Matthew

Matthew

by Laurie Polich-Short

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Overview

What do small group leaders need? Good Bible studies that engage their kids. The purpose of this book in the Studies on the Go series is to provide small group leaders with creative and engaging Bible study questions they won’t have to rewrite. Students will be pushed, encouraged, and challenged, but the real goal is that they would be changed.

Laurie Polich-Short has designed Matthew for the busy youth worker who either lacks the time or the information to lead a quality Bible study. Without skimping on depth and substance, Laurie has constructed down to earth questions that get kids into the text and so they can hear God’s Word on a practical level. Each consecutive passage of Scripture sets a topic to help students think deeply, talk openly, and apply what they are learning to their lives.



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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310516750
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication date: 10/28/2014
Series: Studies on the Go
Pages: 160
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Laurie is a speaker, writer and associate pastor of Ocean Hills Covenant Church (www.oceanhills.org). She speaks at youth conferences, women's conferences, colleges and churches around the country. lauriepolich.com/Short/About_Laurie.html

Read an Excerpt

Matthew


By Laurie Polich Short

ZONDERVAN

Copyright © 2014 Laurie Short
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-310-51675-0



CHAPTER 1

CHOSEN BY GOD

Matthew 1

* * *

LEADER'S INSIGHT

Imagine being able to trace your ancestors back to the beginning of time.

That's what Matthew 1 does for Jesus. Most of us are lucky if we know our great-grandparents. Jesus knew his great, great, great ... (I'd better stop here; I don't have enough space for the number of greats I need.) If you look closely, you can see that Matthew does it for a purpose. Old Testament prophecy was fulfilled through Jesus' lineage.

In Matthew 1, we see that Joseph was handpicked to be Jesus' earthly father. Though his seed wasn't in Jesus, his family was the context through which Jesus came. It was Joseph who made Jesus' lineage so special.

Sometimes we brush over genealogies because they seem boring. But don't miss the details of this one with your students. To see Abraham at the beginning, giving Jesus his Jewish roots. To see King David in the middle, revealing the royalty from which he came. To notice that all five women in the lineup have stories of amazing grace, showing God can take the mess of our lives and do great things if we let him.

Genealogies carry important details that reveal insights about who we are. This genealogy carries important details about who God is—and how he came in the person of Jesus.

Share

Warm-Up Questions

• If God came to you in a dream and gave you a plan for your life that was different than yours, would you follow it?

• What do you know about your genealogy? Is there anything you know about your parents or grandparents that tells you more about who you are?

• How much of your life do you think is preplanned? How much do you think happens by choice?


Observe

Observation Questions

• Where does the genealogy begin in Matthew 1? Whose name is at the end, before Jesus? How many generations are represented? (See verse 17.)

• What did Joseph have in mind when he found out Mary was pregnant?

• How did God come to Joseph? What did God say? What Old Testament verse is referenced in verse 23?

• What did Joseph do after God spoke to him? Did he have union with his wife before Jesus was born?


Think

Interpretation Questions

• Do you think Joseph was preplanned to be Jesus' earthly father? Why/Why not?

• What does verse 19 tell you about the kind of man Joseph was? Do you think he was cruel or kind?

• How do verses 22-23 show God's providence in this situation? Do you think Mary and Joseph had a choice regarding how they responded to God?

• What does verse 24 say about Joseph's faith? What does verse 25 reveal about Jesus' birth? Based on this verse, what kind of father was Joseph to Jesus?


Apply

Application Questions

• How far back can you trace your genealogy? Is there anyone in your genealogy who is famous for something?

• If you were Joseph, do you think you would have done what the Lord told him to do? Why/Why not?

• On a scale of 1-10, how much faith do you think Joseph had? (1=no faith, 10=a lot of faith). Where would you put yourself on that scale?

• What is one dream you have for your life? Have you ever had a dream you felt God wanted you to do?


