2 The Gospel Portraits of Christ’s Origins Jesus’ birth, Life, Death, and Resurrection fulfilled the prophecies and promises of the Old Testament and achieved our salvation.Taken together, the four Gospels paint the most complete picture of the saving deeds of Jesus, beginning with his birth and culminating in his Passion, Death, and Resurrection.After reading the first point, teachers could ask students to recall prophecies and promises of salvation from the Old Testament.
3 Numerous similarities in their accounts: Both drawing upon Mark and the “Q” source, Matthew and Luke begin their Gospels with infancy narratives.Numerous similarities in their accounts:use of infancy narratives to highlight Jesus’ identityangel foretold Jesus’ birthJesus conceived by the action of the Holy Spirit. Thus, he is the Son of God.Jesus born of the Virgin Mary, as was prophesizedhis foster father, Joseph, a descendent of David, making Jesus a true Son of DavidJesus born in Bethlehem, as prophesized in Micah 5:1
4 The Gospel of MatthewDifferences in Matthew and Luke’s infancy narratives reflect their respective audiences.Matthew, writing for a Jewish audience, chiefly concerned to show how Jesus fulfilled God’s promises to the Jews.After reading the first point, teachers might pause to discuss with the class how one’s audience affects what one writes. Would you use the same kind of language and examples to explain something to your friends as you would to your principal.
5 The opening genealogy of Matthew’s Gospel (Mt 1:1-17) links Jesus’ ancestry to Abraham, the Father of the Jews, and to King David.Matthew shows how Jesus’ birth (Mt 1:18-25) fulfills Old Testament prophecies, God’s promise to King David, and links Jesus’ foster father Joseph to the Joseph of the Old Testament.
6 The visit of the Magi (Mt 2:1-12) represents the Lord’s willingness to accept Gentiles among those who worship him.Jesus’ flight into Egypt and the Massacre of the Infants (Mt 2:13-18) recalls Moses’ escape from Pharaoh, portraying Jesus as the new Lawgiver.Jesus’ return to Nazareth (Mt 2:19-23) recalls the exodus and presents Jesus as the definitive liberator of God’s people.Teachers may ask students to make the connection on their own between the events described in Matthew and the events from the Old Testament to which he alludes before showing each bullet point.
7 The Gospel of Luke Written for Gentile Christians Key themes: Jesus’ preaching to the lowly and outcastJesus’ journey toward Jerusalem, where our salvation was to be achieved
8 Luke’s infancy narrative: Announcement of John the Baptist’s Birth (Lk 1:5-25)—John portrayed as a New Elijah, announcing the coming of the promised MessiahAnnouncement of the Birth of Jesus (Lk 1:26-38)—referred to as the Annunciation, the angel Gabriel told Mary she would conceive the Son of the Most High by the Holy Spirit, which she humbly acceptedIt will be helpful for teachers to explain the implications for Mary as an unwed woman of being found with child. Under Mosaic law, the punishment for adultery (of which Mary would seem to everyone to be guilty) was death by stoning. For this reason, her acceptance of the angel’s message constitutes a significant act of faith in God.
9 Mary Visits Elizabeth (Lk 1:39-56)—Elizabeth acknowledges Mary as the mother of God Mary responds with the canticle known as the MagnificatBirth of John the Baptist (Lk 1:57-80)—John’s father Zechariah offers a prayer known as the “Benedictus”praises God for remembering the promises he made to Davidrecognizes the prophetic role of his sonBirth of Jesus (Lk 2:1-20)—Jesus is born in the birthplace of David yet in humble circumstance and surrounded by humble people like shepherdsconveys Luke’s theme of Jesus’ mission to the lowly and outcastTeachers may note that the numerous canticles in the infancy narratives are intended to recall similar prayers from the Old Testament.
10 Jesus’ Circumcision and Presentation in the Temple (Lk 2:21-38)—at this event the prophets Simeon and Anna recognized Jesus’ as the expected MessiahFinding of Jesus in the Temple (Lk 2:39-52)— teaching of the 12-year old astounded the teachersprefigured when Jesus would return to the Temple as an adult and confound the learned scribes and rabbisCircumcision was a symbolic act representing incorporation into the Jewish people, in accordance with the covenant God made with Abraham.
11 The Gospel of JohnJohn begins his Gospel from before the creation of the world.The Prologue teaches that the Word of God became flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. This is what we mean by the Incarnation.Teachers should explain the meaning of the word “dogma” (cf. p.65).This divinely revealed truth (dogma) reveals that Christ is both true God and true man.
12 Discussion: Why did God need to become human in order to save humanity? See next slide for Catechism answer.
13 The Purpose of the Incarnation The Catechism explains the purpose of the Incarnation:To save us by reconciling us with GodSo we might know God’s loveTo provide a model of holiness for usTo make us “partakers of the divine nature”
14 Learning From the Life of Christ Every aspect of Christ’s life is a Revelation of the Father and therefore worthy of our study.
15 Revelation in the life of Christ in his Incarnation he becomes poor and enriches us with his povertyin his hidden life we learn how his obedience to his parents atones for our disobediencein his preaching he tells us of the ways of God and purifies our consciencesin curing the sick and driving out demons he fulfills Isaiah’s prophecy of the Messiahthrough his Cross and Resurrection he justifies us
16 Discussion: What aspects of Jesus’ life and teaching are especially important for you? Why? Student responses will vary.
17 Every aspect of Christ’s life furthers the divine mission of restoring humanity to its original vocation—intimacy with God as his children.
18 Examples from the beginning of Jesus’ ministry: The Baptism of Jesus Jesus’ submission to baptism by John symbolizes his identifying himself with us in our spiritual need and his acceptance of his role as Suffering Servantreveals the following important theological truths:shows Jesus’ perfect submission to the Father’s willforeshadows Jesus’ death for the remission of our sinsserves as a model to our own baptism
19 #1: Satan tempts Jesus to turn stones into bread The Temptations of Jesus#1: Satan tempts Jesus to turn stones into breadJesus refuses to turn from God’s will and trusts that God will provide for him#2: to throw himself down from the TempleJesus refuses to test God or doubt his love#3: to worship Satan in exchange for all the kingdoms of the worldJesus refuses to worship anyone but GodJesus’ resistance of these temptations warn us of the temptations we will face as Christians and strengthens us to remain faithful to God’s will.It also reveals him as the New Adam, remaining obedient where Adam failed, and foreshadows his ultimate victory over Satan in the Paschal Mystery.As a brief follow-up activity, students may create a list of three modern day temptations that parallel those in the New Testament account.
20 The Beginning of Jesus’ Ministry The mysteries of the early part of Christ’s ministry—including his baptism and temptations in the desert—help to reveal more about the mystery of our Salvation
21 The Beginning of Jesus’ Ministry The central theme of Jesus’ preaching from the beginning is that the Kingdom of God is at hand.Jesus taught with authority unlike anyone else, even claiming to be the fulfillment of the prophecies.At the beginning of his ministry Jesus gathers disciples to himself, some of whom had been followers of John the Baptist.Jesus’ first miracle at the wedding in Cana reveals his compassion for common people, foreshadowing of three sacraments, and Jesus’ power over nature.
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