Loving & Knowing the Truth -WITH VIDEO (Lesson 3 of 10)

Laborer Training School 2018

Video: Loving and Knowing the Truth (Lesson 3) (2 hrs)

Our heart affects what light we RECEIVE (Matt. 5:8):

  • Parable of Sower – Matt. 13:1-8, 18-23; Mark 4:1-9, 13-20; Luke 8:4-15
    • Are you willing to obey?
      • 1 Sam. 3:10; Prov. 1:20-33; Matt. 6:22-24; John 7:17; Rom. 1:18-32; 2 Cor. 3:16; 2 Thes. 2:10-12
    • Will you seek out truth?
      • Job 28; Prov. 25:2; Mark 4:10; Acts 17:10-11; 1 Thes. 5:20-21 
    • Are you humble and correctable?
      • Psalm 25:8-9; 141:5; Prov. 1:20-33; 9:8; 26:1-12; Matt. 11:25-29; James 3:17
    • Do you love the truth?
      • 2 Thes. 2:1-12
  • Jeremiah 17:5-8; Ezekiel 36:26 – We need a new heart
    • Song of Songs 1:4; Dan. 9:18; Matt. 11:25 – rest/trust in Him, not you!
  • IMPORTANT: God’s desire and ability to reveal ALWAYS OUTWEIGHS our desire and ability to receive – Prov. 1:20-23; Isaiah 65:1-5

Light & Life in Christ (Lesson 2 of 10)

Laborer Training School 2018

Our ONE qualification for ministry: God → His Light & Life in us

God’s Light/Revelation → leads to → God’s Life 

  • Genesis 1: Light – days 1, 4 (1:3-5, 14-19)Life – days 5-6 (1:20-31)
  • John 1:4 – “that life was the light”
  • Num. 21:4-9 (with John 3:14-15) – “look at it and live,” (v. 8)
  • 2 Kings 2:7-14 – “if you see me…it will be yours—otherwise, it will not.” (v. 10)
  • 2 Peter 1:5-9 – “whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind,” (v. 9)
  • Ephesians – 1:17-23 → “God…seated us” (2:6) → “walk” (4:1) → “stand” (6:10) 
  • Matt. 16:13-20 – Peter’s revelation → Peter’s ministry
  • Romans 6:1-3 – “Or don’t you know…?” (v. 3)

“In your light do we see light” (Psalm 36:9)

  • Gen. 1:14-19 – Greater and Lesser Light
  • Rev 1 – Jesus = light; church = lampstand 
  • Matt 11:25-30; 16:17; John 3:27 – true revelation is always from God
  • Gen. 3:5-7, 21-22 – eyes opened apart from God’s revelation → death

God gives light through: (1) Holy Spirit, (2) His Word/Scripture

  • Gen. 1:2-3 – “the Spirit of God was hovering…And God said…”
  • Lev. 11:36-37; Matt 3:13-4:11; Acts 8:29-35; 15:8-28; Heb 2:3-4; 2 Pet. 1:16-21
    • God’s Word – Psalm 19:7; 119:130
    • God’s Spirit – John 16:13; 1 Cor 2; 1 John 2:26

God uses others to reveal light (as they agree with Spirit + Word)

  • Rev 2-3 – “let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches”
  • Acts 18:24-28; Eph. 4:11  – teachers
  • Matt. 28:20; Acts 6:4; 8:29-35; 1 Tim. 5:17; Heb. 13:7 – leaders
  • Acts 9:4-6, 10-19; 2 Pet. 2:16 (see Num. 22)  – simple “disciples,” even a donkey 
  • Deut. 18:21-22; 13:1-5; Acts 17:10-11; Gal. 1:6-10; 1 John 4:1 – we must test teachers according to God’s Word and Spirit

Qualification for Ministry (Lesson 1 of 10)

Laborer Training School 2018

John the Baptist

  • Mal. 3:1; 4:5-6; Lk. 1:13-17, 41; Jn. 1:32-34; Mt. 11:11 – John = “Very Important Person”
  • John 3:27 – I must become less for him to be more
  • Matt. 11:2-3 – at time of need, doubts

