God Incarnate: The Word Became Flesh and Dwelt Among Us
What does it mean that Jesus came into the world as one of us? How does the Incarnation of Christ affect us today?
Discussion Guide for December 6, 2020
Study of Matthew 1:1-17
There is at least one sad byproduct to the way that Christmas has become a time of year associated with consumerism and busy-ness. Very few people take the time to be quiet and contemplate the profound mystery that the birth of Jesus represents. Christians for many centuries contemplated and wrestled and argued with the fact the we today take for a given.
That fact is the incarnation, that God took on flesh and became a man present with us in the time and space of this world.
The Nicene Creed, the first formal statement of faith (summary of Scripture) to be written and accepted by churches from every part of the world, talks about the incarnation of Jesus this way:
We believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
begotten from the Father before all ages,
God from God,
Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made;
of the same essence as the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven;
he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary,
and was made human.
He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered and was buried.
The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures.
He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again with glory
to judge the living and the dead.
His kingdom will never end.
Exercises for your Group
- Take four minutes to silently contemplate what it means that Jesus entered into this world. Did you find this kind of silence easy or difficult? Share one thought you have with your group.
- Challenge each other to memorize the first part of the Nicene Creed printed above. See how many people in your group are able to complete the challenge by Christmas. Bonus to memorize the last section as well.
The genealogies of Jesus that are found in Matthew and Luke and Luke exist to communicate some important aspects of the incarnation.
- Jesus’ genealogy confirms that he was not any sort of plan B for salvation. His coming is the focal point of all history.
- Jesus is 100% God, born of a virgin and qualified both to save and to rule.
- Jesus is 100% man, fully qualified to redeem fallen man from sin.
- All sorts of people are used by God to fulfill his grand plans.
- What do you think about when you hear the word “incarnation?”
- What part of God becoming man blows your mind?
- Does the existence of God in this world give you a sense of fear, comfort, or both?
- How do you think a first century Jew would have responded to the genealogy of presented in Matthew 1:1-17?
- What do you think Matthew is trying to communicate through the genealogy to people who are aware of the story of the Old Testament?