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Session 18

What you miss when you only know half the story

Read: Luke 2:36-40, Matthew 5:17-18

If you started watching a movie when it was almost over, you likely would not understand the significance of certain events or relate to the characters’ experiences. You could piece some things together, but the more complex, meaningful exchanges would be lost on you without the proper context.

The same could be said about reading the Bible. If we only focus on certain parts of it, we miss out on understanding the bigger picture. 

If we only focus on parts of the Bible, we miss out on understanding the bigger picture.

Much of the significance of Jesus’ birth comes from seeing it in the context of the Old Testament. People had been waiting for generations for the Messiah, the one who would deliver God’s people from oppression. 

Many thought the Messiah would free them from political oppression, but in sending Jesus, God had something bigger in mind. In Matthew 5:17-18, Jesus explained that He came to fulfill the law and prophecies of the Old Testament. 

When Jesus was a baby, His parents were careful to follow all the ceremonies required by Jewish law (Luke 2:39). And as an adult, Jesus followed God’s laws — just not always in the way people expected. 

Every Old Testament law was designed to teach God’s people to love Him and love others. But after generations of trying, the nation of Israel showed what God already knew to be true. Our hearts are naturally selfish and impatient — unable to really love God and love others. 

But Jesus, being fully human and fully divine, was able to do both. He set an example for us in how He lived. And in His death and resurrection, Jesus gave us the best gift of all: freedom from the sin that has oppressed God’s people for far too long. When we believe in Jesus, we receive His Spirit and with it the ability to really love and finally fulfill God’s law. 

Reflect

  • Do you spend time reading the Old Testament? Why or why not?
  • Does Jesus’ statement that He came to fulfill the law and prophets change your view of the Old Testament? How?

1

What are you waiting for this Christmas?

What are you waiting for this Christmas?

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2

Jesus came to be a different kind of king

Jesus came to be a different kind of king

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3

Has God forgotten you?

Has God forgotten you?

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4

How to find peace this Christmas

How to find peace this Christmas

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5

Do you believe God is with you?

Do you believe God is with you?

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6

Four clues to who Jesus wants to be to you

Four clues to who Jesus wants to be to you

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7

The surprising benefit of being honest about your doubts

The surprising benefit of being honest about your doubts

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8

The importance of preparing the way

The importance of preparing the way

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9

When the situation seems impossible, remember this truth

When the situation seems impossible, remember this truth

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10

A blessed life is not always an easy life

A blessed life is not always an easy life

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11

How to accept praise and stay humble

How to accept praise and stay humble

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12

When the right thing is not the easy thing

When the right thing is not the easy thing

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13

Jesus is not afraid of your mess

Jesus is not afraid of your mess

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14

What happened when Jesus came to earth and why it’s a big deal

What happened when Jesus came to earth and why it’s a big deal

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15

God can do great things through imperfect people

God can do great things through imperfect people

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16

This is really good news

This is really good news

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17

How you see Jesus shapes how you see Christmas

How you see Jesus shapes how you see Christmas

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18

What you miss when you only know half the story

What you miss when you only know half the story

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19

What does it look like to worship?

What does it look like to worship?

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20

The most beautiful gift you can give this Christmas

The most beautiful gift you can give this Christmas

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21

What if the miracle doesn’t look how you thought it would?

What if the miracle doesn’t look how you thought it would?

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22

A reason to be generous this Christmas

A reason to be generous this Christmas

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23

How to celebrate Christmas all year long

How to celebrate Christmas all year long

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