• on December 25, 2017

And He Shall Be Called: Immanuel

Daniel Burton
by Daniel Burton

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 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.” 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”. (Matthew 1:20-23, NIV

On a busy night, in a crowded city, in the back of a hotel, God came in human form.  Through the virgin Mary, Jesus Christ was born that night and set in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.  There was no fanfare, no trumpet call, and no royal announcement proclaimed that God had come from heaven to join the people.  The Wonderful Counselor was initially ignored.  The Mighty God came in the vulnerable form of a child.  The Everlasting Father laying as a child in a manger. The Prince of Peace came amidst political strife and turmoil. Yet, for all the expectations that people would have for the coming of the Messiah, and indeed we too have as well, Jesus is our Immanuel.

Immanuel

Isaiah spoke often of the coming Messiah for the deliverance and salvation of God’s people.  As the angels spoke to John, they revealed the truth of the words from Isaiah.  “‘Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. ‘ Isaiah 7:14, NIV  As with many of the names given throughout the biblical text, names carry a significance and meaning as to the nature of a person.  Immanuel translates from the Hebrew to “God is with us.” The nature of Jesus’ relationship with mankind is summed up in with this name. God would not be content to sit on the throne and see what the people would get up to.  That had already been revealed. Their hearts craved sin and death, having been misled by the enemy long ago.  So God chose, instead, to descend from heaven, to live as one of us.  On this night mankind received that gift.  We received our Immanuel.

Undeserved Presence

The character of the Messiah, having been fully established by Isaiah long ago, people awaiting in eager expectation of the coming of the Savior.  Yet, at no point did the people of God deserve the relationship with God that they were receiving.  When Jesus came, He consistently sought to reform and renew the Israelites towards the true Gospel.  The surrounding political scene was tumultuous, with certain parts being on the brink of revolt.  Sin ran rampant with those leading the people leading two faced lives and others simply ignoring their sin altogether.  To think that anyone has merited the birth of a Savior would be a gross misunderstanding.   Even the inn where Mary and Joseph stayed had no room for the coming Savior.

We are unable to earn the presence of God, yet we received it all the same in the person of Jesus Christ. Click To Tweet

Yet, despite what we did not ear, we still received our Immanuel, our God with us.  He came as our Wonderful Counselor, our Everlasting Father, our Mighty God, and our Prince of Peace.  The idea that we could not earn the presence of God is precisely why God came as a man.  We are unable to earn the presence of God, yet we received it all the same in the person of Jesus Christ.  God sought a relationship with us while we sought to distance ourselves from Him.  We sought our sin and our own destruction, but God was not content to allow His people to perish, but came to provide a way.  This is why the angels celebrated in the fields by the shepherds. The angels understood that the coming of Jesus Christ as the Messiah marked the end of the evil of the world and the salvation for the creation that God loved so dearly.

A Future With Him

We can look at Christ’s first coming as we look towards His second coming.  Christ came in the flesh to secure our path to a relationship with Him.  He walked with us, talked with us, and share His life with us in bodily form.  As He ascended into heaven, the Messiah sent the Holy Spirit tabernacle in our souls in relationship with us.  Furthermore, Christ is coming again to bring the sons and daughters of God home.  We are the bride of Christ and He is coming again to return us to the home that He prepared in advance for us.  He is God with us and we will be with Him.

God's love for mankind sent Jesus Christ as one of us in order to return us to right relationship with Him as our Immanuel. Click To Tweet

God did not consider mankind as something to be discarded.  There is a great deal to be said about the Great and Mighty Sovereign King becoming mankind and bearing the sins of the people.  These actions make no sense apart from love.  God’s love for mankind sent Jesus Christ as one of us in order to return us to right relationship with Him as our Immanuel.  We have a future with God, returning to the original design of creation we saw in the Garden of Eden.  God and mankind walked with one another.  Although sin created a great chasm between the two, Jesus bridged the gap and returned us to Him out of the great love He has for us.  We are loved by great High King of Heaven who desires to be with us out of His infinite love.

This is His Advent.  He is our Immanuel.


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