Series: What Child Is This?
Sermon: Joseph
Speaker: Japhet De Oliveira
Writer: Japhet De Oliveira
Kids Sections: Jessyka Albert

Refresh: Open with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.

Read: Matthew 1:19-25 in the New International Version (NIV). Note 1–3 insights or questions. 

Reflect: It would be remiss of us to cover this entire week and not reflect a little bit on the miracle of the conception that created Jesus. The difficulty is that we have so many fantasy and mythological stories floating around in literature and the media at large that it can become somewhat difficult to truly understand what took place. For Matthew, of course, this was not his tension. Matthew simply wanted us to know that birth of any child is always a miracle in itself. However, this life was still different. It was simply by the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus was moved into human life. For Matthew, this is a deep reminder of the miracle of our lives. The power of conversion, the power to change, does not come from us, but from the Holy Spirit. Our new life is only a new life in Jesus, when we are born of the Spirit. The wonderful conversation that took place with Nicodemus and Jesus as recorded in the Gospel of John, lends itself to this point. 

This is why salvation is so hard to accept at times—because we want to control it. That desire to manage our salvation is the same kind of tension that Joseph faced in his marriage. He wanted to control the damage as “honorably” as he knew how. What he did not know was that God was going to call him to a much higher road. A road that would bring ultimate joy. When we come to the moment in our lives that we need Jesus, that is a response to the power of the Holy Spirit nudging us. When we accept that nudging, we choose to follow, and at some point we are baptized both of the water and the Spirit.  Matthew referred to this as taking up the cross and following Jesus. Luke said that this is something we do daily. 

Recalibrate: What do you need to give over to Jesus today?

Respond: Share a prayer for repentance and confession with Jesus. 

Research: Compare Matthew 16:24-28 with Luke 9:23-27.

Live Wonder (ages 0–3)
Dream with your child about what they will grow up to be. Tell them how God has such big plans for them and how He will guide them every step of the way. Pray with your child that they grow in God every single day of their lives.

Live Adventure (ages 4–11)
Have you ever been on a really long car ride? Were you going somewhere exciting? That’s kind of like what prophecy is—knowing where you’re going, but having to wait to get there. God’s people waited and waited for Jesus to be born. What do you have to look forward to in your relationship with Jesus?

Live Purpose (ages 12–16) 
Why do you think it was important for Matthew to remind us that this was fulfilling prophecy? God constantly reminds us that He is in control with the past pointing to the future and the future pointing to the past. What is something you’re glad God is in control of?

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