12 Apostles

  • Lk. 6:12-16; Mt. 19:28; Lk. 22:29-30; Rev. 21:14 – Apostles = “Very Important Persons”
  • Mark 7:17-18; 8:14-21; Luke 9:43-45; Acts 1:6-7 – clueless about Jesus’ mission
  • Matt. 16:13-23 – Peter’s revelation; then used by Satan
  • Matt. 10:1-4 – all did signs and wonders (even Judas)
  • Mark 14:17-19, 35 – They were certain they’d never deny Jesus
  • Mark 14:31-32; Matt. 26:56 – All left him at his darkest hour
  • Mark 14:66-72 – Peter denied 3 times
  • Mark 14:27-28; 16:7 – Jesus stays faithful
  • John 18:10 – Peter hacked off a man’s ear with a sword

After resurrection

  • Mt. 28:17; Mk. 16:11, 13-14; Lk. 24:11; Jn. 20:25 – doubted resurrection
  • Did not recognize Him unless He allowed it (see also Matt. 11)
  • Luke 24 – were told they were unqualified for ministry on their own
  • John 10:11 – Good Shepherd = Jesus → saves sheep
    • 10:1, 10 – Thief = False Minister → destroys sheep
    • 10:12-13 – Hired Hand = True Minister → abandons sheep


  • Gal. 1:1 – Called by God as a True Apostle
  • Acts 9:1-19 – while called: blinded; dependent on others; praying
  • Acts 15:36-41 – still has irreconcilable conflict


  • 1 Sam. 16:1-13; David vs brothers
  • 1 Sam. 15; 2 Sam. 11 – Saul’s disgrace vs David’s disgrace
  • Matt. 1:1; Acts 13:22; Rev. 22:16 – David is commended
  • See also Moses (Exodus 2:11-15; 4:10); Gideon (Judges 6-8)


  • Gal. 2:20; Phil. 3:1-14; 1 Cor. 1:26-31 – “Not I, but Christ,” “Boast in the Lord”
  • Zech. 4 (cf. Luke 24:44-49) – “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit”
  • Acts 4:13 (and Psalm 8) – “uneducated, common men…they had been with Jesus”
  • Hudson Taylor (1832 – 1905): “I often think that God must have been looking for someone small enough and weak enough for Him to use, and that He found me.”

OUTLINE // Lesson 10: Church & Ministry

  • Matt. 18:15-20
    • 18:17 – church = group of Christians
    • 18:20 – church =
      • 2+ people
      • meeting together
      • under Jesus’ authority
      • (Jesus will also be present)
  • Philippians 1:1 – city-wide church; 2 offices
    • Acts 2:46 – city-church met in houses and temple
  • Ephesians 4:11-16:
  • Goal of church = build itself up to the fullness of Christ (i.e. disciple itself)
    • By people/”ministers” (4:11):
      1. Apostle = “sent one”; missionary; initiates new churches 
      2. Prophet = “spokesman for God”; guides and warns present church
      3. Evangelist = “announcer”; leads non-Christians to Christ
      4. Shepherd/Pastor = tends to the church and her needs
      5. Teacher = effectively communicates truths of Jesus/God
  • Healthy churches consistently practice:
  1. Biblical leadership (Phil. 1:1; Eph. 4:11-16)
  2. Communion (1 Cor. 11:20-21)
  3. Baptism of new Christians (Acts 2:41) // See Lesson 2
  4. Giving/Charity (Acts 4:32-37)
  5. Spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 14:26) // See Lesson 6
  6. Praying, singing, praising (1 Cor. 14:15-16; 1 Tim. 2:1) // See Lesson 9
  7. Discipline toward unrepentant sin (Matt 18:15-17; 1 Cor. 5:11)
  8. Understanding/obeying the Bible (Acts 2:42; 1 Tim. 4:13) // See Lesson 8
  9. Fellowship, including over meals (Acts 2:42) // See Lesson 7
  10. Mutual participation that edifies all (1 Cor. 14:26)
  • ^^ All of this is to disciple/grow each other in Christ (1 Cor. 14:26) // see Lesson 2
  • Simple Church Template (for house church/small groups)
  • Conclusion: Church = Jesus’ strategy to grow disciples who grow disciples

End of Lessons: What Now?

