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Isaiah 12:2-6 1
2 Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.” 3 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. 4 In that day you will say: “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. 5 Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. 6 Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”

img204Background 2

Isaiah prophesied in the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. He has been well called the evangelical prophet, on account of his numerous and full prophesies concerning the coming and character, the ministry and preaching, the sufferings and death of the Messiah, and the extent and continuance of his kingdom. Under the veil of the deliverance from Babylon, Isaiah points to a much greater deliverance, which was to be effected by the Messiah; and seldom does he mention the one, without alluding at the same time to the other; no, he is often so much enraptured with the prospect of the more distant deliverance, as to lose sight of that which was nearer, and to dwell on the Messiah’s person, office, character, and kingdom.

Biblical Truths 3

The prior verse, one, tells us that the punishment to Israel is now over. So God’s anger has ended, as he promised (see 10:25).

Verse 2 – One of Isaiah’s important messages to his hearers is ‘Do not be afraid!’ (see 7:4; 8:12; 10:24; 37:6; 40:9; 44:8).

  • Somebody who has known personally God’s rescue is confident. That person knows that he can trust God completely. There is no need whatever to be afraid.

Verses 4-6 – To tell other people about one’s own experience of God is a great way to praise him.

Items for Discussion

  • How would you tell someone the difference between “fear God” and what Isaiah is telling us, “Do not be afraid!”?
  • How are love and the lack of fear interrelated?
  • What does the lack of fear Isaiah is talking about tell us about one’s faithfulness?
  • Is all fear bad?
  • What is the “call to action” that Isaiah is giving all people?
  • Why should this be important during the Advent and Christmas season?

 

Luke 2:8-10
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.

Background 4

The Gospel of Luke does not mention Luke by name as the author. But few people doubt that Luke did write this book. Also, he wrote the Book of Acts. He sent both books to the same person called Theophilus (Luke 1:3 and Acts 1:1). Luke was not a Jew. We know this from Colossians 4:11-14. Paul names the three Jews who were with him in Rome. Luke was not one of them but he was with Paul there. All the other writers of the New Testament were Jews.

Luke travelled with Paul on some of his journeys. The evidence for this is that, in several places in Acts, Luke uses the words, ‘we’ or ‘us’. Luke was a medical doctor by profession (Colossians 4:14). There is a tradition that he was born in the city called Antioch in Syria.

Luke was not one of the original disciples of Christ. But he studied the accounts of Christ’s life that were available to him. And he talked with those people who had been with Jesus. Some of the detail shows that probably Luke spoke with Mary the mother of Jesus. We do not know whether Luke wrote this book in Israel, Rome, or somewhere else. And we do not know where he sent it. He probably wrote it sometime between 59 AD and 63 AD.

Luke’s purpose was to write a good and true account of the life of Jesus. This Gospel tells the story of Jesus from the time before he was born. And it ends when Jesus ascended into heaven. Luke wanted Theophilus and all people to know the truth about Jesus. Luke shows that Jesus was a real man. In addition, he shows that Jesus was the Son of God.

Bible Truth

Verses 8-10 Shepherds kept their sheep in the open fields near Bethlehem from about April to November. They may have kept the sheep in the fields later than this if the weather was not too cold. They had to guard their sheep from wild animals and from thieves. So, the shepherds watched in turn through the night to protect their sheep. Probably they kept these sheep near Bethlehem to be sacrifices in the temple.

Suddenly, light replaced the darkness of the night. An angel appeared and with him the glory of the Lord came. This sight frightened the shepherds. The angel told them about the birth of our Savior. This is the good news that would give great joy to all people.

Items for Discussion

  • What are the characteristics of a shepherd?
  • How are these characteristics similar or different than those of a “good king?
  • Why do people respond with fear first when they are surprised by something they cannot understand?
  • How do you think the people of today would respond to the same scene, “Angels in the sky?”
  • How do you think television, video games, movies, etc. affect one’s response to paranormal activities such as were witnessed by the shepherds?
  • In today’s world, how does God get our attention?

Discussion Challenge

  • How can the holidays be used to share the good news of Christ in your family?
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