Family Jesse Tree Study – December 21
Welcome to our family Bible study focused on preparing our hearts for Christmas. The Jesse Tree is the family tree of Jesus (see Matthew 1 and Luke 3 for a complete genealogy of Jesus). All along its branches are men and women of God who have incredible stories to share and from which we can glean a deeper understanding of faith and build a stronger relationship with God. God orchestrated these people and stories for a reason — to point us to His Son Jesus who comes to save us once and for all.
For this study, we encourage you to read, reflect, and journal on these scriptures on your own and then find a good time with your family to do this devotion together. Below is the NIV version of today’s reading followed by a devotion, discussion question, and prayer taken from “Jesse Tree Family Devotions” by the Reformed Church in America, then below that is a SOAP journal note from one of our study leaders. For printable ornaments to make your own Jesse Tree, see: http://images.rca.org/docs/discipleship/jessepatterns.pdf. If you’re doing this study with smaller kids, consider using a children’s Bible to share the stories, or use the shorter version of the scripture provided in parentheses. For older kids, consider introducing them to the SOAP method of journaling through this study.
We hope you join us in this study, and please share how it’s going, your favorite Christmas traditions, and prayer requests in the Comments section on our website.
Matthew 3:1-12 – John the Baptist
John the Baptist Prepares the Way
3 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” 3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”
4 John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. 5 People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. 6 Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
11 “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
Elizabeth and Zechariah’s son grew up to be John the Baptist. He was Jesus’ cousin. God chose him to tell the people about Jesus. John wanted people to know that Jesus is the Son of God, the Savior that God had promised the people so many years ago. He wanted them to be ready to believe in Jesus. John wanted the people to remember God, and he baptized them in the river if they promised not to sin any more. The baptism reminded them that God forgave them for their sins. John did not look like other people, and some people probably thought he was a little strange. But many other people listened to John, and they were ready to believe in Jesus.
What do you need forgiveness for today?
Holy God, forgive us when we do things that displease You. Make our hearts ready for Jesus.
SOAP JOURNAL NOTE
Genuine Repentance | Rebecca Hoyt
John pointed out to the Jewish leaders that they could not appeal to their ancestry as “children of Abraham” to save them. Genuine repentance would produce the fruit of righteousness, and John demanded this proof before he would baptize anyone. He was not saying that a person was saved by works but that a person’s lifestyle would demonstrate whether or not he had truly forsaken his sins.
I not only need to tell my kids about Jesus and how He wants us to live, but I need to live it. I need to show them Jesus in everything I do, and how I act.
Dear Father, thank You for this last week until Jesus was born. Thank You for all the memories I get to make with my family. Thank You for Your love and patience through the whole Christmas season.
The Discover One Thing main website continues to follow the Life Journal Reading Plan which covers the whole Bible in one year. Click HERE to check out today’s Discover One Thing post.
Posted on December 21, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged act, Advent, baptism, Bible, Bible Study, Christmas, Elizabeth, Jesse Tree, Jesus, John the Baptist, Matthew, repent, SOAP, Zechariah. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.