2 Tim. 2:2 says: “What you have heard from me…entrust to faithful men, who can teach others”

That’s our God-given command. Thus, I recommend you:

  1. Train others to train others with these lessons.
  2. Join/start a house church/small group (as described above)
  3. Join an online community/discussion of others who have been similarly trained

The Christmas Story

Merry Christmas 2022!!

Previously, we’ve discussed how Matthew and Luke’s birth narratives of Jesus go together:

Sequence of Birth Events

In those articles, we presented the following order of birth events:

  1. Jesus’ Divine Ancestry – John 1:1-3
  2. John the Baptist’s Birth Foretold; John is Conceived – Luke 1:5-25
  3. Jesus’ Birth Foretold to Mary; Jesus is Conceived – Matt. 1:18; Luke 1:26-38
  4. Unborn Jesus and John Are “Introduced” – Luke 1:39-56
  5. John the Baptist is Born – Luke 1:57-80
  6. Jesus’ Birth Foretold to Joseph – Matt. 1:19-25
  7. Joseph and Mary Journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem – Luke 2:1-5
  8. Jesus’ Birth – Luke 2:6-20
  9. Jesus’ Circumcision and Naming – Matt. 1:25; Luke 2:21
  10. Jesus Presented to the Lord in Jerusalem – Luke 2:22-39
  11. Wise Men Seek Jesus – Matt. 2:1-12
  12. Joseph, Mary, and Jesus Flee to Egypt – Matt. 2:13-15
  13. Herod Slaughters the Infants – Matt. 2:16-18
  14. Joseph, Mary, and Jesus Return to Nazareth of Galilee – Matt. 2:19-23; Luke 2:39

People appearing (in general order of their first appearance)

  1. Jesus as Creator God
  2. Zechariah
  3. Elizabeth
  4. Gabriel, the Angel
  5. Mary
  6. Joseph
  7. John the Baptist (outside the womb)
  8. unnamed angel
  9. Innkeeper (assumed)
  10. Jesus (as infant)
  11. Shepherds
  12. Angel/Angels (appearing to shepherds)
  13. Simeon
  14. Anna
  15. Herod the King
  16. Wise men from the East
  17. chief priests and scribes
  18. Archelaus

God’s Own Words

Below you will find direct words from the NKJV Bible describing all these events. Where different gospels overlap each other, I have combined them as 1 flowing narrative.

Jesus’ Divine Ancestry – John 1:1-3

John 1:1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

John the Baptist’s Birth Foretold; John is Conceived – Luke 1:5-25

1:5There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. 7But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.

1:8So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, 9according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. 10And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense. 11Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.

1:13But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. 17He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

1:18And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.”

1:19And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. 20But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.”

1:21And the people waited for Zacharias, and marveled that he lingered so long in the temple. 22But when he came out, he could not speak to them; and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple, for he beckoned to them and remained speechless.1:23So it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house. 24Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying, 25”Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”

Jesus’ Birth Foretold to Mary; Jesus is Conceived – Matt. 1:18; Luke 1:26-38

Luke 1:26Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”

1:29But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

1:34Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”

1:35And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37For with God nothing will be impossible.”

1:38Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Matt. 1:18Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.

Unborn Jesus and John Are “Introduced” – Luke 1:39-56

Luke 1:39Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, 40and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. 41And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”

1:46And Mary said:

“My soul magnifies the Lord,

47And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.

48For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;

For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.

49For He who is mighty has done great things for me,

And holy is His name.

50And His mercy is on those who fear Him

From generation to generation.

51He has shown strength with His arm;

He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

52He has put down the mighty from their thrones,

And exalted the lowly.

53He has filled the hungry with good things,

And the rich He has sent away empty.

54He has helped His servant Israel,

In remembrance of His mercy,

55As He spoke to our fathers,

To Abraham and to his seed forever.”

56And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her house.

John the Baptist is Born – Luke 1:57-80

Luke 1:57Now Elizabeth’s full time came for her to be delivered, and she brought forth a son. 58When her neighbors and relatives heard how the Lord had shown great mercy to her, they rejoiced with her.

1:59So it was, on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him by the name of his father, Zacharias. 60His mother answered and said, “No; he shall be called John.”