Do

Optional Activity

Have your students write out their genealogies as far as they know them. Then, over the next week, have them trace their genealogies as far back as they are able—by interviewing their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc., to find out all the information they can. Have them come back to the group next week with one fact about their genealogies that surprises them, a person in their genealogies who inspires them, and a quality they have inherited from someone they admire.


QUIET TIME REFLECTIONS

Day 1: Matthew 1:1-5

• What word or verse stands out to you from this passage? Why?

• Who were the three women in this part of the genealogy? What do you know about their stories? (See Genesis 38, Joshua 2, Ruth 1.)

• Spend time today thinking about how God can make our story part of his story when we give our life to him.


Day 2: Matthew 1:6-11

• What word or verse stands out to you from this passage? Why?

• Why do you think Bathsheba is listed as Uriah's wife rather than David's? (See 2 Samuel 11.) What does that tell you about how God remembers us?

• Spend time today thinking about how God honors us when we do the right thing even when we get hurt by it.


Day 3: Matthew 1:12-17

• What word or verse stands out to you from this passage? Why?

• Whose line did Jesus' genealogy come through, Mary or Joseph? What does that tell you about the importance of Joseph in Mary's selection as the mother of Jesus?

• Spend time thinking about how God is concerned with every detail of our lives and has a plan for each one of us!


Day 4: Matthew 1:18-19

• What word or phrase stands out to you from these verses? Why?

• What does Joseph's response to Mary's pregnancy tell you about the kind of man he was?

• Spend time thinking today about how you would respond to circumstances that were not what you wanted.


Day 5: Matthew 1:20-21

• What word or phrase stands out to you from these verses? Why?

• What did the angel tell Joseph to do? How do you think he felt when he heard this?

• Spend time thinking about what you would do if God told you to do something way outside your comfort zone.


Day 6: Matthew 1:22-25

• What word or verse stands out to you from this passage? Why?

• What prophecy did Mary fulfill in this chapter? (See Isaiah 7:14.) What was Jesus going to be called?

• Spend time thinking today about what it means that Jesus was Immanuel—God with us.


Day 7: Matthew 1

Read through the whole chapter and write out the verse that spoke to you most this week. Meditate on that verse today—and for an extra challenge, memorize it!

CHAPTER 2

THE REAL KING

Matthew 2

* * *


LEADER'S INSIGHT

What makes a king a king?

Your students are familiar with the idea of monarchy from watching the royal family in Great Britain. A king (or queen) is different from a president. You cannot "run" for king; you can only be born one. That is true for both kings in Matthew 2.

The second chapter of Matthew contrasts two kings: Herod and Jesus. Both were born into their positions; however, one had a power that far exceeded the other. As the chapter goes on, your students will see which one was the real king.

When the Magi arrived from the east, the people of Jerusalem directed them to Herod. However, the stars were directing them somewhere else. Herod's discomfort at the birth of Jesus revealed who held the real power. We also see Jesus as the true king in the dreams threaded through this chapter. God used people's dreams to protect and position Jesus away from harm. There was a greater power at work than Herod's control.

In the end, Herod tried to stop Jesus by using his power in the most destructive way possible. Thousands of innocent young lives were lost, but Jesus wasn't one of them. Even as a baby, Jesus was above Herod's control, proving that he was the real king.

He still is.


Share

Warm-Up Questions

• When you think of a king, what is the first image that comes to your mind? In your opinion, who is the greatest historical king who ever lived?

• Have you ever studied the stars? What is the most unusual thing you've ever seen in the sky? (Shooting star? Comet? A certain shape or constellation?)

• If you were told in a dream to do something, do you think you would do it? Has that ever happened to you?


Observe

Observation Questions

• When did the Magi come to Jerusalem—at Jesus' birth, or after? Why did they come? Who did they go to see first?

• What did Herod find out about the child through the teachers of the law? (verses 5-6) What did he tell the Magi to do? (verse 8)

• What were the three gifts the Magi gave to the child? (verse 11) Why didn't they go back to Herod? (verse 12)

• How many dreams did Joseph have to direct his steps? (verses 13, 19-20) What did his first dream tell him to do? Where did Joseph end up?


