Use one or both of these questions to introduce the lesson:
1. This is a season of gift giving. What motivates your gift giving? Include both positive and negative motivations.
2. How much thought goes into gift giving for you? How do you decide what would be a perfect gift for a loved one?
Read Matthew 2:1, 2.
1. The root of the word worship is worth. According to the Magi, what made a newborn worthy of their taking such a long trip? How does our worship change when we believe that the very identity of Jesus makes any sacrifice we make for him worthwhile?
2. The idea of a star being the sign of a coming Messiah is not found in the Old Testament. Where might the Magi have gotten such an idea? Contrast how they dealt with a special star and how some of God’s people dealt with stars in the past (Acts 7:42). How are we tempted to worship trappings that point to Jesus rather than Jesus himself?
Read Matthew 2:3-8.
3. How did Herod “and all Jerusalem with him” react to the quest of the Magi? (Note that the Greek word used to describe the reaction literally means “stirred up.”) What might have been reasons for these reactions? How have you seen those honestly seeking to worship Jesus disturb the status quo?
4. The prophet Micah predicted that the Messiah’s very nature would be different from that of the typical ruler. In what ways would Jesus fulfill that role (John 10:11-18)?
Read Matthew 2:9-12.
5. On the way from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, the Magi were “overjoyed.” Literally, they “rejoiced with joy” (echaresan charan). How do you see this enhanced sense of happiness displayed in your life and in lives of others during this Christmas season?
6. The gifts of the Magi seem strange to us today, but they were significant. How did the gifts fit the character of Jesus? See Psalm 21:1-3; Numbers 16:40; John 19:39, 40.
7. The warning to the Magi in a dream is the second mention in Matthew’s account of Jesus’ birth of divine warning coming in a dream. See Matthew 1:19-23. What are some ways that God has told you “no” regarding your plans?
8. Again “worship” is a key word when we see that the Magi worshipped Jesus by bowing and surrendering gifts to him. What can you do to make this year’s Christmas celebration a more worshipful experience?