Grace UMC prepares for Sunday worship by reading the scripture for the coming Sunday’s sermon. Below, you fill find questions that can be used for Bible Study, small groups or personal devotion. Let the scripture speak in to your life! Expect great things!
Opening Prayer (Wesley Covenant Prayer)
O God, Searcher of all our hearts,
you have formed us as a people and claimed us for your own.
As we come to acknowledge your sovereignty and grace,
and to enter anew into covenant with you,
reveal any reluctance or falsehood within us.
Let your Spirit impress your truth on our inmost being,
and receive us in mercy, for the sake of our Mediator, Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Scripture: Matthew 2:1-12 (Common English Bible)
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the territory of Judea during the rule of King Herod, magi came from the east to Jerusalem. 2 They asked, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We’ve seen his star in the east, and we’ve come to honor him.”
3 When King Herod heard this, he was troubled, and everyone in Jerusalem was troubled with him. 4 He gathered all the chief priests and the legal experts and asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They said, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for this is what the prophet wrote:
6 You, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
by no means are you least among the rulers of Judah,
because from you will come one who governs,
who will shepherd my people Israel.”[a]
7 Then Herod secretly called for the magi and found out from them the time when the star had first appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search carefully for the child. When you’ve found him, report to me so that I too may go and honor him.” 9 When they heard the king, they went; and look, the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stood over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy. 11 They entered the house and saw the child with Mary his mother. Falling to their knees, they honored him. Then they opened their treasure chests and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 Because they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they went back to their own country by another route.
For the Season of Epiphany, we enter the new year exploring how to recover or live into new ways of abundant life as followers of Jesus. Jesus leads us an “a more excellent way” of the truth and life!
In this scripture, the maji are wise enough to heed the warning signs. They didn’t listen to Herod, but, to protect Jesus, Mary and Joseph, followed the Most High. In 2023, God shows the “most excellent way” to protect you heart, your spirit, your mind in Christ Jesus.
- What is a word, phrase or image that comes to mind when you read or hear the text?
- How many “wise men” does Matthew say visited the holy family? What might the significance be of “wise men from the East” being some of the first to worship Jesus? What do you think made them trust the dream not to return to Herod?
- What does this scripture teach about dreams?
- What does God invite you to do, change or be through this passage?
Discipleship Huddle Questions:
- How is it with your soul?
- How does your soul prosper?
God who surprises us, help us to be surprised by an encounter with you. Keep us attentive to your presence as we go about our week. Help us live to keep our covenant with you and our church family. Amen.