Refresh: Open with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Luke 2:22-38 in the New International Version (NIV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: Timothy Keller, in his book Preaching, Communicating Faith in an Age of Skepticism, revises a statement from John Calvin showing how Jesus is evident all through the Bible. I can’t help but sense that Simeon and Anna, who only had the Torah, were experiencing the same joy as they looked for the Messiah in every passage. Perhaps they too saw what we will see and read today and tomorrow:
Jesus is the true and better Adam, who passed the test in the garden and whose obedience is imputed to us (1 Corinthians 15).
Jesus is the true and better Abel, who, though innocently slain, has blood that cries out for our acquittal, not our condemnation (Hebrews 12:24).
Jesus is the true and better Abraham, who answered the call of God to leave the comfortable and familiar and go out into the void “not knowing whither he went” to create a new people of God.
Jesus is the true and better Isaac, who was not just offered up by his father on the mount but was truly sacrificed for us all. God said to Abraham, “Now I know you love me, because you did not withhold your son, your only son whom you love, from me.” Now we can say to God, “Now we know that you love us, because you did not withhold your son, your only son whom you love, from us.”
Jesus is the true and better Jacob, who wrestled with God and took the blow of justice we deserved so that we, like Jacob, receive only the wounds of grace to wake us up and discipline us.
Jesus is the true and better Joseph, who at the right hand of the King forgives those who betrayed and sold him and uses his new power to save them.
Recalibrate: Who is this child?
Respond: Pray for a clearer picture of Jesus today?
Research: Read any of the stories referenced above.
Live Wonder (ages 0–3)
Nothing can compare to the love you have for your child. Simeon told Mary that a sword would pierce through her own heart. Have you ever experienced pain for your child? Take this opportunity to share with your child about your love for them and how when they hurt you hurt. Tell them God feels the same way for us.
Live Adventure (ages 4–11)
Moms and dads are pretty great. They love to have fun, laugh with you, share jokes, and adventures! They are also there when you get hurt or feel sad. Can you remember a time when you got hurt and your mom or dad made you feel better?
Live Purpose (ages 12–16)
When was the last time you confided in your parents when you felt hurt or upset? Challenge yourself today to go to one or both of your parents next time something bad happens.