Spiritual Success or Distress?
Quarter 1, Lesson 3

Lesson Three

God's Messiah Was A Poor Man

Text: Matthew 8:18-20; Luke 2:1-20; John 19:23,24

You carefully devise a plan to send your son to accomplish a critical mission. The success or failure of his mission will impact the lives of millions of people. If the mission succeeds, millions of people will benefit in direct ways from his success. If the mission fails, the consequences will produce a major catastrophe.

You personally commit your child to this critical mission. You have every resource at your command. You can provide your child with anything he will need to be successful in his mission. What resources would you provide your child?

God's plan to defeat evil existed before evil entered this world (Ephesians 1:4). God sent His Son on a mission that would change the world and eternity. If Jesus succeeded, the means for permanent, continuing forgiveness would be an established fact for all people until the end of time (Hebrews 8:8-12 noting verse 12; 1 John 1:5-10 noting verse 9). If Jesus failed, the failure would confirm and intensify evil's strangle hold on people. God could provide Jesus with any resource to equip him to succeed in his mission.

What did God give him? Poverty!

Read Luke 2:1-20

  1. What decree did the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus give (verse 1)?

  2. Why did Joseph go from Nazareth to Bethlehem (verses 4,5)?

  3. When Mary gave birth to Jesus, she placed the baby in a manger. What is a manger?

  4. When the Lord's glory shone around the shepherds in a nearby field, they were terribly afraid. What did the angel say to them (verses 9-12)?

  5. What did the multitude of the heavenly host do (verses 13,14)?

  6. What did the shepherds do (verses 15,16)?

  7. What did the shepherds tell people (verse 17)? How did those who heard react (verse 18)?

  8. How did Mary react to the shepherds' report (verse 19)?

  9. Relate Jesus' birth to poverty. What a beginning! His mother conceived him before she was married. The man who served as his earthly father had to be informed that his fiancee had not been sexually unfaithful to him. Jesus' first bed was a feed trough for animals.

Read Matthew 8:18-20

  1. What did the scribe tell Jesus that he wanted to do?

  2. What did Jesus say to inform the scribe that he had not considered the personal cost of his request?

  3. Relate Jesus' statement to physical poverty. In what way was the life of the fox and the bird materially superior to Jesus' life?

Read John 19:23-24

  1. The soldiers stripped Jesus of his clothing prior to his execution.

  2. When he died, what do we know that Jesus owned?

Read John 19:38-42; Matthew 27:59, 60

  1. Did Jesus' estate pay for the linen cloth to wrap his body?

  2. Did Jesus' estate pay for the spices used in his burial?

  3. Was Jesus buried in a tomb that he or his family owned?

  4. Did the family care for the burial expenses?

  5. Relate Jesus' burial to physical poverty.

Read 2 Corinthians 8:1-9

  1. The Macedonian Christians were very poor. Yet, in their poverty, what did they do?

  2. What did Jesus do for every person who would follow him?

  3. Discuss when and how Jesus was rich.

  4. Discuss when and how Jesus became poor.

  5. Discuss when and how Jesus' poverty made us rich.

God provided the opportunity for salvation to all people. That opportunity will exist until time comes to an end. How did God do this? He sent His Son as a homeless, poor man who was executed as a criminal.

Link to Teacher's Guide Quarter 1, Lesson 3

Copyright © 1999, 2000
David Chadwell & West-Ark Church of Christ

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