Summary: With all the challenges and turmoil we experience in life, we yearn for peace. Jesus brings us peace by healing and completing us. As we let God recalibrate our beliefs in worship & the Holy Spirit aligns our behavior with those beliefs, we able to live in peace & share that peace with others.
Big Idea: Jesus brings us peace as we receive the consolation of His forgiveness
Background to Isaiah 11:1-10:
- Isaiah was a prophet in the southern kingdom of Judah about 7 centuries before Jesus’ birth.
- One of the world superpowers at that time was the war-loving Assyrian Empire, which was located east of the much smaller kingdom of Judah. Throughout Isaiah’s time as prophet, the Assyrians are a threat to Judah, either directly or indirectly.
- In Isaiah chapter 10, Isaiah tells the people of Judah not to worry about Assyria. God will cut down their massive army like a large forest that has been chopped down.
- However, about a century after Isaiah’s time, the Babylonian Empire would become the region’s superpower that threatened Judah. In 586 BC, the Babylonians would nearly obliterate Judah, bring the line of Davidic kings to an end and destroy the Temple in Jerusalem.
- In chapter 11, Isaiah brings a message of hope, telling the people that a new branch, a new king, the Messiah, would arise from David’s family to make things right in the world and bring peace like we have never before experienced it.
Background to Luke 2:22-40:
- The events in this passage take place after the birth of Jesus. Mary, Joseph and their infant son are still living in Bethlehem. When he is 8 days old, the infant is circumcised and named Jesus. This may have happened in Bethlehem.
- Forty days after the birth of Jesus, the family travelled six miles from Bethlehem to the Temple in Jerusalem for purification rites for Mary and Jesus’ dedication to the Lord because he was the firstborn son. It was here that they met Simeon and Anna.
- This Temple is the second Jerusalem Temple which was rebuilt after the Babylonian exiles returned. Initially a modest structure, the Temple was radically overhauled and refurbished by a series of renovations. The most significant of these was the last, which was begun by Herod the Great and never completed before the Romans destroyed the Temple in 70 AD.
Ice-breaker question: Has there ever been a time when you dearly longed for peace? What was going on in your life at that time?
Read: Isaiah 11:1-10
- What hope do you think that there is for a tree that is cut down leaving on a stump?
- What do you think that it was like for God’s people to lose their kingdom, their kings and their Temple?
- The new branch rising from the stump is a sign of new life, but it is much smaller in girth and stature from the tree that the stump use to support. Around the time of Jesus, it was expected that the Messiah would be a great general who would come at the head of a large army to overthrow the Romans and establish God’s kingdom in this world. In what ways was Jesus a different kind of Messiah from what was expected?
- Isaiah tells us that the Holy Spirit will rest on the Messiah. This was fulfilled at the Baptism of Jesus (Mt. 3:13-17; Mk. 1:9-11; Lk. 3:21-23). What special characteristics would the Holy Spirit give to the Messiah? How do you think these characteristics showed up in the life of Jesus after his Baptism? Try to think of an example.
- In verses 3 – 5, words associated with justice continually show up. Does our world need justice? Do we need justice? What kind of justice do we need the Messiah to bring to us?
- Verses 6 – 9 contain extraordinary depictions of peace that are obviously in the future. What would have to have to our present world order in order to bring about this kind of peace? Do you have any thoughts about how Jesus will make that happen?
- Verse 10 describes a glorious time when the Messiah will gather together people from all over the earth and give them rest. What do you think is being referred to here?
Read: Luke 2:22-40
- How did bringing Jesus to the Temple indicate the depth of the faith of Joseph and Mary?
- As in the Isaiah 11 passage, the Holy Spirit is a prominent figure in this passage from Luke 2. What things did the Holy Spirit do in the Luke 2 passage?
- In verses 29-32, Simeon is singing of song of praise to God. In your own words, what do you think Simeon is saying?
- Being a widow in ancient times, what do you think Anna’s life might have been like prior to seeing the baby Jesus?
- The fact that Anna worshiped continually at the Temple all those years prior to seeing Jesus in spite of her circumstances, and her response of thanks to God after seeing Jesus says something about the significance of the coming of the Messiah in Anna’s life. How would you describe that significance?
- What are some ways that you could increase the significance of Jesus in your life?
- How does Jesus’ presence and the forgiveness & eternal life that he freely gives us bring peace to your heart?
- What are some ways that you can share that peace with others?
This Bible Study focuses on the same passages as the sermon on Dec 8/19 from Walnut Grove Lutheran Church, Langley BC.