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Theology 101 (Lesson 4)
Who is Jesus? | Matthew 1:21
“She will give birth to a Son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
The name Jesus comes from a Greek word, "Iēsous," translated from a Hebrew word, "Yeshua," which means "the LORD saves."
While some expected the long-promised Messiah to liberate Israel from Roman rule, Jesus' purpose was to deliver his people from the oppression of their own sin—our own sin.
This helps us understand why the Angel told Joseph what to name Mary’s child.
“She will give birth to a Son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
We may be tempted to think that because he was born as a baby, Jesus is just an ordinary person. However, the Gospel of John teaches us that Jesus is the eternal Son of God, fully God and fully human at the same time.
In John 1:1-3, we read,
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through Him all things were made, and without Him nothing was made that has been made.
Although difficult to comprehend, Jesus' identity as both God and man is vitally important, as it allows him to act as a mediator between God and humanity as he fulfills the three important mediatorial roles of King, Prophet, and Priest.
As King, Jesus rules, guides, and protects his people.
As Prophet, Jesus speaks with divine authority.
As Priest, Jesus mediates between God and humanity, offering himself as the ultimate sacrifice for sin.
Part of Jesus being our priest is how we he is the Lamb of God.
In the Old Testament, animal sacrifices were made to satisfy God's justice as they looked forward to one who would fulfill all the sacrifices as the perfect mediator. That mediator is Jesus, who became the ultimate sacrificial lamb, taking our sins upon himself.
As the prophet Isaiah says in chapter 53,
4Surely he took on our infirmities and carried our sorrows; yet we considered Him stricken by God, struck down and afflicted.
5But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
6We all like sheep have gone astray, each one has turned to his own way; but the LORD has laid upon him the iniquity of us all.
1. What does the name Jesus mean and why is that significant?
2. Why do you think some people expected Jesus to liberate Israel from Roman rule? How is the deliverance he brings even better than freedom from an oppressive political regime?
4. How does Jesus fulfill the roles of King, Prophet, and Priest?
5. Why is Jesus being the Lamb of God important for our salvation?
6. According to Isaiah 53, what did Jesus do for us through his sacrificial death?
7. How does understanding Jesus' identity as both God and man impact our relationship with God?
As King, Prophet, and Priest, Jesus rules, guides, and protects us, speaks with divine authority, and mediates between us and you, offering himself as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. As the Lamb of God, he took on our infirmities and carried our sorrows, being pierced and crushed for our transgressions, so that we may have peace and be reconciled to you as our Father.
Thank you for such a gift.
Enable us by your Spirit to live in a way that honors Jesus as our Savior and King.
For we pray in his name. Amen.