1:61But they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name.” 62So they made signs to his father—what he would have him called.

1:63And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, “His name is John.” So they all marveled. 64Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God. 65Then fear came on all who dwelt around them; and all these sayings were discussed throughout all the hill country of Judea. 66And all those who heard them kept them in their hearts, saying, “What kind of child will this be?” And the hand of the Lord was with him.

1:67Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:

1:68”Blessed is the Lord God of Israel,

For He has visited and redeemed His people,

69And has raised up a horn of salvation for us

In the house of His servant David,

70As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets,

Who have been since the world began,

71That we should be saved from our enemies

And from the hand of all who hate us,

72To perform the mercy promised to our fathers

And to remember His holy covenant,

73The oath which He swore to our father Abraham:

74To grant us that we,

Being delivered from the hand of our enemies,

Might serve Him without fear,

75In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.

76”And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest;

For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways,

77To give knowledge of salvation to His people

By the remission of their sins,

78Through the tender mercy of our God,

With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us;

79To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,

To guide our feet into the way of peace.”1:80So the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel.

Jesus’ Birth Foretold to Joseph – Matt. 1:19-25

Matt. 1:19Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

1:22So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23”Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

1:24Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25aand did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son.

Joseph and Mary Journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem – Luke 2:1-5

Luke 2:1And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

2:4Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 

Jesus’ Birth – Luke 2:6-20

Luke 2:6So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

2:8Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

2:13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

2:14”Glory to God in the highest,

And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

2:15So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

Jesus’ Circumcision and Naming – Matt. 1:25; Luke 2:21

Luke 2:21And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called Jesus–Matt. 1:25bHe (Joseph) called His name Jesus–the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.

Jesus Presented to the Lord in Jerusalem – Luke 2:22-39

Luke 2:22Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”), 24and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

2:25And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, 28he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:

2:29”Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,

According to Your word;

30For my eyes have seen Your salvation

31Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,

32A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,

And the glory of Your people Israel.”

2:33And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. 34Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against 35(yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

2:36Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; 37and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 38And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem. 39aSo they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord.

Wise Men Seek Jesus – Matt. 2:1-12

Matt. 2:1Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”

2:3When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.

2:5So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:

2:6’But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,

Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;

For out of you shall come a Ruler

Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ “

2:7Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. 8And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.”

2:9When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

2:12Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.

Joseph, Mary, and Jesus Flee to Egypt – Matt. 2:13-15

Matt. 2:13Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”

2:14When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, 15and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”

Herod Slaughters the Infants – Matt. 2:16-18

Matt. 2:16Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. 17Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying:

2:18”A voice was heard in Ramah,

Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning,

Rachel weeping for her children,

Refusing to be comforted,

Because they are no more.”

Joseph, Mary, and Jesus Return to Nazareth of Galilee – Matt. 2:19-23; Luke 2:39

Matt. 2:19Now when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.” 21Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel.

2:22But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee, so Luke 2:39bthey returned to Galilee. 23And he came to, and dwelt in, a city–their own city–called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

Christmas Contradiction or Complement?: Comparing the Matthew 1:1- 2:23 and Luke 2:1-39 Christmas Stories

Guest Author: Richard Geer

There have been many commentaries on the supposed contradictions between Matthew and Luke’s differing accounts of Jesus early years, and most folks grew up with the famous amalgam of Mary, Joseph and infant Jesus in the manger.  The Shepherds and the Magi (Wise men) in the stable with the animals. All surrounding The Holy Family with the star of Bethlehem shining above that same stable. Wonderful scene and evoking many of my fondest childhood memories, but like the cute bathtub ark of Noah not a correct interpretation of the event in my opinion. The wise men were not at the manger, but a house the shepherds were at the manger not the house. John’s account although touching upon Christ’s eternal existence is not pertinent to the discussion of Christ’s incarnation at Bethlehem. Mark actually doesn’t speak at all of Christ’s birth and childhood, diving right into Christ’s ministry years.


A. Comparison of The different genealogies in Matthew and Luke reveal different approaches to Christ’s early years and at first glance appear to be somewhat contradictory, but in closer examination we see that this is far from accurate. Matthew is communicating to the Jews and is desirous of revealing that Jesus is descended from David through Solomon. Thus showing Jesus’ connection as a royal son of David.  

