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NOTE: For ease of reading, this Bible Study Workbook
sample chapter for Kindle has deleted the spaces where your answers would have been
If you are using
this study with the novel Come to Me,
read the first two chapters.
If you grew up
in a Christian home, you probably said grace at your meals, attended church
every Sunday, and had regular prayer and Bible study times. If you were like
me, however, you only said grace when grandparents came to visit. Growing up,
prayer times consisted of “Now I lay me down to sleep...” We learned The Lord’s
Prayer in school. All of these things are good, but reciting prayers by rote
and getting perfect attendance in Sunday school does not a Christian make.
Faith in God and exercising that faith are essential to your Christian walk.
So, how do we learn faith? Is it acquired through osmosis just by being part of
a Christian family? Is it something that grows over time? How can we grow in
faith? More importantly, how do we instill our faith in God in our children and
other family members?
In the selected
chapters for today, we get a brief glimpse of what married life was like for
Mary. We consider her concerns as she thinks about her marriage to Joseph. We
see a willing worker and faithful servant of God.
It is eleven
years after Jesus’ death and resurrection. Come to Me opens with Mary lost in
thought as she waits for the apostle Luke to arrive. As you read these
chapters, remember Mary lived in a small community of about 400 people. She
probably knew everyone in her village. In fact, most extended families lived
close to one another. As she reflects on her life, keep this in mind.
you were growing up, who taught you about God? How important was God in your
“4 Hear, O
Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all
your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5).
This is called
the Shema. It is a term given to a set of daily prayers recited by members of
the Jewish faith. The Shema is recited twice a day, during morning and evening
prayers and is the last thing on the lips of the dying. It is considered a commandment,
or mitzvah, separate from the commandment simply to pray. Joseph had carved
this prayer into Mary’s bench. What do these verses mean to you?
Take a moment to
examine yourself. Do you remember what it felt like when you first fell in
love? I do. My relationship with my husband was a long distance one, and we ran
up some very expensive phone bills talking to each other every day. I couldn’t
stand being away from him. He was always on my mind. My heart soared when the
phone rang, and when I saw him in person, I was over the moon. I loved my
husband with all my heart, soul, and mind. My question to you is this: Do you
love God that way?
As the stepson
of a devout Jew, Jesus would have been under Joseph’s instruction and that of
the local leaders of his synagogue. The Shema would have been one of the first
prayers Joseph taught Jesus. As we read further in the verse, we can see why
Jesus knew the Scriptures so well. Moses had just given the Israelites the Ten
“4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord
is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and
with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be
upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit
at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get
up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9
Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates” (Deuteronomy
In addition to
loving the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind, what does verse six
What does verse
seven command parents to do?
commands, “Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.”
Today you will see Orthodox Jews doing just that. Some wear little boxes on
their heads called tefillin. They also wear leather straps on their arms in
obedience to this command, all to remind them to love the Lord and obey Him.
This is the background Jesus came from. His life was steeped in tradition and
the Torah (Old Testament). His parents, who were chosen by God, would have
taught him well.
Look at verse
seven again. How was Jesus’ life an example of the Shema?
As Mary waited
for Luke, she recalled her conversation with her nephew John. You might be
surprised to discover that James and John, the “Sons of Thunder” as Jesus
called them, were actually His cousins. The next few scriptures will help you
discover this for yourself.
“21 Going on from there, he saw two other
brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with
their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and
immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him” (Matthew
“These are the
names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his
brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John.” (Matthew 10:2).
What were the
names of Zebedee’s sons?
“55 Many women
were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to
care for his needs. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James
and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons” (Matthew 27:55-56).
Who was present
at the cross?
“40 Some women were watching from a distance.
Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of
Joses, and Salome” (Mark 15:40).
Look at the
previous verse again and then read the one above. What was the name of
Who were Jesus’
earlier, Nazareth was a very small village and extended family members tended
to live close to each other. While this wasn’t always the case – Mary’s cousin
Elizabeth lived more than 100 kilometers away from her – it was the norm.
Already we see the close family ties Jesus grew up with and how the strong ties
of faith in God kept them together.
“1 And God spoke
all these words: 2 ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out
of the land of slavery. 3 You shall have no other gods before me. 4 You shall
not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the
earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or
worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the
children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those
who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me
and keep my commandments’” (Exodus 20:1-6).
In the novel,
Luke is worried that his respect for Mary would turn into adoration or worship.
The early converts in Antioch, particularly the women, had this problem, as the
book suggests. But what does God say about idol worship?
What do we learn
about God from the verses above?
Put yourself in
Mary’s shoes. She is a servant of God and a Jewess, brought up to honour God
and place Him first. How do you think she would react to people worshipping
veneration of Mary scriptural or in any way appropriate for Christians?
us Mary was a young girl of no more than fourteen or fifteen. Some scholars
suggest she may have been as young as twelve. Her betrothal to Joseph was not
how we view engagements today. It was a binding contract. Most betrothals
lasted for a year or more. During this time, Mary was considered by all to be
Joseph’s wife, even though she still lived at home with her parents and they
had not yet consummated their marriage.
Mary is like any
young teenager thinking about her wedding day. Contrast this with the
promiscuous lifestyle of today’s teens. What is the missing element in teenage
lives today that has led to such immoral behaviour?
What or who are
the major influencers of this behaviour?
Having a better
idea now of how Jesus was raised, we know how important a role parents have in
instructing their children spiritually. Teaching them to believe in God and to
obey Him is one thing. Being an example of faith to them is another. What can
you do this week to show your children, family, or friends that you love the
Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind?
faith and family go hand in hand. Help us give you first place in our lives.
Help us be an example to our children and a witness to our neighbours as we
live out our faith. Keep us from putting anything else above you. May you find
us faithful when you come again. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
About the Author:
Davis is the author of the award-winning novel Come to Me. She is an avid
student of the bible. You can contact her at