Posts Tagged ‘Jesus is present’

Today I want us to look briefly at    Jesus’ name, Immanuel, to see what this means and to see what it means to us. This comes to us from the story of Jesus’ birth in Matthew 1:18-25:

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

Matthew quotes Isaiah 7:14 where the name Immanuel is given. But what does it mean that Jesus is Immanuel, or as Matthew translates, “God with us?”

1. “God with us” means God has had favor on us, fulfilling his promises. He has remembered us and acted for us.

This promise was originally given to king Ahaz in a time of crisis, when the royal line was threatened to be cut off. It was a promise that God was not done with his plans for his people, or with the line of David.

The birth of Hezekiah to a young woman was the original fulfillment of the promise. But Jesus is the true fulfillment.

  • Hezekiah, the original fulfillment, was born to a young woman. Jesus, the true fulfillment is born to a virgin.
  • Hezekiah, the original fulfillment, was a son of David. Jesus, the true fulfillment, is the Son of David and the Messiah.
  • Hezekiah’s birth was a sign that God was with Judah, remembering his promise to give David a son to rule in Judah. Jesus’ birth is a sign that God is with us, remembering his promise to give David a son to save and to rule the world.

2. “God with us” means that Jesus is God in human form. He became flesh, a living breathing human being and walked among us. We call this the incarnation, or enfleshment, because God came in human flesh.

This is recognized throughout the gospel of Matthew:

  • In Matthew 14:33, after Jesus walked on the water and saved the disciples from the storm, it says, “those in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’”
  • In Matthew 16:16 Peter confesses, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
  • God says of Jesus in Matthew 17:5 “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
  • In Matthew 27:54, after Jesus died on the cross, the Roman centurion there said, “Truly, this was the Son of God.”
  • In Matthew 28:17, after Jesus’ resurrection, it says, “when the disciples saw him, they worshipped him.”

Jesus is God’s Son, who came and became a human and walked on this earth to be with us in person and to save us.

3. Finally, “God with us” means that Jesus is always present with his people.

If we learn about Jesus as “God with us” near to the very beginning of the Gospel of Matthew, we also hear it in the very last verse of this Gospel. Matthew 28:20 says, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Jesus is with us in all our situations in life. It says, he is “always” with us – whether we find ourselves in good circumstances or in very difficult circumstances.

Specifically we learn in Matthew 18:20 that Jesus is in our midst as we gather in his name as the church. He is here with us now. And Jesus is with us as we seek to carry out his commission to share about him and make disciples of all peoples, which is the context of Matthew 28:20, which we just read.

Jesus came to be with us in all these ways. Let’s all rejoice in this as we celebrate Christmas this year.

William Higgins

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