His account goes in descending order from Abraham down to Joseph the supposed literal father of Jesus. All of the ancestors are described as direct descendants (begotten) until Joseph, but not Jesus. Joseph lineage is essential, however. Matthew begins his narrative starting with David and then jumps back to Abraham, the beginning of Israel as a nation. This is why I believe that Matthew is from the father’s (Joseph’s) royal lineage. Jesus being the legal son of Joseph would then be of the royal line, thus making Him a King descended directly from the house of David. Critical to being counted as Messiah, He must be considered a rightful king, the firstborn in the line of kings. Legally Jesus would be the firstborn and heir of Joseph, but not begotten son. Matthew is the most Jewish of the Gospels and the royal connection is a critical factor in his genealogical version.

So then I believe that Matthew’s gospel is from Joseph’s perspective.

B. Luke’s genealogical approach Starts earlier than Matthew’s but in reverse order. Starting with Joseph the husband of Mary, his genealogy ascends back to Adam bringing a more universal aspect to Messiah’s birth, which will ultimately cover not only natural Israel, but the future light to the gentiles Isaiah 9:1-2, 60:1-3 cf. with Simeon’s prophecy in Luke 3:29-32. Again perhaps why Luke considered it important to go back to the very beginning with Adam in his genealogical version.

So from Adam to Abraham there is no overlap and thus no contradiction. From Abraham to David the two accounts are identical. Thus no contradiction. After David however, the lineage descends from the non-royal line of Nathan. This is also critical as Messiah has to be from both the royal line and of the literal seed of David 2 Samuel 7:12-16, John 7:42, Romans 1:3.  This presents us with a difficulty as the royal seed was cast off with Jeconiah, the last true king of Israel, according to the Word of the Lord in Jeremiah 22:24-30.

 1. The problem is solved by the fact that Luke’s list is from the non-royal line of David, but his literal seed through Mary. Of course God had this covered from the events of the fall in Genesis 3:15. It is there said by God that the “seed of the woman” would bruise the serpents head. A veiled reference to the virgin birth as woman do not have seed they have eggs.

2. It seems as if there is room in Luke’s list for marriage to be a possible factor in lineage as opposed to begotten in Matthew. This is one of the possible explanations for the Shealtiel and Zerubbabel reconnect and overlap in the genealogies, after David, then being disconnected after that until Mary. There isn’t space to dwell on this for now, but it is an interesting side note that this overlap occurred after the Babylon captivity and during the building of the second temple.

So then I believe that Luke is from Mary’s perspective.

C. Mary receives the name to be given to the Child by the angel Gabriel. Luke 1:26-38. Joseph then receives the name of the Child later, and independently of Mary, in a dream, Matt 1:18-24. I believe that this is one more detail that confirms that Matthew is from Joseph’s viewpoint and Luke is from Mary’s.

How the 2 Scenarios Line Up Perfectly

A. Luke’s Account actually goes into some earlier events concerning John the Baptist conception and birth. Elizabeth pregnant 6 months before Mary. Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth etc.

B. Visitation of the Angel Gabriel to Mary. She is overshadowed by the power of God and becomes pregnant. This occurs 6 months into her cousin, Elizabeth’s pregnancy with John the Baptist. Knowing when John was conceived after Zachariah’s term of service as priest in the division of Abijah and by comparing 1 Chronicles 24: 1-4, 28:11-13, Luke 1:26-38.  We surmise that Jesus was probably born in late Sept or early October not December, although it is then likely that December perhaps was the month when Jesus was conceived.

C.  Joseph’s dream after finding that Mary is already pregnant. Matt 1:18-24.   

D. Joseph and Mary come down from Nazareth to the town of Bethlehem to fulfill the decree of a census by Augustus Caesar. Joseph stays betrothed to Mary after his dream. Luke 2:1-7; Matt. 1:18-25.

E.  Jesus born in a stable in a manger with Mary and Joseph. Wise men are not here at this point neither is the star. Luke 2:6-7

F. Shepherds in the fields are visited by an angel of the Lord announcing the birth of Jesus. Then the heavenly host praising God in the Highest. They hasten to Bethlehem and see Joseph and Mary with the babe Jesus in the manger on the night of His birth. Luke 2:15-20.

