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Bible Study: The Name of Jesus - Advent 4

Text: Matthew 1:18-25 for the Fourth Sunday in Advent, Lectionary Series A
 Participants will understand the meaning and comfort of Jesus' precious name.
Materials Needed
Lutheran Service Book
Group Guidelines
 Divide into groups of 6-8 people. Going around the circle, each person should say as quickly as possible one title they can think of that the Bible gives to Jesus. The first person who can't think of one that hasn't already been given will be the leader. The leader should guide the group through the following activities.
Building Community
 Share your name with the group. Do you have any nicknames? What do they mean? How do they describe you? Which of your many names is most important?
Looking at God's Word
  1.  Read Matthew 1:18-25.
  2. "Jesus" is the Greek form of the Hebrew name "Joshua," which means "The Lord is Salvation." Why was it especially appropriate for the incarnate Son of God? What reason does the angel give?
  3. Jesus is also given many other names in Scripture. Read Isaiah 7:14 and Isaiah 9:6. How do all these other names help point to aspects of Jesus' identity and work? How does the meaning of the name "Jesus" summarize all of them?
  4. What are some ways in which Christians should use the name of Jesus? Look at:
    1. John 14:13-14
    2. Ephesians 5:20
    3. Colossians 3:17
  5. What does it mean to do something "in the name of Jesus"? Are there things you can't do in Jesus' name? How might this be a helpful way to think about our actions each day?
  6. How should we treat the name of Jesus? Read Exodus 20:7 and Philippians 2:5-11. Can you think of ways to remind someone who is misusing Jesus' name of its true meaning, and Jesus' saving love for them? 
Reinforcing What Has Been Learned
  1.  How is the very name of Jesus a comfort to us? How does it remind us of who Jesus is and why He came?
  2. Some people make it a habit to bow their heads slightly whenever the name of Jesus is said. Martin Luther, Johann Sebastian Bach and many others adopted the practice of writing "I.N.J." at the beginning of everything they wrote, which stands for "In the Name of Jesus." Do either of these practices seem as if they might be helpful to you? Can you think of other ways in which you might daily remind yourself of the precious name of Jesus with all that it means?
 Sing the hymn, "Jesus! Name of Wondrous Love" (LSB 900). The leader should then offer a brief prayer of thanks, in Jesus' precious name.
Originally published in Discovery Bible Studies 11, studies on the Gospel readings for lectionary series A, in 1998.
 Republished and revised in October 2013 for thESource.

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