Matthew 2:13-23 – What does the trip to Egypt teach us? (12/24/23)

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Small Group Guide:

Open with prayer.

Go around and give everyone a chance to share about how the past week has been. What’s one highlight? What’s one lowlight?

If your small group has talked about it before, feel free to use this time to hold people accountable to what they’ve asked to be held accountable for previously, and go through the “missional” part of this discussion guide.

  1. The Flight to Egypt

    13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

    Herod Kills the Children

    16 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

    18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,
        weeping and loud lamentation,
    Rachel weeping for her children;
        she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”

    The Return to Nazareth

    19 But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.” 21 And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. 23 And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene.

    Have you ever stopped to think about Joseph’s, Mary’s, and Jesus’ trip to Egypt to flee Herod’s decree? Today, we are talking about their trip, and seeing what it has to teach us about bleak times in our own lives.
    Message Outline:
    During bleak times:
    Remember, what’s happening doesn’t surprise God.
    (Matt. 2:13-15, 1 John 3:20, Prov. 15:3, Is. 40:28, Rom. 11:33-36)
    Listen, trust, and obey God.
    (Matt. 2:14-15, 21, 6:25, Prov. 2:1-5, Ps. 37:4-6, John 14:15, Luke 11:28)
    Be willing to say no to your preferences.
    (Matt. 2:22-23, Rom. 14:1-23, 1 Cor. 13:4-7, James 4:13-16)

Reflecting on God’s Word

Getting Started
– Have you ever heard about the wise men before?
– What did you learn about Joseph’s, Mary’s, and Jesus’ trip to Egypt through hearing about this passage of Scripture taught on? What do you think the family’s journey was like?
– What do you think it was like to live in a new culture?
Diving In
Read Matthew 2:13-18. Herod’s decree certainly would have saddened God, but it wouldn’t have surprised Him. God is all-knowing (omniscient). Read 1 John 3:20, Proverbs 15:3, Isaiah 40:28, and Romans 11:33-36. What do these verses teach us about God?
– Does the way you live your life reflect God’s omniscience?
– During times of trouble or bleakness in your life, how would remembering that God is omniscient change the way you think, behave, and interact with others?
– How would remembering that God omniscient give you more peace in your life?
-What practical step(s) could you take to better remember that God is omniscient?
While reading Matthew 2:14-15 and 21, think about the faith that Joseph had. Joseph’s faith led him to take his newly formed family into a foreign land, into a culture that would have been unfamiliar. What do you think Joseph did earlier on in his life, that he had that deep of faith that allowed him to be faithful to God on that level?
– When you think about your own faith, what comes to mind?
– Do you think you could do what Joseph did? Why or why not?
– How would it change your life to have a deeper faith that would allow you to say “yes” to God, even when saying “yes” is extremely scary?
– What practical step(s) can you take in order to grow your faith?
Read Matthew 2:22-23. It’s doubtful that Joseph’s preference would have been to go back to Nazareth to raise his family. People would have known about Mary becoming pregnant before they were married. People undoubtedly would have asked questions about where they had been. It would have put Joseph in uncomfortable situations. Yet, Joseph was faithful yet again to do what the Lord wanted him to do.
– Why do you think it’s so difficult to put away our own preferences and choose God’s ways over our own?
– Have you ever chosen your own preferences over what you thought God wanted you to do? What happened?
– How do you think it would change your life if you could always choose God’s ways over your own preferences?
– What practical step(s) can you take in order to better choose God’s ways over your own ways?
Applying the Scripture
What are your biggest takeaways from this passage of God’s Word?
– What practical step(s) do you need to implement in your life to apply what God has taught you in this passage of Scripture?
– How would applying this affect your life and your relationship with the Lord?

Prayer Time:

Pray for each other in your small group to be faithful take the step(s) that you shared above. Pray for each other and the interactions that they have with those who don’t know Jesus. Pray that God would soften the people’s hearts to what He has for them. Pray that God would give everyone opportunities to share the Gospel.

Staying Missional:

Share spiritual/missional conversations you’ve had where you live, work, and play:

Who did you have a conversation with that took a spiritual/missional turn this week?
What questions did you ask to discover where God is at work in their life, even if they are not aware?
How were you able to share your story of life change or how you have experienced Jesus?
How can you be intentional this week with people where you live, work, and play to have spiritual/missional conversations if the opportunity arises?
Who in your life do you think could be discipleable or open to spiritual/missional conversations?

What’s next?

Discuss the next step for your small group. When will we gather again and what purpose will it fulfill?