G. Jesus presented at the temple in Jerusalem for circumcision the 8th day after birth. Prophecy of Anna and Simeon. A revelation to the gentiles Luke 2:29-38. They have remained in Bethlehem at this point.

H. Mary goes back over to the temple for her purification according to Mosaic Law, 40 days after the birth of Jesus. They offer up an offering of 2 turtle doves; not a lamb which would be the normal offering except in cases of extreme poverty.  Luke 2:22-24; Leviticus 12:6-8. This indicates that the Magi have still not arrived on the scene with their gifts of Gold, Frankincense and myrrh.  All gifts worthy of a king. Mary and Joseph are still in Bethlehem perhaps because of better opportunities for a carpenter. Only five miles from Jerusalem. Perhaps there might have been some remaining stigma in Nazareth, their old home town, for being an unmarried woman with child. But whatever the reason they are still in Bethlehem at this point in the narrative.

I. Still living in Bethlehem, but now living in a house, the Magi (Wise men) arrive. First in Jerusalem, then Bethlehem following the famous star. The Star leads them to the house where Joseph and Mary and Jesus are now residing. Jesus is now described as a young child not a babe or an infant. Matt. 2:1-12

J. Herod learns of the Wise men’s visit. He inquires of the priests and scribes as to where the Christ was to be born.  Informed that it would be in Bethlehem, according to Scripture. Micah 5:2  

K. Herod sends for the Wise men and deceitfully tells them to come back to him so that he might worship the child.

L. The Wise men are warned in a dream and leave in a different direction from Jerusalem and do not return to Herod. Joseph also warned in a dream flees to Egypt with Mary and Jesus. Matt. 2:13-18.  They now have money to do this after the gift of the Magi. Herod, angry at being deceived by the wise men begins slaughter of the infants up to 2 years of age. This gives a window for the appearance of the Magi, after the birth of Jesus. No earlier than 40 days, from the purification of Mary, and no later than 2 years based on the decree of Herod.

M. Herod dies. They return to Israel, probably after several months; up to a year, perhaps even longer. Instead of returning to Bethlehem, in Judea, they return to Nazareth in in the north of Israel, in the Galilean region. It may be fearing that Herod’s son, Archelaus, was as despotic as his father, persuaded them to not return to their house in Bethlehem. Matt. 2:19-23. Also, Jesus is now a young child and any stigma that may have been encountered in their old home has either been forgotten or become irrelevant.

N. Luke describes an event at the temple at 12 years of age, Matthew proceeds to the beginning of Jesus ministry when he was about 30 years of age according to Luke.


A. Although this may or may not answer all questions, I believe it creates a plausible and satisfactory explanation for the two differing accounts in Mathew and Luke, harmonizing beautifully with the gospel narratives.  It always seems remarkable to me that many like to find contradiction and error, when those in the early church and the apostles never saw a problem. I generally tend to ascribe this to either hubris or arrogance on the part of modern man who always think of themselves as superior to those that came before. I am of a mind that if there is a reasonable explanation for all facts, why find error and contradiction unless that is you’re a priori world view.   

OUTLINE & VIDEO // Lesson 9: Success in Prayer

Attitude Toward Prayer 

  • Luke 11:5-13; 18:1-8 (also Luke 1:53; Rev. 3:14-18)
    1. Our lack
    2. God’s supply
    3. Prayer = the bridge
  • Acts 6:4 – prayer is essential to early church

Confidence in Prayer

  • Daniel 9:18; Luke 18:9-14; Hebrews 4:15-16; 10:19-22 (also Luke 7:47)
    1. Don’t lean on your own “righteousness”
    2. Lean 100% on God’s mercy and forgiveness through the gospel
    3. Approach as a forgiven sinner (see also Matthew 6:12)

