Small Group Notes:  The Upside-down Gospel

Summary:  Even though the story of the magi demonstrates that Christ's kingdom in
conflict with the ruler of this world, it also demonstrates that his rule is not just for the
wise and intelligent, but for all who would acknowledge his rule and accept it in their
lives.  Therefore, we need to take seriously his mandate to make disciples of all the

Open (choose one):
- What is your favorite movie or Christmas character?
- What is your favorite Christmas story?

Explore (Matt 2:1-12):

1.  In the first century, Magi were viewed negatively by most Jews as charlatans or fools,
especially Gentile Magi.  People such as Pharaoh's sorcerers, Elymas and Simon the
Magician were all Magi.  What does Matthew's inclusion of the Magi story say to you
about the nature of Jesus' kingdom?

2.  In a Gospel written to a Jewish audience, what effect might Matthew's Magi account
have had on a Jewish reader?

3.  How does this story fit in with what Jesus says in Matthew 11:25?

4.  How does this story fit in with the way the Great Commission at Matthew 28:18-20 is
worded?  What is the significance of the word "nations?"


5.  When you meet a fortune teller, pagan, or someone like that, how do you normally see
them?  As a quack or something like that, or as a sheep without a shepherd?  How would
Jesus see them?

6.  What are some things that keep you from seeing lost people as God might see them?

7.  Who are some people you might try to reach with the Gospel that you haven't before?

8.  What is God calling you to do?