Christian Home Builder - Lesson 1

At Home With The Master

Background Information for the Teacher


  1. The student will explain the Biblical basis for family relations, as demonstrated by the family life of Jesus Christ.
  2. The student will describe four events in the lives of Joseph and Mary that demonstrate Christian family.
  3. The student will discuss the two major themes of family life, as demonstrated by the family life of Christ.


  1. The teacher will want to read and study Luke 1 & 2, with special attention to the family dynamics surrounding the event of Jesus' birth.
  2. The teacher will want to study John 2:1-12, Luke 14:26 and Matthew 12:13-21.


The family life of Jesus and His subsequent teachings in His ministry, demonstrate that building a Christian family is in itself a worthwhile ministry. Some are called home to make disciples, while others are sent forth to make disciples.

Lesson Plan for Conducting the Class


  1. Prayer and announcements.
  2. Introduction and thought questions:
    1. If you were talking to Jesus and He was describing His family life experiences with Joseph and Mary, what would He say to you? How would Jesus describe His family life? What would be some of His memories? (Working in his father's carpenter shop, going to the synagogue, his siblings.)
    2. If Jesus were describing to you His teachings on marriage and family, what would be some of the major points that He would make to you? What were some of the things He was trying to say in the Gospels about the importance of Christian home building? What passages would He try and explain? (Perhaps Mark 3, where he teaches that the church is home to all people.)
    3. What would Joseph and Mary say about the events in Luke 1 & 2?

Learning Experiences:

Below is a review of the family life of Jesus. The teacher may want to cover all of this or pick selected sections to review with his class.