What to Pray

  • 1 John 5:14-15 – pray according to God’s will
    • Isaiah 55:8-11 – God’s will is known through God’s word
      • Daniel 9:1-3 – pray according to what is shown in Scripture
  • Matthew 6:7-13 – “The Lord’s Prayer”
    • 6:9 – worship God for who He is
    • 6:10 – pray God’s will to happen
      • God’s will is like a powerful train
      • Our prayers are like the tracks
    • 6:11 – pray for needs
      • Zechariah 10:1 – no promise of provision without prayer
    • 6:12 – pray for forgiveness
      • Forgive others immediately (Mark 11:22-25)
    • 6:13 – pray for righteousness // pray against Satan
  • See also Video: God’s Will & Our Prayers (24 min)

Recommend Action:

  • Train someone in the highlighted passages
  • Ask God how you can obey this
    • Do what He shows

OUTLINE // Lesson 8: The Authority & Power of the Bible

What is the Bible?

  • “Old Testament” = 39 books before Jesus:
    • 5 books of Moses (“The Law” = Genesis through Deuteronomy) + 
    • 13 books of history/teaching (“The Writings”) + 
    • 21 books of prophecy (“The Prophets”)
  • “New Testament” = 27 books during Jesus and later:
    • 5 records of Jesus and His first followers (“Gospels” + “Acts”) + 
    • 22 letters written to early churches (“Epistles”)
      • 1 Prophecy of Jesus’ Return (“Revelation”)

How Does God View the Bible?

  • Scripture = God’s Word
    • Mark 12:36; John 10:34-35 (also: Psalm 12:6); Hebrews 3:7 and 4:7 –
      • God/Holy Spirit = Speaker
      • Through Human authors (like David)
    • Matthew 5:17-18 – every letter/mark endures
      • Matt. 24:35 (and John 14:26) – includes Jesus’ words
        • John 16:12-14; Acts 1:1 – even after Jesus leaves
  • Matt 3:16-4:11Scripture = God’s Ultimate Authority
    • “It is written,” (4:4, 7, 10) – Scripture = Jesus’ ultimate authority
      • over Satan; over experience (compare 3:17)
    • 4:4 – Scripture = spiritual nourishment (“every word” is valuable)
    • 4:6-7 – We need to compare the Bible with the Bible for right understanding
      • 4:6 – Bible is misinterpreted when seeking self interest
  • Psalm 119:130; Isaiah 55:8-11 – Scripture = God’s Revelation
  • Matt 22:29-32 – Scripture = Always Relevant (see verse 31 – “said to you by God”)
  • Revelation 19:15 (with John 12:47-48; Eph. 6:17; Heb. 4:12) – Scripture = Our Judge
  • Application 
    • 1 Thes. 2:13 – receive and believe it
    • Acts 2:42 (also Acts 17:11) – devote ourselves to it
      • Ezra 7:10 – study // obey // teach
  • For more info see What Can We Learn from Jesus’ View of the Bible?

Recommended Action

  • Read passages above
  • Ask God how you can know/obey God’s word more. Suggestions:
    • read Bible with others; discuss and pray how to obey it; then OBEY it!
    • study books/teachings that teach the Bible and inspire you to read it for yourself
  • Train someone else with the yellow highlighted passages

OUTLINE & VIDEO // Lesson 7: Conditions for Growing Strong in Jesus


  • 1 Corinthians 3:6 – God alone brings growth // but we have parts to play
  • Acts 2:37-47
    • 2:37-41 – To begin with Christ:
      1. repent/believe (Jesus & The Gospel), 
      2. be baptized, 
      3. have the Holy Spirit
    • 2:42 – To continue growing in Christ, devote yourselves to:
      1. Bible study (“the apostles’ teaching”)
        • Obeying // sharing with others (see Ezra 7:10)
      2. Fellowship (including shared meals)
      3. Prayer (“prayers”)  
  • All 3 are probably recorded here as (mainly) corporate activities   
  • 2:43-47 – Resulting in:
    1. Awe
    2. Signs and wonders
    3. Unity
    4. Charity
    5. Gratitude
    6. Generosity
    7. Praise
    8. Admiration from outsiders
    9. Daily conversions

Recommended Action

  1. Read Scripture.
  2. Train someone else in it.
  3. Together, ask God how you’re doing in:
    • Bible Study
    • Fellowship
    • Prayer
  4. Then, ask God what steps you can take to improve this.
  • (Note: we will discuss these 3 elements further in the remaining lessons)