WEEK OF DECEMBER 31, 2017

Day 1 - Isaiah 61:10-62:3

Isaiah was the one of the prophets that God chose to speak to the peoples of the Southern Kingdom, or Judah, over the time period preceding and during the collapse and disappearance of the Northern Kingdom, from around 740 to 695 B.C. His ministry was to call the people of the Southern Kingdom to repentance and to assure them of God’s faithfulness in keeping His promise to give to them—and all mankind—a savior. But in today’s reading, Isaiah is not just speaking God’s words, he is speaking the Messiah’s words some 700 years before he appears on earth in human form. 

As we read these words, we find Jesus describing himself and his mission:
—He will rejoice in his God, the Father, because he has clothed Jesus with
salvation and righteousness.
—He will be dressed as a bridegroom for his bride (the Church).
—God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before him in the
same way that seeds will sprout up in a well-fertilized garden.
—The Messiah will cause righteousness and salvation to appear to all
nations because of the presence of his redeemed.
—God will give Jerusalem a new name (see Revelation 21:1-3), and it will
be a crown of glory for the Lord.


Read Isaiah 61:10-62:3

Head
Try this exercise together. Put what is being said into your own words. Think about who is talking, the object He is talking about, and what is going to happen.

This can all sound so ‘beyond reality’. How hard is it to imagine that God is actually accomplishing this plan, ultimately resulting in Jesus’ followers being raised to new, eternal life?  Why?


Heart
When you stop and think about any of these images-which are most powerful and striking for you? Crowns, robes, sprouts, mountains,... Why? 

What are some modern images that we could use to convey the same ideas? Which ones still work from the text?


Hands
How can you be a person of hope and joy this week with those around you?


Day 2 - Galatians 4: 4-7

One of the main themes of St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians is that God did everything to accomplish our salvation. We only need to believe God (trust is another good word for that). There is no righteous deed that will enable or enhance our own salvation. Here, in today’s lesson, St. Paul explains how this salvation was realized. At just the right time in history, God’s son became a human being by being born of a woman, to redeem us who were unable to keep God’s laws ourselves. When we understand that to redeem means to “buy back,” we can appreciate why St. Paul uses the term “adoption.” When we were born, we were not God’s children initially, because of sin, but by buying us back by the shedding of Christ’s blood, God has adopted us as his children, making us brothers and sisters of Jesus, and enabling us to not only call God our father, but also to share in the inheritance with Jesus of all of God’s goodness.

Read Galatians 4: 4-7

Head
Reflect on Paul’s words “when the fullness of time had come”. What does that tell us about God and time? How does that make you feel?

Jesus was born of a woman, and under the law...He was like us. Read questions 120-122 in your small catechism. What sticks out to you as important about Jesus being human?

Heart
Jesus became like us, AND this passage reminds us that we become like Jesus, as children of God. Read this article.

What sticks out to you from reading this article?

Go around the group and answer this question: Thinking about God as my adopted father means ________ for my faith.

Hands
Take time to pray for adoptive families and kids, also pray about foster care families and situations. List names of people involved with these ‘family’ ministries. Also pray for people who need to be adopted into God’s family.