[This Small Group lesson is more of a study and has less discussion. It can be done as a small group of individually over the Christmas and New Years holiday.]
The Gospel according to Matthew highlights how Jesus fulfills the many prophecies foretold hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth, which were recorded in the Old Testament. The fulfillment of these prophecies gives testimony that Jesus is the Messiah (Christ), the Son of God.
For this lesson, we will read the Old Testament prophecies in their original context. Please look at the Biblical passages in your Bible.
1. The Star
Fulfillment: Read Matthew 2:1-2
Prophecy: Read Numbers 24:15-17
This prophecy was made 1600 years before Jesus’ birth. The movement of the star suggests that it is not a natural phenomenon, such as a comet, supernova, or conjunction of planets, but was instead a supernatural phenomenon guided by God.
2. Birth Place
Fulfillment: Read Matthew 2:4-6
Prophecy: Read Micah 5:2-4
This prophecy was made 700 years before Jesus was born. The Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, yet Jesus’ parents lived in Nazareth, 111 kilometers from Bethlehem. God sovereignly guided the events of history so that Joseph and Mary would be traveling in Bethlehem at the time of Jesus’ birth.
What else in Micah 5:2-4 sounds like Jesus?
Fulfillment: Read Matthew 2:13-15
Prophecy: Read Hosea 11:1-11
This prophecy was given 650-700 years before Jesus. Hosea 11 talks about Israel as God’s son whom though God called Israel out of Egypt (Exodus) Israel disobey God. Jesus is the perfect Israel and the perfect Son of God. The compassion (Hosea 11:8-11) that God promises to have on rebellious Israel (and all humanity) is ultimately delivered through Jesus.
4. Lost Children
Fulfillment: Read Matthew 2:16-18
Prophecy: Read Jeremiah 31:15-20
A prophecy made 550 years before Jesus’ birth. Like the Exile of Jeremiah’s day, the attempt on Jesus’ life by Herod was intended to destroy God’s chosen one.
How do you think the promise of “hope” and “your children shall come back to their own country” is fulfilled through Jesus?
Fulfillment: Read Matthew 2:19-23
Prophecy: Read Isaiah 49:7 & 53:3
In many places throughout the Old Testament prophecies, the Messiah is foretold to be someone who is despised and lowly. The village of Nazareth was despised in the time of Jesus (for example John 1:46).
Beyond the five prophecies fulfilled in Matthew 2, there are over 100 more prophecies that Jesus fulfilled throughout his life, in his death, and through his resurrection. It is estimated that the odds of Jesus fulfilling only eight prophecies are 1 to 100,000,000,000,000,000. The fact that Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies of the Old Testament prove that he is the Christ, the Son of God, our Savior.