  1. Lessons from the call of Mary and Joseph to be Jesus' parents.
    1. Jesus' life as a "Transformation of adoption.”
      1. Matthew 1 lists fifteen verses about fathers. The reader is led to expect the climax will be "and Joseph the father of Jesus.”
      2. The genealogy explains how Jesus had no biological, human father.
      3. Joseph adopted Jesus.
      4. Just as the direct hand of God created Adam, so Jesus was formed directly by God, then grafted into the old line of descent.
      5. The conception and birth of Jesus fulfilled the ancient promise to the ancestors and at the same time breaks with our usual definition of the "ideal family.”
      6. The adoption of Jesus by Joseph points to the good news that Jesus will later illuminate in His teachings (see Matthew 12:46-50). From this point forward, no one must be without family because wombs are barren, marriages are broken, or loved ones die.
    2. The family as vocation and life's work.
      1. God called Joseph and Mary.
      2. There is less free choice involved with their calling than with the disciples who were mending their nets and called to be apostles.
      3. Joseph and Mary could not say, "Well, thanks for the opportunity but I am not interested!”
      4. Initially, they were called to simply be a family.
      5. Diana Garland points out, "The disciples were called to follow Jesus, Mary and Joseph were called to feed Him. The disciples were called to learn from Jesus and Mary and Joseph were called to teach Him to speak. The disciples were called to stand beside Him, and Mary and Joseph helped Him stand. The disciples were called to suffer with Jesus the pain of His death so He might be given the gift of life. Mary and Joseph were called to suffer for Him the pain of birth so that He might give the gift of love. God could have done it any way. He could have chosen to bring Jesus to Earth full-grown, walking across Lake Galilee. Instead, Jesus was born as a helpless infant, to young parents divinely called to nurture Him toward His calling.”
  2. Lessons from four events in the early life of Joseph and Mary.
    1. The leaping babe: "Mary is strengthened by her extended family.”
      1. "Mary went with haste to the home of Zachariah and Elizabeth, her cousin.”
      2. Elizabeth states, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” Luke 1:42.
      3. Mary has seen an angel; she is pregnant and not married.
      4. Her hasty trip seems to signify an attempt to run and hide, to collect herself for what may be coming.
      5. Running outside the confines of Mary's parental family to the extended family is divinely approved.
      6. As Mary faces the daunting task before her, she is nurtured and blessed by her extended family.
      7. Have you ever been counseled or helped during a major decision or crises by a member of your extended family?
    2. Visits by the angels and shepherds: "No one from the family helped them.”
      1. Joseph and Mary's lives were interrupted again, this time by government mandate to travel to Bethlehem.
      2. There would be no home birth.
      3. Bethlehem may have been home to some of Joseph's relatives but we don't hear of any of them to support this young couple.
      4. This was his family not hers (Luke 2:1-7).
      5. With no one in Bethlehem celebrating this very significant birth in the family, God intervened, sending angels to shepherds in the fields (Luke 2:8-20).
      6. The rough shepherds serve as a chorus, very different from the usual grandparents that would visit.
      7. Mary treasures these things in her heart.
      8. The shepherds take the place of a normal family.
      9. Can you think of an example where the church family has replaced a biological one?
    3. Spirit-filled prophets: "What you are doing is so very important!”
      1. Jesus' parents took him to the temple in Jerusalem for the rites of purification when he was forty days old.
      2. Did people talk and whisper behind their backs knowing all the events of the past few days or did they come and leave in relative obscurity as two very young poor people?
      3. The words of Simeon and Anna carried not comfort but a challenge.
      4. Parenting is difficult.
      5. A warning that Jesus' life would be controversial.
      6. "You are doing important work in raising this child.” These are words every parent needs to hear.
      7. Were you ever encouraged or discouraged by someone in your parenting of your children?
    4. The astonishing wisdom in a child: "God's house is My house.”
      1. Jesus is 12 years old when He goes to Jerusalem for the holidays.
      2. He is left alone and a whole day is past.
      3. We would charge the parents today with neglect if this occurred!
      4. Jesus redefines His relationship with His parents by, "God's house is My house.”
  3. Lessons from Jesus on family life:
    1. Conflict in family life: The wedding feast in Cana.
      1. Jesus did not include much instruction on family life in His teachings.
      2. The wedding feast in Cana shows Mary pushing Him to intervene (John 2:1-12).
      3. Mary does not take no for an answer.
      4. The conflict was open between them.
      5. The relationship endures between them, although there was conflict.
      6. This illustration shows us that any long-term relationship, even one with the Lord Himself, involves some form of conflict. The key was to work through it.
    2. The meaning and place of the family: Hate does not mean despise.
      1. See Luke 14:26.
      2. Jesus' statement that to be His disciples you must hate your family makes use of a Semitic idiom.
      3. That is, "I prefer this to that,” or "to love less.”
      4. Jacob loved Rachel and hated Leah (Genesis 29:30-31), means he preferred Rachel to Leah.
      5. Jesus' is clear that obedience to God is virtually the only justification for family disloyalty.
    3. The faithful will not be deprived of family: Widening the family circle.
      1. Matthew 12:46-50.
      2. Jesus' mother and brothers were coming to take charge of Him because they feared He was possessed by a demon or was losing His mind.
      3. We fill sympathy for Mary at this point and time.
      4. Jesus is not denying His relationship; He is widening the circle of fellowship to include those that are without family.
      5. Jesus has come not to do away with these relationships but to fulfill God's promises to "set the lonely in families” (Psalms 68:5-6).


  1. Theme One: God's families are not always happy families.
    1. We know that these are not entirely happy stories
    2. Joseph and Mary are struggling and pondering.
    3. They don't always understand what is happening to them.
    4. Divine visitations do not always answer their questions.
    5. Family life of those who follow Jesus is not any easier than those who do not follow Him at times.
    6. This did not turn out the way they had planned.
    7. They had no time to develop a relationship with one another as a young couple.
    8. We should expect some "bumps” along the way in our families.
  2. Theme Two: The stories reveal that Joseph and Mary were certainly committed and willing to follow where parenting this child would lead them. Although they had no idea where that would be. We must develop this same type of commitment to God and to those in our families.


  1. In your journal for this week, make a list of those people who have ministered to you in your life through your family relationships. How have they impacted you for the good? How have they invested time in you?
  2. Look at your own family. How are you able to impact those that, "God has set you in family with?” Who are you around that you could minister to?
  3. In your journal, look at the kinds of families that are represented in your extended family. Are there single-parent families? Are there widows or widowers? Are there young singles? How can your family best minister to these people who are in non-traditional family forms, yet make up a large percentage of the kinds of families we have today?

Further Resources:

  1. Diana L. Garland, Family Ministry, Chapter 3.

  2. Fred Craddock, Gospel of Luke.

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