- What may we learn from the circumstances of our Saviour’s birth, and the status of his first worshippers?
- What do the angel’s message and the rejoicing of the heavenly host teach us of the importance of the birth of Jesus? How is the shepherds’ response to this message an example to us?
- Verses 1-7. How do these verses illustrate that God controls all human affairs, bringing about his own purpose through the free actions of men? Cf. with verse 4, Mic.5:2.
- What did the appearance of Jesus mean to Simeon and to Anna? What, according to verses 30-32, was to be the scope of his work?
- Verses 34, 35. What was to be the effect of Jesus’ coming on different classes of people? What would be the cause of men’s falling and rising/ Cf. 1 Pet. 2:6-8.
- Verses 21-24. After the circumcision of a child, two rites had to be performed: first, his presentation to God (verses 22, 23; cf. Exod. 13:2); second, the sacrifice of purification for the mother (verse 24; cf Lev. 12:2-8).
- Verse 25. ‘Waiting for the consolation of Israel’: i.e., for the coming of the Messiah. Cf. verse 38 and 24:21.
- Verse 49. What was the consequence in his life of Jesus’ unique relationship to God? In what does this truth apply to us, as sons of God? Cf. John 14:31.
- How does the story illustrate the truths of verses 40 and 52?
- What, according to the preaching of John, are the cause (verses 7-9, 16, 17), nature (verses 8, 10-14), and outcome (verses 3, 15-17) of repentance?
- What did Jesus’ baptism and the voice from heaven, mean: (a) to Jesus himself, and (b) to the others present? Cf. John 1:32-34.
- Consider the fearless honesty of John. Note also its result (verses 19,20).
- Verse 1. The date is thus fixed probably as AD 28-29. See NBD, p.194.
- Verse 22. The voice combines references to the Old Testament Messianic figures of the Son of God (ps. 2:7) and the suffering Servant of the Lord (Is. 42:1), thus setting the tone of Jesus’ ministry
- Notice the time of the temptation, immediately after the revelation of 3:22, and at the start of Jesus’ ministry. What light does this throw on the devil’s challenge, ‘if you are the Son of God’ (4;3 9)?
- Consider the special subtlety of each temptation, and the means by which Jesus in each case countered them. Cf. Eph. 6:17. What does this teach us for our own defence against temptation
- What can we learn from this passage about the nature of temptation? Note, e.g., at what times temptation may come, what sort of circumstances the tempter may use (4:2; cf. Mark 14:38), etc. How does the passage show that temptation is not sin?