Searching for what would be God's theme for my monthly letter to you, I strongly felt led to a verse in Isaiah. Among the many names and titles ascribed to Christ, one has an exceptional depth of meaning that should be seriously pondered. The prophet predicted, "The Lord Himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name IMMANUEL" (7:14; 8:8, 10). This promise was repeated many years later to Joseph by the angel of the Lord (Mt. 1:20-23), and was fulfilled when the Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus.
The name "Emmanuel" (Immanuel in the O.T.) means, "with us is God." The birth of Jesus was God coming down to mankind in a most unusual manner. He became incarnate in human form, coming as a man like we are. He came to become one with us, to identify with us as the "Son of man." He came to reveal Himself in human terms so we, from His words and deeds, could clearly understand Who He is, what He is really like, that He loves us in spite of our sinful and lost condition, and that He wants to save us and reconcile us to Himself.
Take note of what the name Emmanuel implies:
I. "With US" -- with whom? You -- me, all of US!
1. He came to disobedient, rebellious, fallen people. (Lk. 19:10)
2. We were undeserving of His attention or concern. