Monday, December 21, 2009

Immanuel God is with Us

Matthew 1: 18-25

Matthew's account of the birth of Jesus is of One who is different from any human being who ever has or ever will exist. A person is normally conceived by two human parents who are born in sin and without divine intervention. Christ was not just born; He came into our world as a man—as a baby, no less! He was brought into this world as any baby would be, with the extreme exception that Mary did not have normal sexual relations to conceive Him! Jesus was conceived by the Spirit, He was pre-existent, and He was sinless. He has the title and name of Immanuel, meaning "God with us,” inferring that He is our salvation. For us, this means that Jesus is with us, because as God, He was, and is able to take our sins upon Himself and appease God's wrath because of our sin. He is "God with us,” because He walked, lived, worked, and existed in all aspects as any human ever has. He became identified as one of us while still remaining God, the Creator of us! Jesus is both God and man; He is not a hybrid like Hercules, nor a percentage of one over the other; He is fully God and fully human. He was birthed into history and into this world, yet, He was not from it!

This passage is also about the humanity and struggles of Jesus' human mother and adoptive father. A scandalous beginning and great struggle for a new marriage and family, it fulfilled prophecy even while countering cultural ideals. Mary was dealing with personal shame and at the same time the wonders of giving birth—the birth of our Lord, no less. Joseph was dealing with family and cultural dishonor, but decided to obey God and trust in Him, not his cultural peer pressure. This passage is also a picture of how God provides us with opportunities and situations to better ourselves, but we may not see them because we are either not looking or we are so consumed by our past experiences, expectations, or hurts that we refuse to look or strive.

Jesus is Transcendent, Omnipresent, Omniscient, and Omnipotent. Although He is Sovereign, at the same time, He tells us that He is Immanuel, which means "God is with us." Name is also His nature; God is with us, for He is God indeed! Jesus was born into the world, yet was not from it. That is, He did not come from it (since He created it), nor is He corrupted by it, lest He be corrupted by sin. Jesus Christ is God incarnate!

Jesus must also be born/formed into you (John 3:7; Gal. 2:20; 4:19)! Have you allowed Jesus into all aspects of your life? Are you surrendered and poured out to be His Bethlehem? For Him to be in you, you must yield all of your rights and will to Him! Then Christ can use you to "form” others around you. We cannot do the work of God unless we are the people of God, as Christ is formed in us!

This describes God in the most powerful and profound language the Jews have and/or that we have: God, THE God who walks besides us and holds us, what is better than that! His name, Immanuel, is also His attribute and nature, for He is God and is fully able to save us by substituting Himself in our place, living a sinless life, and taking God's wrath upon Himself so we would not be lost forever. He is a God who indeed carries us through both the trials of life and through our jubilations, too (Isaiah 7:14; Psalm 24:7-8; Prov. 1; Matt. 1:23; John 1:1-3,14; 4:9-10; 8:56-59; 17:5; Rom. 1:3-4; Phil. 2:5-11; Col. 2:9; 1 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 2:17-18).

In Matthew 22: 42, Jesus asks "Who do you say I am?” is answer to us is Immanuel which also means that Christ was birthed in history; by so doing, He must also be birthed into you and evident in you! His Immanuel means He is touching you, discipling you so He is fully engaged in your heart and mind, and so He is Supreme in you, too. Your transformation and Fruit are the evidences of Christ carrying you.

For Him to carry you, He must be evident in you!


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