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.
Throughout this sermon series we are looking at characters that are typically overlooked in the Christmas story, and what their stories can teach us. This week, we’re looking at Herod’s story. When approached by the wise men, regarding where Jesus was, Herod acted out of his selfishness and pride. He makes several mistakes along the way, that separate him from God. By taking a look at this portion of God’s Word we can learn how to avoid Herod’s mistakes:
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him;
- 1. Realize, we are to worship God, not ourselves
and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
6 “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
- 2. Let God’s Word affect your life
Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” 9 After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
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.”
- 3. Realize, you cannot thwart God’s plan
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.
- 4. Realize, God often works very differently than we think He will
- Have you ever studied this part of God’s Word before? Did anything stand out? Did anything from Herod’s story surprise you?
- Herod was not open to God’s leading in this passage. He let his pride and selfishness get in the way of him coming to faith. Of the 4 takeaways that we learned about Herod story, which one(s) do you do well, and which one(s) do you need to work on?
- Looking at your answer from question #2, what practical steps do you need to improve?
- What is your biggest take away from this message? What did God teach you? Do you feel led to put anything into action? If so, what, and what practical step(s) do you need to take to be obedient to what God has led you to do? Who can keep you accountable to accomplishing this?
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.
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?
Discuss the next step for your small group. When will we gather again and what purpose will it fulfill?