“This is My Dear Son”: Jesus’ Birth to Baptism

Jan 5 – Feb 2, 2003

Birth of Jesus (Lesson A Week 1)

Scripture:       Matthew 1-2

Memory Verse:     “All of you are God’s children because of your faith in Christ Jesus.  And when you were baptized, it was as though you had put on Christ in the same way you put on new clothes” Galatians 3: 26-27 CEV


·      Jesus Christ embodies and fulfills God’s purpose in the world.

·      Just as God redeemed Israel from slavery in Egypt, so God in Christ redeems us from sin. 

·      In Christ, God calls us to a new way of life that exhibits God’s purpose for the world.


·      Students will learn details of Matthew’s account of Jesus’ birth.

·      Students will recognize similarities between Jesus’ escape and return from Egypt and that of the Hebrew people in the Old Testament.

·      Students will understand that Jesus is God in human form sent to fulfill God’s purpose.

Gathering Time

1.    If some students arrive early, assign them to prepare to act out the “Christmas story” as they remember it later in the morning.  Have costumes available.  Do not make any comments as to whether their version of the story is accurate or not.  Tell them their re-enactment should last only 2-3 minutes. 

2.    The Coach leads the opening routine: snack, fellowship, prayer wall activity, and prayer chain.  Nametags are available. 


Workshop Lesson Procedure:

Introductions (Coach):

1.    The Coach reviews the timeline and the previous week’s workshop activity.  This is the first Faith Challenge unit from the New Testament.  Point out that we are skipping ahead from the time of Judges (God judges and redeems a nation), which was the last unit with stories of Ruth and Gideon, to the time of Jesus (God sends a son).  If your class has already had the “Baptism of Jesus” part of this unit, point out that the material they are studying now takes place before the material they studied the past two weeks.

2.    Introduce the Guide who leads the Workshop Lesson.

Application:  (Guide takes over from here)

This lesson has three segments:

  1. Christmas Quiz
  2. “Complete the chart”
  3. Clay reminders

 1. Christmas Quiz (20 minutes)

1.    If the early-arriving students prepared a re-enactment of the Christmas story, allow them to present it to the class now.  The guide should only say this is their version of Jesus’ birth and should not provide any other information.

2.    Pass out the “Christmas Quiz” (attached at end of lesson)–one to each student.  Ask them to complete the quiz without referring to the Bible or without help from anyone else.  If desired, students could mark the quiz the first time in marker or colored pencil and later when they review the Bible story and find the correct answers, they could use a plain pencil or another color.  This will allow them to see how many they got right before they looked up the answers.  It will also help them recognize that the story so many of us remember as the “Christmas story” does not include all the details as presented in Matthew. 

3.    After students have finished the quiz, allow them to choose a partner with whom they will review the quiz. 

4.    Give each pair of students one or two Bibles and tell them to turn to Matthew 1-2.  Ask them to review their quizzes and find the correct answers.  Most answers will be in this passage of Matthew but several are not in the Bible such as “what is myrrh?” 

5.    After all students have reviewed the quiz in pairs, call the class back together for discussion.  Begin by asking them to point out what is different or the same from the re-enactment and the story of Jesus’ birth as told in Matthew. 

6.    Review the quiz, providing the correct answers, and helping students understand Matthew includes details of Jesus’ birth and early life that are not mentioned in other gospels and that we sometimes overlook when remembering the “Christmas story.”


2. Complete the Chart (10 minutes)

1.    Create a chart on flipchart or similar paper with 2 columns and 7 rows as below.  Leave all spaces blank except the headings “In Exodus”  and “In Matthew”


In Exodus

In Matthew

Joseph takes the Hebrew people to Egypt to escape famine

Joseph takes Jesus to Egypt to escape Herod

Pharaoh thinks the Hebrews are a threat

Herod thinks Jesus is a threat

Pharaoh orders the firstborn of the Hebrews killed

Herod orders male children of Bethlehem killed

Moses’ mother saves him from Pharaoh

Jesus’ father saves him from Herod

God comes to Moses and asks him to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt

God comes to Joseph in a dream and tells him it is safe to leave Egypt

God promises to be with Moses

Another name for Jesus is Emmanuel which means “God with us”


2.    Write each phrase from the chart above onto separate pieces of colored paper.  Distribute these papers to the students.

