God With Us – To Make Himself Known

The following readings are designed help you slow down, reflect on the meaning of Christmas, and continue to interact with Sunday's message which can be found here.

DAY 1:
Read Isaiah 9:1-7, a prophesy from about 700 years before the birth of Jesus.
What does the passage have to say about the identity of the child that would someday be born?
Reflect on the four descriptive terms: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. How did Jesus fulfill each of these titles?
What were to be the results of this child’s birth? What would change because of him?


DAY 2:
Read John 5:16-30, a piece of a conversation Jesus is having with religious leaders about his rights to heal on the Sabbath day (when work was forbidden).
What does Jesus say about his relationship with the Father?
Jesus talks about two implications of his divine identity: the ability to give life, and the responsibility to judge. How did his subsequent death on the cross add further meaning to what he says here?
Verse 19 describes something like “Simon says” taking place between Jesus and his Father. How closely are you following what God wants you to do? What would happen in your life, our church, and our world if we could do a better job as imitating God’s movements?  

DAY 3:
Read Colossians 1:15-20, part of a letter the apostle Paul wrote to an early church.
What specific things does this passage say about the identity of Jesus? 
What does this passage say about what Jesus came to accomplish? How were his identity & purpose connected?
Think about the tiny newborn lying in the manger 2000 year ago, and read the passage again, reflecting on the miracle of the incarnation.

DAY 4:
Read John 14:5-21, part of Jesus’ farewell speech to his twelve disciples.
What can we learn from this passage about the relationship of Jesus to the Father and to the Spirit?
What do you think Jesus meant when he said those who believed in him would do the works he did, and even greater things? 
Reflect on the last verse in this passage. Has Jesus showed himself to you?

DAY 5:
Read Philippians 2:1-8, in which Paul encourages early Christian’s to imitate the humility of Jesus.
The phrase in v. 7 “he made himself nothing” could also be rendered “he emptied himself.” What do you think this entailed? What did Jesus have to give up in order to become human?
Why is it significant to us that Jesus took on the nature of a servant? How did he demonstrate this?
What have you given up in order to follow Jesus? What have you gained? How might God be calling you to follow in Jesus’ footsteps?