The Gospel Sync | #13 | Matthew 1:25b, Luke 2:21-38

Illuminating Jesus’ Identity and Purpose

Welcome Back! So far, we’ve been working on putting the gospels in sequence to harmonize them. Today, we’ll be combining the gospels of Matthew and Luke to gain a deeper understanding of the birth of Christ. Interestingly, Matthew, Mark, and John don’t offer much background information on this topic, but Luke steps in to fill the gaps with a more detailed account. Let’s take a moment to appreciate the insights provided by Luke and enrich our understanding of the Gospel. So let’s dive in.

(Click here to get a copy of the Gospel Sync document) 

Matthew 1:25b, Luke 2:21-38

And when eight days had passed, before His circumcision, He was named Jesus, the name the angel had given Him before He had been conceived.

And when the time of purification according to the Law of Moses was complete, His parents brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord: “Every firstborn male shall be consecrated to the Lord”), and to offer the sacrifice specified in the Law of the Lord: “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

Now there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. The Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Led by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. And when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for Him what was customary under the Law, Simeon took Him in his arms and blessed God, saying: “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, 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 for glory to Your people Israel.”

The Child’s father and mother were amazed at what was spoken about Him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to His mother Mary: “Behold, this Child is appointed for the rise and fall of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed—and a sword will even pierce your soul as well.”

There was also a prophetess named Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher, who was well along in years. She had been married for seven years, and then was a widow until the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, but served night and day with fasting and prayer. Coming forward at that moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the Child to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.

Today, our discussion revolves around comprehending the character and nature of God, which is closely linked to our own identities and life purposes since we are created in His image. By exploring who God is and what He represents, we can gain a blueprint to follow.

In Luke 1:31, the angel informed Mary about the conception and birth of the Son of God, instructing her to name Him Jesus, as Joseph did in Matthew 1:25b. The name “Jesus” is from the Latin form of the Greek name “Iesous,” which in turn is derived from the Hebrew name “Yeshua,” meaning “God is salvation,” revealing the identity and purpose of Jesus as the embodiment of God’s salvation.

Further details about Jesus’ identity and purpose are revealed through Simeon’s encounter with Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus in the temple courts. Simeon declared Jesus to be the light for the Gentiles, the glory of Israel, and the One who would bring revelation to the thoughts of the heart. He also reveals that Jesus will be a “sign to be spoken against” and “even pierce the heart of His own mother” with the truth.

Anna also acknowledged Jesus as the Redeemer who would provide salvation to Jerusalem.

The reaction of Jesus’ parents to Simeon and Anna’s declaration highlights the wonder and amazement that comes with comprehending the identity and actions of God. As we aspire to emulate Jesus, we should reflect His identity and purpose by shining as a light in the world, bringing glory to God, and speaking the truth, even if it may offend those closest to us.

As disciple-makers, our role is similar to that of Simeon and Anna. We have the responsibility of illuminating the character and actions of Jesus to those we are discipling, enabling them to see Him more clearly and follow His example. Encouraging them to read a portion of the gospels every day is the best way to achieve this objective and go straight to the source.

My Story

I’ve shared this story before, but let me tell you how I really got serious about making Jesus the center of my discipleship. My mentor had already called me out on my fixation with peripheral theological issues, but I still had a ways to go. I realized I was pursuing “good things” but missing out on the “best” – Jesus Himself. So, I made a commitment to read nothing but the gospels for a whole year. I know, I know, the entire Bible is important, but I needed to reconnect with Jesus, the Master Himself! Let me tell you, the results were immediate and permanent. Now, every time I meet up with the people I’m discipling, they’re getting a big ol’ helping of Jesus and what He’s all about.

Our Action Plan

How will you illuminate Jesus’ identity and purpose for those you are discipling?

  • Maybe going back to the gospels yourself like I did in order to get a good dose of Jesus and reestablishing the foundation.
  • Do a Bible study with those you are mentoring and specifically look for the identity and purpose of Jesus in one of the gospels.
  • Or just make sure you talk about Jesus every time you get together.

It’s crucial to explain who Jesus is and what He modeled. When we understand Jesus’ identity and purpose, we can better follow His teachings, example, and help others do the same.

Author: Chuck & Deb

Chuck & Deb love Jesus!

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