3.    Ask students to place their phrase on the chart where they think it belongs.  Lead the class in a discussion of the correct location of each phrase on the chart.   Note:  Items do not need to match the chart above in vertical order—but each row should match horizontally.  In other words, if a student places the phrase “Moses’ mother saves him from Pharaoh” on the first line of the chart that is fine—it just needs to have the correct corresponding phrase from Matthew in the same row. 

4.    Use this activity to point out the similarities between the Old Testament Hebrew experience in Egypt and Jesus’ experiences related to Egypt. 

3.  Clay reminders (10 minutes)

1.    Remind students again about the name Emmanuel that was given to Jesus.  Ask why they think God wanted to send Jesus to earth as a human—why God wanted to be “with us”?  From the last Faith Challenge unit, students learned about the following cycle in the Old Testament--God asked the people to worship only God,  the people forgot, God sent a judge, the people remembered, the judge died, the people forgot, God sent a new judge, the people worshipped God again, and on and on in a cycle.  God decided another plan was needed.  Instead of God sending only judges, God came to earth as a person—Jesus.

2.    Ask the class if this idea makes sense.  Do they think God’s reasoning was correct?  Would people pay more attention and remember to worship God if God lived among them?  Most answers are acceptable, but help them see that as people we often remember anything better if we have a physical reminder of it. 

3.    Tell students they are going to make a physical reminder of today’s lesson.

4.    Give each student a handful of modeling clay

5.    Tell them to make something to remind them of Matthew’s account of Jesus’ birth or early life.  Anything is suitable as long as it is related to today’s lesson and will remind them of the lesson or of “God with us.”

6.    As time permits allow students to share what they have made.

7.    Ask students to keep their models in the classroom to be used as a reference next week. 



1.    Ask students to tidy up.

2.    Bring closure to the activity. Remind the class that today they learned:                               

·      more about Jesus’ birth

·      how the birth story from Matthew has similarities to Old Testament stories

·      Jesus is “God with us”.

Closing (Coach):

1.    The Coach conducts the closing prayer.  A simple prayer such as:  God we thank you that you cared for us so much that you sent your son Jesus.  Help us live as Jesus taught us.  Amen

2.    Close/lock the door and turn off the lights.


Guide preparation in advance:

1.    Check out the room before your first Sunday workshop so that you know where everything is located.

2.    Post a “visual” for the timeline.

3.    Preparation instructions for this lesson plan:

·      Prepare photocopies of the Christmas Quiz for each class member

·      Prepare a blank chart onto flipchart paper or something similar

·      Write the phrases from the chart onto separate pieces of colored paper

·      Obtain modeling clay


Supply List

·      Modeling clay

·      Pencils, plain and colored (if desired)

·      Bibles

·      Tape or “sticky tack” for attaching phrases onto chart

·      Costumes for the re-enactment of the Christmas story



·      Writers’ Bible study materials titled “This is my own dear Son” prepared by Susan Mazzara

·      Christmas Quiz adapted from by Neil MacQueen




1.  Which of the following were Jesus’ ancestors? (May choose more than one)





2.  Jesus was born in what town?
         New York

3.  Jewish law said that when Joseph learned Mary was pregnant, he should:

Send her off to a foreign country

Marry someone else

Tell her to put the baby up for adoption

Have her stoned to death

4.  One name given to Jesus is Emmanuel.  It means:  

The Messiah

God’s son

God with us

A nickname for “Ernest”

5. From what region were the Wise Men?
         The west
         The east
         The orient
         None of the above

6. How many Wise Men came to see Jesus?
         The Bible doesn’t say

7.  What is frankincense?
         A form of gold
         Incense from a tree
         A jewel
         None of the above

