A Storied Christmas Week 2 – Discussion Questions

MAIN POINT:

Herod tried to use power and control to manipulate people and information; he refused to surrender to Jesus.

ICEBREAKER:

Was it a struggle for you to give up control of your own life in order to accept Jesus?

INTRODUCTION:

We learn in Matthew 2:1-12 that the Magi from the East had seen the star that signaled Jesus’ birth. They asked Herod where they could find the king of the Jews. Herod asked his advisors where the Messiah was to be born. They told Herod to look in Bethlehem. Herod pretended to the Magi that he too wanted to worship this newborn king. After the Magi found Jesus, they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod.

God’s angel appeared to Joseph in a dream to command that Joseph take the child and his mother to Egypt where they would be safe. Once Herod realized he had been tricked by the Magi, he was furious. He commanded that all boys two and under in and around Bethlehem be killed.

Herod was focused on maintaining his power and control. He had an opportunity to surrender to Jesus, but pride stood in his way.

ENCOUNTERING GOD THROUGH BIBLE STUDY:

Read Matthew 2:13-16.

1. Why did it seem logical for the Magi to ask King Herod where the Messiah was to be born? Refer back to Matthew 2:4-6.

2. What did the Magi give to Jesus? Were the gifts valuable? What gifts do you have to give Jesus?

3. Why did the Magi change their route back home?

4. How did Joseph know to flee Bethlehem?

5. Why do you think God used dreams to warn both the Magi and Joseph?

6. To what extent did Herod want to harm Jesus?

7. What was Herod’s focus? Can you share a time when you were focused on your own power and control? What were the circumstances and how did your focus affect the situation?

8. A focus on our own power and control can lead to pride. Does pride prevent you from a total surrender to Jesus?

LEADER NOTES

1. Herod had the power to call together the chief priests and scribes to obtain information.
2. See Matthew 2:11. Gold, frankincense and myrrh were very valuable. Sometimes what we have to offer God is of monetary value, sometimes what we have to offer is our time or our talents.
3. See Matthew 2:12
4. See Matthew 2:13
5. This is a matter of opinion, but you might turn the discussion to ways in which we can hear God speak to us today. Sometimes other Christian counselors can help us understand what God is telling us, sometimes we might hear a voice inside of us, and some people today have dreams and visions.
6. See Matthew 2:16. Herod did not want just to harm Jesus, but to kill him, and he was willing to kill many others to make sure that Jesus died and did not usurp his power.
7. Herod made the mistake of focusing on himself and his own power. He went to great lengths to try to preserve that power.

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