The Christmas Story (I) 圣诞节的故事(之一)

过不了几天就是12月25日圣诞节,世界各地的人们都会庆祝这个节日,就是人类的救世主耶稣基督的诞生。如果您对这个奇妙的圣诞故事不很熟悉的话,我们将在以下两堂课里读解。这个故事是记载在圣经里。


很久以前的允许

上帝告诉亚伯拉罕......你将会被祝福;......世上的人们都会因你而被祝福 (创世纪 第12章 1~3节的大意)


在祂诞生前700年,对救世主的预言

主要亲自赐给你们一个记号:有童女要怀孕生子,并给儿子取名“以马内利”。(以赛亚书 第七章 14节)


天使拜访玛利亚

上帝派天使加百利到加利利的一个小镇拿撒勒,去见一位已经与约瑟订了婚的童女。那童女的名字叫玛利亚。天使对她说,“恭喜,您蒙上帝的大恩了!上帝与你同在。”玛利亚听见这话,就感到不安,因为不明白这祝贺到底是什么意思。然而,天使就说,“玛利亚不要怕,您在上帝面前蒙恩了。你将怀孕并生一个儿子。你要给他起名叫耶稣。人们都要尊他为大并称他为‘至高者的儿子’。”

“这怎么可能呢?”玛利亚问那天使,“我还没有出嫁啊。”

天使回答她说,“圣灵将会临到你,至高者要覆庇你,因此那将要出生的圣者,必被称为‘上帝的儿子’看那,你的亲戚以利沙伯虽然被称为不会怀孕的,但是在她老年的时候,现在已经怀孕六个月了。对上帝来说,没有不可能的事。”玛利亚回答说,“我是上帝的婢女,愿你说的话成全在我的身上。”于是天使就离开了。(路加福音 第一章 26~38节)



天使拜访约瑟

耶稣基督降生的事,记在下面:他母亲马利亚已经许配了约瑟,还没有迎娶,马利亚就从圣灵怀了孕。他丈夫约瑟是个义人,不愿意明明的羞辱他,想要暗暗的把他休了。正思念这事的时候,有主的使者向他梦中显现说,“大卫的子孙约瑟,不要怕,只管娶过你的妻子马利亚来。因他所怀的孕,是从圣灵来的。他将要生一个儿子。你要给他起名叫耶稣。因他要将自己的百姓从罪恶里救出来。”这一切的事成就,是要应验主借先知所说的话说,“必有童女,怀孕生子,人要称他的名为以马内利。”约瑟醒了,起来,就遵着主使者的吩咐,把妻子娶过来。只是没有和他同房,等他生了儿子,就给他起名叫耶稣。(马太福音 第一章 18~25节)




问题与讨论:

1. 你觉得亚伯拉罕怎么能祝福全人类?

2. 上帝怎样在700年前给人们一个记号,告诉人们将会有什么样的事发生?

3. 如果你是玛利亚的话,你会怎样回答那个由上帝派来的天使?

4. 你对玛利亚的回答有什么感觉?

5. 你觉得约瑟是个什么样的人?

6. "Emmanuel" 是什么意思?你对与“上帝与人同在”有什么感觉?

7. 耶稣是谁?祂有什么特别的地方?

In just a few weeks, on December 25th, Christians from all over the world will be celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, their Lord and Savior. If you are not already familiar with this amazing Christmas story, we will be reading about it in the next couple of classes. This wonderful story is found in the Holy Bible.

A Promise Made Long Ago

The LORD said to Abraham ... you will be a blessing: … in you will all families of the earth be blessed. ~ Genesis 12: 1 – 3 (paraphrased from KJV)

A Savior Foretold Over 700 Years Before His Birth

The Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. ~ Isaiah 7: 14 (KJV)

The Angel Visits Mary

. . . the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. … he came to her and said, "Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!" But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."

And Mary said to the angel, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?"

And the angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy— the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God." And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her. ~ Luke 1:26 – 38 (ESV)

The Angel Visits Joseph

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son and they shall call his name Immanuel" (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus. ~ Matthew 1:18 – 25 (ESV) 


Definitions:

conceive (v)  to become pregnant; to form (an idea, opinion, purpose, etc.)

discern (v) to distinguish mentally, to see, recognize, or apprehend, to perceiver by the sight or some other sense

Son of the Most High (n) Son of God; Most High = God

Holy Spirit (n)  Spirit of God

barren (adj)  not capable  of producing offsprings; unproductive, not producing results 



Discussion Questions:

1. How do you think Abraham will be a blessing to all people?

2. Why did God give the people a sign – telling them of an event over 700 years before it happened?

3. If you were Mary, how would you respond to the angel of the Lord?

4.  What impressed you about Mary's response?

5.  What kind of person was Joseph?

6.  What does the name "Emmanuel" mean?  How would that make you feel if "God is with you"?

7.  Who is Jesus?  Why is He special?
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