Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Lesson - The Wise Men Seek Jesus

VERSES:    Matthew 2:1-12; Luke 2:21-39

MEMORY VERSE:   Matthew 2:11   "...they presented him with gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:   Take one more week for the children to memorize Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

PRAYER:   Thank God for always providing for us.

SPECIAL SONG:   Jesus Loves The Little Children (see February - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #2 on this blog. Click orange circle for tune.)

VISUAL AID:   Large Activity (see below)

  • We studied last time about baby Jesus being born in Bethlehem, not in a hospital or an inn or motel or even a house, but in a place where animals like cows and sheep were kept! We studied about how the shepherds traveled to see if the things that the angel told them were true about the Christ being born in Bethlehem. 
  • Eight days after Jesus was born, Joseph and Mary officially named the baby JESUS, but really the baby was named Jesus even before Mary knew she was going to have a baby. Remember when the angel, Gabriel, appeared to Mary in Nazareth and said she was going to have the Son of God, what did the angel say to name the baby? That's right! Jesus! After a short period of time, Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to Jerusalem and presented him to the Lord in the temple. They offered a sacrifice of two turtledoves according to the law (Leviticus 12:8; Luke 2:24). While they were in the temple, a man whose name was Simeon was filled with the Holy Spirit and said many wonderful things about baby Jesus. There was also a very old woman named Anna who was in the temple at the same time who prophesied about Jesus.
  • We also want to learn about the wise men who visited Jesus. There were wise men who came from the east to Jerusalem. Let's turn our Bibles to Matthew, chapter 2, and verse 1 and see how many wise men came to Jerusalem. (Read verse aloud.) How many wise men came to Jerusalem? It doesn't say! People who have never read the Bible carefully say that there were three, but, let's read it again to see if we missed how many. (Read again). No. The Bible just doesn't say how many wise men there were, so can we put a number in there? No. We can only say what the Bible says. Let's find out what these wise men were doing in Jerusalem.The wise men were asking questions! They wanted to know where the King of the Jews was born. They had seen his star in the east and came to worship him. 
  • Now when Herod, the king, heard about a king being born and wise men who were looking for him, he was troubled. In fact, everyone in Jerusalem was troubled. Herod gathered all of the chief priests and scribes and demanded to know where Christ was to be born. Without hesitation, the chief priests and scribes said, "In Bethlehem." They said that it was prophesied in the book of Micah that it was in Bethlehem that a ruler should be born, and that was the ruler was Christ (Micah 5:2). When Herod found that out, he questioned the wise men about time the star appeared. He commanded the wise men to go to Bethlehem and search very carefully for the young child, and when they had found him, then to send word to him, so that he could go and worship Him, too. When they heard what the king had to say, the wise men left. Guess what the wise men saw in the sky again? The same star they had seen in the east! The wise men were very happy and full of joy to see the star! They kept following the star that went before them until it stood over where the baby was. They had found the Christ!
  • The wise men went into the house where the baby was with his mother, Mary (Matthew 2:11) . When the wise men saw Jesus, all of the wise men fell down and worshiped Him. The wise men had brought the baby treasures from where they lived. They brought Him very valuable gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. When the wise men started their journey back to their home, God warned them in a dream not go back to Herod, so they went back to their home a different way. Next time, we will see 
"Older Student" Tips:
  • When we grow up hearing familiar stories like this one, it is always good to stop and go to the Bible to read what God has to say about the story. Sometimes we find we have added little things or taken away important details, such as how many wise men there were or the fact that Jesus could have been up to two years old when the wise men were searching for Him. How do we know that? How old were the babies that Herod commanded to be killed? Two years old and under (Matthew 2:16).  Remember, no matter what people say, the Bible is always right, even if it is something different from what "we have always heard." 
  • We know that Joseph and Mary were a poor family because of what they offered as a sacrifice. Read Leviticus 12:8 and Luke 2:24.
  • A scribe was one who wrote down and copied the law. They did not have a printing press or a copier back in those times, so men wrote everything down by hand. What takes us less than a minute with a copier, it took scribes a long time to copy just one document. 
  • Some people say that because there were three presents, there were three wise men, but this does not necessarily mean there were only three wise men. There could have been more! The principle remains that we must speak where the Bible speaks and we are silent where the Bible is silent. If God would have wanted us to know how many wise men who worshiped Jesus, He would have told us. 
  • Sometimes we see pictures of Joseph, Mary, and the baby Jesus and animals around them with the shepherds and the wise men there all at the same time. Sometimes people, even artists, are mistaken about facts. Where was Jesus when the wise men came to worship Him? Let's turn to Matthew 2:11 and read. They weren't in a barn or a stable or even outside! They were in a house! It is always good for us to turn to the pages of the Bible and read it well, whether we are really old or really young; the Bible is always right.
  • We will see in our next story that Joseph, Mary, and Jesus flee to Egypt . They would need money to live on while they were in a foreign country without friends or family. With these expensive presents, Joseph and Mary could sell these gifts and have money to live on because they were poor people. By using the wise men's gifts in this way, God provided for Joseph and Mary and God's only begotten Son (John 3:16).
  • We all may know what gold is, but we might not know what frankincense and myrrh are. Frankincense and myrrh are sticky substances that can be hardened and made into a sweet smelling perfumes and incense. They were both very expensive and the wise men must have thought that they were perfect presents to give to a king.
ACTIVITY:   The Wise Men Worship Jesus
Materials needed:  6" x 12" red construction paper, three 3" x 3" squares white bond paper, scraps of shiny gold, light brown, and tan paper, glue, tape, scissors, marker.

  1. Hand out red paper.
  2. Fold each side of red paper one inch. (See picture).
  3. On each corner, cut ONE slit on fold line. (See picture). 
  4. Fold corner and secure with tape. (See picture).
  5. Repeat all four corners to form a box.
  6. Hand out three white papers.
  7. At the bottom of each paper write one word, "Gold," "Frankincense," or "Myrrh."
  8. Glue white paper inside box (see picture at top).
  9. Hand out scrap papers.
  10. Cut out various small 'nuggets' of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
  11. Glue nuggets on white paper (see picture at top).
  12. Write "The Wise Men's Gifts" on one side edge of box.
  13. Write "Matthew 2:11" on opposite side edge of box.