Explore the Bible: Proclaim!

1:05 PM

Today, people are searching for Jesus, but they might never initiate a visit to a church service or Bible study group. In Luke 2:4-19, we see the example given to all who believe in Christ, to go and tell others. As a believer, you aren’t to be a passive recipient, but rather an active participant in God’s plan, of helping others understand that the birth of Christ brought Good News for anyone who would listen and respond to the gospel. The Explore the Bible Study: Proclaim! will focus on helping you embrace your role in proclaiming the Good News of Jesus to others!

Birth Announcements

Think of all the unique birth announcements you have heard, read, or observed over the years. Here is a sampling of a couple I, of course, read on the internet!

“Little Dillinger Bowie is finally here! I’d post a picture, but he is purple-yellow, his head is smooshed into a cone, and he has something called “baby acne,” so it looks like the Gerber baby went on a bender, and then wandered through a pork-processing plant. Maybe tomorrow?” 

“Julian Marcus has arrived—a week early! Due to time restraints related to my criminally short, unpaid maternity leave, this birth announcement will double as my out-of-office email.”

While these are humorous, the birth announcement of Jesus, the King of kings, was much different from what anyone might imagine. The announcement of His birth included a blending of the ordinary with the heralding reserved for royalty. 

As you walk through a study of Luke 2:4-19 and examine the circumstances and people involved in the brith announcement of Christ, you will discover two things that can help you understand more fully the way God is working in this world.

  1. First, you will come to understand from Luke 2:4-7 that God orchestrated world events placing Mary and Joseph at the perfect place and at the perfect time for Jesus' birth! Equally, God continually works to bring His plans to fruition and to involve you in those plans. Proverbs 21:30 tells us that there is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord (NIV). Psalm 33:10-11 reminds us that the Lord frustrates the counsel of the nations; He thwarts the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart from generation to generation (CSB). You may wonder if the circumstances you are currently facing, or the current conditions of the world somehow thwart the plans of God or His plan to involve you, but this is simply not true.
  2. In Luke 2:8-19 we see that anyone can hear, and any believer can share this Good News. God’s plans, including those involving us, are not limited by personal issues, world events, or circumstances. The shepherds had no spiritual pride; they were lowly, every-day, run-of-the-mill, dirty, stinky shepherds, watching their flocks by night.  When they compared their every-day lives to the experience  of being in the presence of God, it did terrify them as it should have. Immediately, the angel encouraged them by saying, “Don’t be afraid.”  God brushed aside the shepherds’ fears and reassured them that the news would bring great joy – not only to them but to many others!

Something to Consider Today:

Notice something that I believe is very important in Luke 2:12. The shepherds were not specifically commanded to go to Bethlehem. They were only told what they would find if they went. What motivated them to go seek out the Messiah? I believe they were motivated because of the exciting news and because they experienced the amazing presence of God. We must ask ourselves if we have to be commanded before we "go," or if the overwhelming encounter with God through worship, prayer, and Bible study is enough to cause us to seek Jesus and then to tell others. 

God’s Son, the Anointed One, became our Savior! The shepherds had a choice when they heard this message, as do we, but their hearts were so full they couldn’t do anything else but go! Verse 16 tells us “They hurried off”?

Consider what these shepherds left behind to seek Jesus: 

They left their fears, socio-economic barriers, livelihood, lifestyle, and possibly even their future. One must wonder if we feel as if this is too much to ask today. Most of us who live in the United States don’t have to sacrifice nearly as much as they did, yet many seem to find it difficult to follow Jesus today. Many are backing away or struggling with following God because of this pandemic in which following Jesus should be the main focus of our lives. Instead, it seems many believers are more concerned with preserving their comfortable way of life or arguing with one another regarding non-essential issues, instead of seeking Jesus, staying connected to the local body of believers, and sharing Christ with others.

Fear was something many individuals, including the shepherds, experienced when God was announcing His plans for the birth of Christ. Every time, they were reassured that they didn’t have to be afraid. Actually, part of the Good News is that Jesus would bring peace, something so many are looking for in this troubled world.

I pray that this passage and study will not only challenge you, but will challenge your group to offer the peace that comes with knowing Christ. Obviously, peace as the world defines it has not occurred. Peace is not merely the absence of conflict. Jesus said in John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful.” This is the kind of peace we need today. If you know Christ, then you know Peace! Share that peace with others during this Christmas season that seems so wrought by troubles and struggles.

Do not be afraid when God speaks. Do Not be afraid to seek God when He speaks. Do not be afraid of today’s circumstances or regarding what the future holds. Do not be afraid to tell others of your relationship with God. The joy you have as a believer could be the very thing God uses to help others experience the peace that comes with knowing Christ!

The Bible study helps have been modified in order to provide opportunities for both online and face-to-face teaching venues. Ideas in boxes will be provided for engaging groups more when meeting in person. The boxed items could also be modified and used for online discussion as well. 

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