The text for this lesson is Matthew 2.
- As God guided the Wise Men by a star to Jesus, so He guides and brings us, through His Word and Sacraments, to Jesus and life forever with Him.
- Law: In my sin, I follow what is false and am led to destruction.
- Gospel: God, in His love, guides and enables me to follow what is true and life-giving, His Son, Jesus.
- How did you come to realize that Jesus is the Christ who came into the world to save sinners?
- Read Matthew 2:1–12. In verse 1, Matthew gives an abrupt, surprising introduction of the Magi (Wise Men): “Behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem.” When does this story take place? Who were the Magi? See Daniel 2:1–11, especially verses 2 and 10. Why does Matthew introduce them with the attention-grabbing word behold?
- When the Magi arrive in Jerusalem, for whom are they looking and what do they want to do when they find that person? Who actually makes the connection that they must be referring to the Christ? What do the Magi need in order to find and bow down to the Christ Child?
- Again in Matthew 2:9, the evangelist uses the word behold to grab our attention for something surprising. Why do the Magi need the star to guide them again, and how does their response to the star show this?
- When the Magi finally see the infant King, what exactly do they do? What gifts do they offer and what do these gifts mean? See Isaiah 60:6 and Psalm 141:2. What do these gifts say about Jesus Christ Himself? How might we apply them to our Christian life and worship?
- Read Matthew 2:13–18. When Joseph takes Jesus and Mary and escapes to Egypt, what does it mean for His reign of salvation and for us His people?
- Read Matthew 2:19–23. Here, Matthew records Jesus’ return to the land of Israel and the Holy Family finally settling in Nazareth of Galilee. What does it mean that “the prophets might be fulfilled: ‘He shall be called a Nazarene” (Matthew 2:23)? How can John 1:45–46 and John 7:40–44, 52 help us understand Matthew’s message in this verse?
- Why do we call this story, and hence the feast day on which we hear and celebrate this story each year, the Epiphany of our Lord?
- How can the story of the holy innocents—the baby boys whom Herod brutally slaughtered—help us be proactive in standing up against the sin of abortion in our day?