Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Visit by the Wise Men - Martin Wiles

(All material is original to the author with the exception of songs and activities which have been borrowed from various sources. All studies are free for public use.)


Visit by the Wise Men
Scripture Reference: Matthew 2:1-12
Memory Verse: Matthew 2:11
(Compiled and written by Martin W. Wiles)

Objective: 
December is the month of the year many people look forward to…mainly because it’s the month we celebrate Christmas. As believers in Jesus Christ, we have even more reason to celebrate Christmas because it reminds us of the birth of our Savior. This month, we will study different events surrounding the birth of the Messiah. 

Say:
(Display the following verse where the children can easily see it.) Let’s say our memory verse together. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:11 NLT

Icebreaker Questions: 
What are some things about coming to church you enjoy?

What makes you look forward to Christmas?

Can you remember a special Christmas you would like to tell us about?

Say: 
Celebrating the birth of Jesus—which is the main reason for celebrating Christmas—will be our theme during the month of December. Today we will talk about the wise men that came to visit Jesus when he was a little older than when the shepherds arrived. 
    
Bible Story Time: 

Reflection: How long do you think it would take you to walk 1,000 miles? Or to ride 1,000 miles on a camel? 

When we see Christmas plays at church, we normally see the wise men coming to visit the baby Jesus immediately after the shepherds did. But this isn’t what the Bible says. When the shepherds came, Jesus had just been born and was temporarily living in a manger (a stable or cave). The wise men came later. Jesus, along with Mary and Joseph, had already moved into a house and was probably one to two years old. 

King Herod was the ruler when Jesus was born. He was not a nice man and was always afraid someone was going to try and steal the throne from him. The wise men found this out when they came looking for the Messiah, the One sent from God. 

Reflection: What do you think it meant to be wise men in this time? What are some things that make us wise? Is being wise and smart necessarily the same thing?

Not only do the wise men not come when Jesus is a small baby, we also don’t know how many there were. Typically, we see three because of the number of gifts they gave Jesus. Regardless of how many there were, the Bible says they came from eastern lands. We’re not exactly sure where this was, but it was probably in the area we now know as Iraq. This was the old Babylonian Empire. They were led to Jerusalem because they saw a star. 

The wise men may have been Jews who were descendents of some who had remained in Babylon after the captivity was over hundreds of years earlier. We don’t know what was special about this one star or whether perhaps it was a special lining up of some of the planets around the time Jesus was born. Regardless of what it was, these wise men—who were really astrologers (people who study the stars), knew it had something to do with the Messiah’s birth. A prophet in the Old Testament times had said many years before, “I see him, but not in the present time. I perceive him, but far in the distant future. A star will rise from Jacob; a scepter will emerge from Israel.” (Numbers 24:17).

Reflection: When you look up at the stars and planets, does it make you think about God? Do some people not believe in God or that he created the heavens and the earth?

When the wise men arrived in Jerusalem, they immediately went to King Herod to ask where the newborn King of the Jews was living. Herod was upset. If there was another king, he might take the throne from him. This is why he gave an order to have all the baby boys two years old and under killed. He was not about to let someone else take his throne. 

Herod decided to find this baby king himself. He called a meeting with the religious leaders and teachers of the law and asked where the prophets said the Messiah would be born. After finding out it was to be in Jerusalem, he called the wise men back to him and told them to go to Bethlehem and search for the child. When they found him, they were to return and tell him the location. He told them he wanted to go and worship him also. But he didn’t. He wanted to kill Jesus. 

After leaving Herod, the wise men once again saw the star. It led them to Bethlehem and to the very place where Mary, Joseph, and Jesus were living. 

Reflection: Do you think this star was a miracle? What do you think a miracle is? Does God still perform miracles?

Upon entering the house, the wise men presented Jesus with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These gifts were very appropriate for Jesus, for they witnessed to who he was and what his mission on earth was. Gold was given to kings, and he was a king. Frankincense was a gift for the gods, and Jesus was God in the flesh. Myrrh was used to anoint people’s bodies for burial. Jesus would die for the sins of the world. 

Reflection: The wise men gave the very best gifts to Jesus. What are some things we can give to Jesus? What are some ways we can worship him?

Before the wise men could return to Herod with Jesus’ location, God warned them in a dream not to go see him again. God knew Herod wanted to kill his Son, not worship him. 

Activity Time:

Painted Ornaments
Materials:
clear glass ornaments 
acrylic paint  
newspaper to cover the table 
Instructions:
Acrylic paint does not wash out of clothes, so cover up or wear old clothes.  
Remove the top. 
Squeeze 2 to 4 different colors of acrylic paint into the ornament. Start with a single squirt of each—you can add more if needed.
Turn the ornament this way and that—the paint will ooze around the ornament, coating it with a nice marbled effect.  
If the paint stops oozing, squirt a bit more paint in the ornament.
Let the paint dry 24 hours before putting the top on (it takes awhile to dry because it isn't very exposed to the air).  
Replace the top.

Transition:
Let’s sing about Jesus’ birth.

Song:  

Joy to the World

Joy to the world, the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven and nature sing.


Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns;
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods,
Rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders of His love.

Activity Time: 
Have children complete the Christmas Crossword puzzle. 

Wrap Up:
Let each child tell one thing they learned about the Wise Men visiting Jesus. 

______________________________

Martin N Michelle
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