise men, who were gentiles. This foreshadows the fact that Jesus would be the savior of all people; Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor.

After some time had gone by since the wise men left Herod, he realized they had tricked him and would not be returning to give him a report that the baby existed and where He was living. This infuriated Herod.

He calculated that the baby would be about two years old at that time based on when the wise men said they had first seen the star. He then sent soldiers to kill all young boys in Bethlehem who were two years old and younger (Matt 2:16).

From this, we can surmise that when the wise men visited Mary that Jesus was two years old or less but older than a newborn.

We also know that by the time Herod's soldiers reached Bethlehem they would not find Jesus, the wise men, or Mary and Joseph. God had warned them of Herod's intent to kill the baby. Through a dream, God's angel told Joseph that he and his family must urgently flee to Egypt because Herod intended to kill the baby (Matt 2:13). They left that night.

The guiding star that had led the wise men to Jesus was no ordinary star as we know of stars today. While it's not unusual to navigate by the location of stars at night, especially by sailors in times gone by, the star the wise men followed stopped above a specific location (Matt 2:9). This miraculous light must have been relatively close to the earth for this to occur.

It is doubtful this was one of the typical twinkling stars we see in the sky at night; the closest of which is almost 6 trillion miles away. But, we can describe this "star" as a Holy Light that announced the arrival of Jesus the Messiah. What a wondrous sight the light must have been to the wise men. The Bible says they were filled with joy at the sight of the star (Matt 2:10).

The Bible does not indicate that anyone other than the wise men saw or followed the star. As an example, the Bible does not say how the shepherds found the manger in which lay the baby Jesus.

But the nature of the "star" is unimportant. The important fact is this was a supernatural light that led the wise men to where Jesus was located so they could bring gifts and worship Him (Matt 2:11).

Today, following that star can symbolize to us the path to Jesus and the cross. The question remains to us, "Is that King, born in a manger, Lord of our hearts?"


The Bible lesson link (at the beginning of the lesson) is for the King James Version. You may also wish to read the New Living Translation Bible Version of Matthew 2:7-15 . For the Alternate Title, also include Matthew 2:1-2.

The key verse: Matthew 2:11 (NLT) - "They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh."

1https://www.britannica.com//biography/Herod-king-of-Judaea






For access to all chapters of the King James Version Bible in audio and visual formats, visit the Audio-Bible.com web site.

For other versions (NIV, New Living Translation, etc.) of the Bible in audio and visual formats, visit the World Wide Study Bible page of Christian Classics Eternal Library site. Also visit the New Living Translation web site.

Some information on this page may be referenced from the NLT Study Bible, the Standard Lesson Commentary, and Commentary by David Guzik, and gotquestions.org. Frederick L. Marsh is the commentary author of the information contained in this page. He is the author of the book: "The Book of the Holy Spirit: Joyful living." The opinions expressed on this page are his alone.



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