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Tableau 3 for Advent Studies 3

Marion displayed her visual aid, that we have been using for our studies in Advent, at our Bible Study last night and we were intrigued by two new main items - a small knife and a wooden object. We wondered what they symbolised and listened carefully to hear what they represented.

The knife represents the turbulent times that were experienced at the time of the birth of Jesus. There was conflict, tension, unrest and agitation. Herod the king was a ruthless and violent ruler, who gave the order to kill children under the age of two, in a certain area, when he heard a baby had been born who would be the king.

The shape carved from wood is next to two figures, representing Mary and the angel Gabriel, and it symbolises Joseph. Joseph was the legal and earthly father of Jesus rather than the biological father, as Jesus was born through the Holy Spirit.

Marion led us in a study that compared and contrasted Herod the king and Joseph.

The Romans had appointed Herod as king of the Jews but he was only half Jewish. He was not affirmed by the people, which led him to be suspicious of everyone and he even killed members of his own family to protect his position. He felt threatened at the message of the baby born to be the king and he wasn't going to stand for it! He was sneaky and manipulative, finding out from the magi where this baby was and gave the order to the murder of children! Herod did not want to worship the new king but Joseph, on the other hand, obeyed God and accepted the baby. Words we used at the Bible Study to describe Joseph were: honourable, righteous, obedient, kind, a man of integrity and faith. Characteristics that would be good ones for everyone to have. Just as Mary, Jesus' mother, found favour in God's sight, so Joseph was considered fit to be the earthly father of Jesus.

Herod and Joseph were poles apart; Herod is in the dark while Joseph is in the light; Herod behaved badly and had a heart of stone, killing his own wife, whereas Joseph loved and married Mary and showed a spirit of adoption to a child that was not his own; Herod was suspicious, whose loyalty was only to himself but Joseph did not put his own feelings first and was loyal to Mary, Jesus and God.

So much more was raised during the hour's Bible Study, including the outspoken John the Baptist and the powerful way he prepared the way for Jesus in Matthew's Gospel; the significance of the genealogies and how they authentic Jesus, including the way Jesus fulfills the prophecies of the Old Testament; comparing Joseph with Zechariah; sharing how God works today by planting a seed in a person's mind and helping it grow as the person talks to others who have a similar idea; and a biography of Matthew, the author of the the Gospel we were reading from.

The hour flew by before Marion led us in an Advent Hymn "O Come O Come Emmanuel" followed by two stimulating and heart felt prayers, written by Christina Rossetti (1830-1894) and Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667).

As I hope you can see, we had a wonderful time. We all contributed but extra special thanks goes to Marion for preparing and leading Advent Study 3.

Everyone is welcome to the Bible Study - for details please see "Church Life" & "Bible Study" at or email

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