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Bible Study: Impatiently awaiting the Messiah

NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

This week’s Bible study is adapted from The Gospel Project curriculum.

Bible Passage: John 1

Discussion Questions:

  • Why might it be difficult to share the truth of Jesus Christ?
  • What attributes of God are revealed through Jesus’ incarnation for our salvation, for which we should praise and imitate Him?
  • Why might we find it difficult to speak and act in grace and truth?

Food for Thought:

From Genesis to the beginning of the Gospels, God’s people had been waiting. In light of their sin and its consequences, and spurred on by the promises and covenants of the Lord, they longed and waited for the Messiah who would crush the tempter, forgive their sin and lead them to eternal freedom. Their waiting was not done with perfect patience or steadfast obedience.

Israel’s history is full of failure and stories of those who took matters into their own hands. Many of the greatest men and women of the Bible decided that the perfect deliverer promised to them was not worth the wait. They had to do something to speed up the process. So they struck the rock, gave over the handmaid, formed the golden calf and trusted themselves over God.

Yet God was still patient with them. He still offered them a way to be in relationship with Him despite their disobedience. He provided them with a temple, with Passover and with a system of bringing sacrifices for forgiveness. But the cycle continued. They would make sacrifices, receive forgiveness, doubt God, disobey and repeat; until the Lord decided exile was necessary.

At the start of the New Testament, the situation was bleak for God’s people. Even after the Israelites returned to their land, they were still under the power first of the Medo-Persians, then the Greeks, then the Romans. The prophets were silent. The kingdom was broken. The future was dark. Greek and Roman culture had enveloped the whole area, and the elitist Pharisees and Sadducees had come into power to try to lead the Jews. But the only real hope for the people of God was the coming Messiah.

When would the Messiah come? The Israelites had waited so long already, and nothing on the horizon signaled any change. Into this period of longings and doubts, Jesus was born. And everything changed when Jesus showed up, because Jesus is the Word, the Son of God who came into the world to bring salvation.

The Gospel Project

The Gospel Project is a chronological, Christ-centered study for kids, students and adults. The Bible is not a collection of stories. It is one story of God’s plan to rescue His people from sin and death. It is the story of redemption, the gospel message of Jesus Christ. More information can be found at Lifeway.com/GospelProject.

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  • Staff/Lifeway Christian Resources