Think

Interpretation Questions

• Why do you think it was a star that led the Magi to Jesus? What does that tell you about the significance of Jesus' birth?

• Why do you think all of Jerusalem was disturbed when King Herod was disturbed in verse 3? How do you think the people felt about him?

• How does the prophecy in verse 6 tie back to Jesus' genealogy and birth? (See Matthew 1:2-3.) What words in the prophecy validate Jesus as the coming Messiah?

• What does Herod's response in verse 16 tell you about the kind of king he was? What do Joseph's dreams in this chapter tell you about the power of Jesus' kingship over Herod's?


Apply

Application Questions

• If you saw a huge star (or something unusual) in the sky, what do you think you would do? Who would you tell about it?

• Have you ever felt like God was speaking to you about something? If so, when? How do you discern when it is God's voice or something else?

• If people asked you what makes Jesus different from other religious leaders, what in this chapter could you refer to?

• Where do you look when you want God's guidance? When was the last time you felt he was leading you to do something (or go somewhere)?


Do

Optional Activity

Have your students make a list of some of the great kings or presidents they remember through history, and what characteristics they think are important in a king. Then as a group, look at Matthew 2, and make a list of the character qualities you see in Herod. Give a grade to Herod as to what kind of king he was.


QUIET TIME REFLECTIONS

Day 1: Matthew 2:1-3

• What word or verse stands out to you from this passage? Why?

• What does Herod's response to the Magi tell you about the kind of king he was?

• Spend time today thinking about whether you are threatened when someone else gets attention.


Day 2: Matthew 2:4-8

• What word or verse stands out to you from this passage? Why?

• What prophecy was fulfilled by the place of Jesus' birth? (See Micah 5:2.)

• Spend time thinking today about God's sovereignty in the way Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecy even when he had no control over where he was.


Day 3: Matthew 2:9-12

• What word or verse stands out to you from this passage? Why?

• How were the Magi warned not to go back to Herod? What does that tell you about God's involvement in Jesus' life?

• Spend time thinking today about the way God guides you. Does he use other people? The Bible? Conviction?


Day 4: Matthew 2:13-15

• What word or verse stands out to you from this passage? Why?

• What prophecy was fulfilled by the guidance God gave Joseph? (See Hosea 11:1.)

• Spend time thinking today about how the small circumstances of our lives are all a part of a bigger picture.


Day 5: Matthew 2:16-18

• What word or verse stands out to you from this passage? Why?

• What prophecy was fulfilled by Herod's horrible actions? (See Jeremiah 31:15.) What does that show you about God?

• Spend time thinking today about how God knows our intentions and our hearts.


Day 6: Matthew 2:19-23

• What word or verse stands out to you from this passage? Why?

• Where did Jesus and his family end up? What does Matthew say this fulfilled about Jesus?

• Spend time thinking today about how God knows all the circumstances of our lives, and has a purpose for all of them.


Day 7: Matthew 2

Read through the whole chapter and write out the verse that spoke to you most this week. Meditate on that verse today—and for an extra challenge, memorize it!

CHAPTER 3

PREPARING THE WAY

Matthew

* * *

LEADER'S INSIGHT

Of all the people God could choose to introduce the ministry of Jesus, John the Baptist seems like the least likely candidate. He wore camel hair, ate locusts, and screamed words that were abrasive and offer sive. If I were God, I might have made a different choice.

And yet, it is clear that John the Baptist had a personality that drew people, and not just a few of them. The beginning of Matthew 3 says that people came from Jerusalem, Judea, and "the whole region of the Jordan." The only way to explain his appeal was that God anointed him. In Isaiah 40:3, we see that God had John in mind even before he was born.

This chapter reveals that God often chooses the least likely person to accomplish his work. In some ways, it makes his presence even more apparent. Your students will see that even though John the Baptist was not much to look at from the outside, his words reveal his reverence for God. And he never let his ego stand in the way of pointing to Jesus.

