• on December 26, 2016

Advent: Immanuel

by Daniel Burton
by Daniel Burton

We have been looking through the various weeks of advent and at the end of the season of advent, we arrive at Christmas.  While this does somewhat signify the end of the advent season, somehow calling it “the end” does not seem fair or fitting.  The coming of Christ was by no means “the end” and his second coming will certainly not be the end either.  It is the beginning.  It is the beginning of new life.  It is the beginning of healing.  It is the beginning of redemption and our homecoming to our relationship with our Creator and Heavenly Father. Advent means Coming.  Christmas reminds us that God has come and He is Immanuel, God with us.

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

– Matthew 1:22-23, NIV

From its Hebrew root, Immanuel translates to “God is with us.”  This was as much of a name as it was an indicator of the nature of the coming child. He was the Savior who was prophesied about by the prophet Isaiah.  This would be the man who would change the system and turn it on its head.  He would be coming to save and redeem his people from their sins and return the world to perfection.  Jesus Christ became man, becoming one of us, and defeating death.

Becoming Man

The fact that Christ would become man is one of the most sacrificial acts of love.  Perfection came in the form of imperfect mankind for the redemption of those whom He loves. Jesus would have been fully in His right to come down and conquer any power that stood in His way.  He would have been fully within His right to invade, take over, and remove any obstacle to returning the state of the world to perfection.  Yet this was not the path he took.  Instead, he took of path of identifying with us in our sin (although he himself never sinned) in order that we could be saved and not destroyed.

ImmanuelFurthermore, we have a God who fully understands our temptations and struggles.  Even though Jesus, being fully God, knows all things, he endured the same temptations that we face.  Yet he overcame.  Jesus became man not only so that we would not have to die but that we would have a way out of our sins.  Our sins are not only conquered, they are defeated fully and even the inclination can be overcome by the power of Jesus Christ.  We are not alone.  He has gone before us, providing a way where we saw no way.

His Coming and The End of Death

With the coming of the infant Jesus, this marked the first and final step against death and condemnation that comes from the enemy.  There would be nothing that could conquer God and in His becoming man, he would identify with his people.  Furthermore, there would be nothing that the enemy could do to stop, deter, or delay the coming victory.  The coming of Jesus Christ marked the end of the old system and the beginning of the system established in grace for the people of God.

ImmanuelThrough the identification of Jesus Christ with mankind, mankind is able to identify with Jesus Christ.  We are able to become one with Jesus Christ through the surrendering of our lives and the wedding of the church as the bride of Christ.  In Him, there is no death.  When we are in Him, we will live in eternity.  Death no longer has any hold on the one who was the embodiment of life being fully man and having a hold on eternity being fully God.

God is with us.  Christ is born and He has come.  He will come again in future glory and return us to Himself, fully and completely.  Merry Christmas.

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