Messy Christmas Part 2: Following Jesus is Messy

Joseph is the forgotten man of the Christmas story. He says nothing considered substantial,
but accomplishes something that is signi cant. Joseph is not merely an inspiring gure from the past, but a compelling example of the dif cult, and sometimes inconvenient, journey of
living for Jesus. - Pastor Dave

Open: Describe a time something that you thought would be easy turned out to be dif cult.

Read: Matthew 1:18-25; 16:24-28;Luke 1-2:5; Deuteronomy 22:20-21

Discuss:

1. When you rst came to faith in Christ, what were your presuppositions about life in Christ (easy or dif cult)? Why? In what ways have you learned that following Jesus is, in fact, dif cult and messy? Describe messy/dif cult seasons in your spiritual journey with Christ.

2. Matthew describes the details of Joseph’s journey as Jesus’ stepfather. Describe
the importance of the betrothal period; Why was this considered as important as the marriage itself? How did the culture of the day view pre-marital pregnancy? List some of the consequences for being pregnant before marriage.

3. How do you believe Joseph may have initially reacted (based upon Luke’s record of the events)? After processing the situation, how does Joseph’s reaction, recorded in Matthew, demonstrate his love and care for Mary, and willingness to sacri ce his own reputation?

4. Joseph’s dream is a call to radical obedience. How do we see Joseph’s obedience in the “messy” story of Christmas? Can you give other examples of Joseph’s obedience later in the story? What makes obedience, in the midst of inconvenient moments, so important?

5. In what ways was Joseph’s circumstance a call to die to himself? In what ways are we called to die to self in this moment of our lives? What are some areas that God may be calling you to radical obedience and self-sacri ce right now?

Pray: Pray that you would walk in obedience even in the dif cult seasons of your Christian journey.

Memorize/Meditate: Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will nd it.” Matthew 16:24-25