Like a best man at a wedding, John knew his role. He didn't try to be the main attraction; instead, he pointed to the main attraction.

In that, he is a model for us all.


Share

Warm-Up Questions

• Have you ever heard words of wisdom from someone you didn't expect? If so, when?

• Have you ever been baptized? If so, when? What effect (if any) did it have in your life?

• When you think of the Holy Spirit, what image comes to your mind? In what way do you think the Holy Spirit changes people?


Observe

Observation Questions

• Where did John the Baptist come from, and what was his message? (verses 1-2) What Old Testament prophecy does John fulfill? (verse 3)

• How is John the Baptist described in verse 4? What does he say/do to the people who come to him? (verses 5-6)

• What does John the Baptist say to the Pharisees and Sadducees? (verses 7-10) What does he say about Jesus? (verse 11)

• According to verse 15, why does John baptize Jesus? What happens when Jesus is baptized? (verses 16-17)


Think

Interpretation Questions

• In what way(s) did John the Baptist prepare the way for Jesus? How did he fulfill the prophecy in verse 3?

• Why do you think John spoke so harshly to the Sadducees and Pharisees? What clues do you get about them in verses 7-10?

• What do John's words in verses 11-14 show you about his character? How did he think of himself next to Jesus?

• Do you think anyone saw the dove and heard the words God spoke when Jesus was baptized? What do you imagine the scene looked like to those who were watching?


Apply

Application Questions

• Do you ever repent? If so, when? What do you think repentance means?

• What would you have thought about John the Baptist if you saw him? What does this tell you about the way we judge people?

• How is John a model for us when people see we are doing great things for God? What should our attitude be?

• What does the Holy Spirit's presence look like in your life? Do you feel God's presence inside you? If so, what does it feel like?


Do

Optional Activity

If you were preparing people for the coming of Jesus, how would you do it? Have students write their best ideas anonymously and put them in a pile. Read them out loud (without saying who wrote which one) and vote as a group which idea you think would be most effective. Give a jar of honey to the winner.


QUIET TIME REFLECTIONS

Day 1: Matthew 3:1-3

• What word or verse stands out to you from this passage? Why?

• What prophecy did John the Baptist fulfill? (See Isaiah 40:3.)

• Spend time thinking today about how John's whole purpose was to introduce Jesus to the world.


Day 2: Matthew 3:4-6

• What word or verse stands out to you from this passage? Why?

• What did John do for the people? What do you think people thought of him?

• Spend time thinking today about how you form impressions of people and what you would have thought of John the Baptist.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Matthew by Laurie Polich Short. Copyright © 2014 Laurie Short. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:

1. Matthew 1: Chosen by God (sample enclosed)
2. Matthew 2: The Real King
3. Matthew 3: Preparing the Way
4. Matthew 4: Tested and Tried
5. Matthew 5: How to treat others
6. Matthew 6: How to live by Faith
7. Matthew 7: True judgment
8. Matthew 8: Faith and Healing
9. Matthew 9: A Deeper Healing
10. Matthew 10: A Call to Followers
11. Matthew 11:True to the End
12. Matthew 12: Fruit shows the Truth
13. Matthew 13: Seeds and Weeds
14. Matthew 14: Miracle Man
15. Matthew 15: It’s the Inside that Counts
16. Matthew 16: Seeing through God’s eyes
17. Matthew 17: A foreshadowing of things to come
18. Matthew 18:Compassion and Forgiveness
19. Matthew 19:Putting God first
20. Matthew 20: Fairness and Grace
21. Matthew 21:Responding to Jesus
22. Matthew 22:God’s Love lived out
23. Matthew 23:Seven Woes
24. Matthew 24:Known and Unknown
25. Matthew 25:He will Come
26. Matthew 26:1-30:Preparation for Death
27. Matthew 26:31-75: Loyalty tested
28. Matthew 27:1-26: Pilate’s Dilemma
29. Matthew 27:27-66: Death on our Behalf
30. Matthew 28:Resurrection and New Life

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