Between the Old Testament’s end and the beginning of the New Testament are 400 years of silence, with no recorded words from the Lord. God was at work, orchestrating historical events to prepare the world for the moment that would change everything – the arrival of Jesus. We all know the story of His humble birth. Jewish shepherds AND Gentile wise men came to worship Him. According to Jewish custom, Jesus was presented at the temple shortly after His birth. Simeon was there, awaiting the answer to God’s promise that he would not die until he saw the Christ. He knew instantly what baby he was holding in his arms and proclaimed, “For my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel.” Jesus’ mission was announced. Mary and Joseph marveled at Simeon’s words over their son.
Bible: Read Luke 2:1-33 together with your family.
Teaching Time: 15 minutes
Materials: Bible, timer, towel/small mat, piece of string or yarn longer than your towel
Have your child locate the last page of the Old Testament in your Bible. Now find the first page of the New Testament. How many pages separate them? In real time, 400 long years went by between the end of Malachi and the beginning of Matthew, 400 years when we have no record of God’s speaking to His people. Set a timer for 40 seconds. Have everyone put their hand over their mouth and stay quiet until the timer goes off. What was God doing during all that time? Resting? Working on a new project? Have a child stretch out the string under the mat so that the ends stick out on either side. God’s plan to bless the nations began in the Old Testament. Point to one end of the string. God was working during the 400 years of silence, preparing events in history to bring about that blessing, even though most people weren’t aware of it. Run your hands along the path of the string that runs beneath the towel. As the New Testament begins, (point to the other end of the string) God begins to speak to His people again, including Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the wise men, and Simeon. The promised blessing has arrived. Who is it? Have a child turn to the first page of the New Testament and read Matthew 1:1. Shout, “Jesus” together.
- Look at Luke 2:11 and 2:30-32. To whom was Jesus sent? How would Jesus become a blessing to them?
- God’s promise to bless the nations continues today and He invites believers to join with Him. Write your family’s last name on a sticky note and attach it near the end of the string. Read 1 Peter 3:15. How can our family be a blessing to those who do not yet know Jesus?
Ask God for to give your family opportunities to share Jesus with those who do not yet know Him.