July 20, 2024

"The great reveal"

Scripture Passage: Matthew 1:18-23



A video introduction using illustrations, personal stories, metaphors, or active learning examples to begin the discussion.





After the video, prompts are supplied for thinking and sharing with others personal perception and experience. This opening activity prompts participants to think about and relate to the topic, and to share with others. 



Quiz time! In pairs or teams of 3–4, list all the dreams you recall from the Bible and be specific about the person and/or the dream. How many dreams did your team collectively recall? 

What was the nature of the dreams? Was there a pattern? Were there involved messages or basic decisive commands to guide people?

(Here are the 21 Dreams recorded in the books of Genesis, Judges, 1 Kings, Daniel, and Matthew)

1. Abimelech’s warning (Genesis 20)
2. Jacob’s ladder (Genesis 28:12
3. Jacob’s call home (Genesis 31:10–13)
4. Laban’s warning (Genesis 31:24)
5 Joseph and the bowing grain (Genesis 37:1–10)
6. Joseph’s grain and stars (Genesis 42:6–9
7. The cupbearer’s grapes (Genesis 40:9–15)
8. The baker’s baskets (Genesis 40:16–19)
9. Pharoah’s cows (Genesis 41)
10. Pharaoh’s grain (Genesis 41)
11. The runaway barley loaf (Judges 7:13–14)
12. Solomon’s blank check (1 Kings 3:5–15)
13. Nebuchadnezzar’s statue (Daniel 2)
14. Nebuchadnezzar’s tree (Daniel 4)
15. Daniel’s beasts (Daniel 7)
16–20. Dreams surrounding Jesus’ birth (Matthew 1:18–2:23
Joseph’s dream to marry Mary, Magi’s warning, Joesph’s warning, and return to Nazareth.  
21. Pilate’s wife’s nightmare (Matthew 27:19)



The Bible discussion begins with a careful reading of the whole passage, either from your own Bibles, or from the provided images below.

Then participants are to ask:

  1. What is going on in this passage of Scripture?
  2. What are the key words and phrases? Highlight them.
  3. Why do you think this passage is included in the Bible?
  4. What does it contribute to our “knowing Christ” and “living in Christ”?


Today’s Scripture passage: Matthew 1:18-23

Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[a]: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet[b] did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[c] because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[d] (which means “God with us”).

What part of this story speaks to you today? 

Why is it easy to be skeptical when individuals proclaim, 'I had this dream—do you think it's a message from God?

  • How can one distinguish between an ordinary dream and one believed to be a message from God?"

Joseph is between a rock and a hard place. His willingness to be faithful to the law, and his devotion to Mary, lead him to conclude that the only thing to do is to “divorce her quietly.” When he is left with no other alternatives, an angel encourages him in a dream to “go ahead with the marriage—it is all a part of the plan!”

  • What are the reasons why Joseph should move forward in the face of risky obedience in this dream?
  • Can you think of other examples where God gives guidance when there are no other solutions?

The Bible records the theme of God's presence among us from beginning to end. In Exodus 25:8, God instructs, "Make me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them," emphasizing His desire to be close to humanity. This concept is further emphasized in Matthew 1:23, where it is proclaimed that God is with us through Jesus. It is noteworthy that in the Gospel, the idea of "God with us" is present at the beginning and the end, and in the middle (Matthew 18:19-20), Jesus assures that when believers gather in His name, He is present among them. The closing words of Matthew, found in 28:19-20, promise His continuous presence as disciples spread His message. Revelation 21:3 concludes with the resounding declaration that God's dwelling is now among His people, reaffirming His everlasting presence with us. What does it mean for us today?

Insight Out

A parting video clip with a personal invitation to apply the message to “knowing Christ” and “living in Christ” in the coming week.



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