Mature Class Study, teacher Leslie Crain.
We’re in a season where many people’s lives revolve around buying and giving gifts. As God’s children, we need to focus on the gift from the heavenly Father. He planned a long time for his gift. There were about 350 prophecies about Jesus coming. God comforted king Ahaz with the promise of a Savior and said to fear not.
Isaiah 7:4 And say unto him, Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be fainthearted…
Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
God also reminded Joseph of that promise as he struggled in his mind about Mary having a baby. He said, fear not.
Matthew 1:20-23 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
God with us – such a gift and treasure! Sometimes we over look this. That gift has come to many in the Bible. God told king Ahaz take heed, be quiet, and fear not. God told Joseph fear not. The angels told Mary and the shepherds fear not. Jesus said fear not, only believe to a grieving father. Jesus told us, fear not little flock. These words bring us comfort and we don’t have to fear, no matter how many questions we have or how bleak or unsettled things may seem. Jesus came because it was prophesied and God doesn’t make promises that he won’t fulfill. Jesus came because of God’s love for us.
John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years so they must have been weary. They had a great victory against king Arad and the Canaanites. They went on after their victory but they got weary and were discouraged.`
Numbers 21:1-3 And when king Arad the Canaanite, which dwelt in the south, heard tell that Israel came by the way of the spies; then he fought against Israel, and took some of them prisoners. And Israel vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou wilt indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities. And the Lord hearkened to the voice of Israel, and delivered up the Canaanites; and they utterly destroyed them and their cities: and he called the name of the place Hormah.
The people spoke against Moses and were not satisfied with the bread God gave them every day. They didn’t like what they were given so they were unthankful. The Israelites complained about the light bread – the manna. People become discontent and unthankful, even right in the services, so nothing will make them happy. God sent serpents that killed many of the people. God had previously protected them from the serpents and scorpions. When the serpents began biting the people, they asked Moses to pray for them. Moses, as a type of the Son of God, forgave them and prayed for them. Jesus said, pray for those who despitefully use you. Moses prayed for them over and over again that were despitefully using him as he led them through the desert. God said to make a fiery serpent to put up on a pole. If the people would believe and look at that serpent, they would live. It was there for everyone to see. If they refused to look at the serpent through unbelief, they died. It wasn’t hard but was simple! If you tried any other way, you would die. It’s the same way today. Follow God and his leader and you will live.
Numbers 21:4-7 And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.
Jesus reminded the people about the story they knew about the Israelites. It is the same today. We’ll live and have an abundant life if we believe what God has said and look to the Savior.
John 3:15-17 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
God didn’t ask people to do miracles or anything but to believe on Jesus as the Son of God and the messiah, and to follow his words. To believe, we adhere to and stick to what God has promised. We trust him and rely on him.
John 6:28-29 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
John 6:28-29 (Amplified Bible) Then they asked Him, What are we to do, so that we may habitually be doing the works of God? Jesus answered, This is the work of God: that you believe [adhere to, trust in, rely on, and have faith] in the One whom He has sent.
Jesus came from heaven purposed that he wasn’t going to do his own will, not his own feelings. He’s the same today.
John 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
Jesus came for life and for health. Even though he had a determination of purpose, he struggled with his will in the garden before he was crucified. He was ready to do the will of God. We face struggles when hard circumstances come even though we’ve purposed to do the Father’s will. As a young boy, Jesus was doing the Father’s will (Luke 2:49). He stayed in Jerusalem at the temple. In Clark’s commentary, some think my Father’s business should be my Father’s house. It was as if he was saying, where should a child be except in his Father’s house? He was trying to reassure Mary and Joseph that he was the messiah as God had told them. Maybe they needed to be reminded of who he really was. In our busy lives, maybe we need to be reminded of who Jesus really is. Mary often pondered “how can these things be?” Jesus thought and prayed about the Father’s will. God was drawing people to Jesus Christ as our example to teach us. God draws people to the Savior. Unless men are drawn, people won’t feel or have knowledge of their need. Drawing is not dragging them but they see God’s goodness and their needs so they feel the need to come. People aren’t forced to pay an offering but they want to. They’re drawn to God so they want to give their offering. James said, draw near to God and he will draw near to you. When a person begins to follow the drawing, God draws them to him and meets them.
John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
The prodigal (wastefully extravagant) was in the hog pit and came to himself. He started remembering where he came from –how things were provided for him at father’s house and maybe about his mom’s pancakes. He thought he could go back to be a servant and just live with the servants. He remembered how his dad loved him and treated him good, even when he was disciplined. The son was confident in his father’s love. We have that same confidence when we come back and abundantly more than we could imagine. The father was willing to come close so we could come to him.
John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.