If you could time travel back to the miracle of Jesus' birth, which character would you be and why?
1. Read Luke 1:26-33. What do you think Gabriel’s response was when the Lord told him to announce the centerpiece of His unfolding plan for mankind’s salvation?
2. Which of Gabriel’s descriptions of the Messiah stand out to you? Why?
(Intent: Refer to vv. 31-32 as well as corresponding OT prophesies: Isaiah 7:14 virgin will bear a son, Psalm 2:7 You are my son, Isaiah 9:7 throne of David forever, Daniel 7:27 Kingdom will be an everlasting Kingdom.)
3. What are similarities and differences between Zechariah’s response in Luke 1:18 and Mary's in vv. 34 and 38? How did Gabriel interpret these responses in vv.19-20 and v. 35?
(Intent: Zechariah responded in unbelief and Mary by faith. Gabriel understood the difference.)
4. Describe a time when you questioned God. What ended up happening?
5. Read Joshua 7:7-12, Exodus 5:22-23 and 6:1, Isaiah 58:1-9a, and Genesis 25:21-23, preferably in NIV. Describe some of the aspects of the questions to God and His response in these verses. What did you learn from reading these?
(Intent: These verses contrast some of the many ways God responds according to faith, or lack thereof. Honest inquiries are reacted to differently than questions out of self-willed disobedience.)
6. Read the prophesy about John the Baptist in Malachi 3:1 (confirmed by Matthew 11:10) and the prophesy about Jesus in Isaiah 9:1 and 6-7. How do these prophesies and the statements of Gabriel regarding John and Jesus in Luke 1 differ?
(Intent: John was the last of the Old Testament prophets, coming to prepare the way for the Messiah. He was a man filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ was the Messiah Himself, the holy God-man Creator.)
7. What faith action will you take in this Christmas season to begin to fulfill something the Lord has already shown you? It may be to keep a commitment that you have made to the Lord. Or spend significant time in prayer questioning the Lord for direction.
8. Ask the Father to help you set your own thoughts and plans aside in favor of His thoughts and plans for you. Commit to him to follow His leading, not in your own power, but in the power of Jesus of Nazareth, Messiah and King.