8. What is myrrh?
         A musical instrument
         A spice used for burial
         A valuable wine
         None of the above

9. What does "Wise Men" most likely refer to?


10. The Wise Men met Jesus in a:

11. In Matthew’s story of Jesus’ birth, God speaks to all of the following people through angels or dreams except:

         The Wise Men


         All of the above

12. As a child Jesus went to Egypt:
         To meet pharaoh
         Because Joseph was told in a dream to take him
         Jesus did not go to Egypt
         To see the pyramids



True or False: 

13.  The Wise Men only followed the star to find Jesus. 

14.  The Wise Men met with King Herod.

15.  The prophets foretold some of the details of Jesus’ birth. 

16. The book of Matthew is the only gospel that tells about the Wise Men.

17.  After Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph went directly back to their hometown.

18.  King Herod lived until Jesus was 20 years old.


19. All the gospels tell about “no room in the inn” and the manger.

20.  King Herod was so jealous of a new king that he ordered all young male children killed

         Christmas Superstar: 18 - 20 correct
         Christmas Magi:  15 - 17 correct
         Christmas Angel: 11 -14 correct
         Christmas Donkey:  10 or less correct




1.    Which of the following were Jesus’ ancestors?---Abraham and Boaz—- Matthew 1:1-17.  Students should be familiar with both Abraham and Boaz from previous Faith Challenge lessons.  Point out verse 17 to students as an interesting fact.  


2.    Jesus was born in what town?---Bethlehem--Matthew 2:1


3.    Jewish law said that when Joseph learned Mary was pregnant, he should---Have her stoned----Deuteronomy 20:20-21 was the Jewish law at the time of Mary and Joseph.  It clearly states that a woman who was pregnant before a marriage was to be stoned at the door of her father’s house.  This means Joseph really did something dramatic and against religious law by listening to the angel and marrying Mary.


4.    One name given to Jesus is Emmanuel.  It means:---God with us—Matthew 1:23


5.    From what region were the Wise Men?---From the east--- Matthew 2:1


6.    How many wise men came to see Jesus?---No one knows,---but more than one. Some suppose there were three since there were three gifts, but that is just a guess. Matthew 2:1 only says “Wise Men” came—no number


7.     What is frankincense?---A valuable incense made from the sap of a tree


8.    What is myrrh?---A valuable spice sometimes used in burials. See John 19:39-40 which refers to myrrh being used to prepare Jesus body for burial after the crucifixion.


9.    What does "wise men" most likely refer to?---Star Gazers. See most any commentary. Stargazers could often navigate, predict the times for best planting, knew math, astronomy and calendar systems. They were very important in agricultural societies.


10.  The wise men met Jesus in a:---A house---Matthew 2:11


11.  In Matthew’s story of Jesus’ birth, God speaks to all of the following people through angels or dreams except:---Mary.  The angels appear to Mary in Luke, but in Matthew they appear to Joseph in Matthew 1:20, 2:13, and 2:19.  The Wise Men are warned in a dream in Matthew 2:12


12.  As a child Jesus went to Egypt---Because Joseph was told in a dream to take him—Matthew 2:13


13.  False—The Wise Men followed the star but also stopped in Jerusalem to ask where the “king of the Jews” was born.  The chief priests reported he was to be born in Bethlehem.  Matthew 2:1-5


14.  True—Matthew 2:7 


15.  True—Matthew 2:5-6


16.  True—Luke mentions angels appearing to Mary, “no room in the inn”, Jesus in the manger, and the shepherds, but does not mention Wise Men.  Mark and John do not give an account of Jesus birth. 


17.  False—Joseph, Mary and Jesus went to Egypt after Jesus’ birth—Matthew 2:13-15


18.  False—We do not know for sure how long Herod lived, or how long Joseph, Mary and Jesus lived in Egypt, but the reference to “child” in Matthew 2:20-21 indicates Jesus was much younger than 20 years old when he returned from Egypt.


19.  False—See note above for number 16


20.   True—Matthew 2:16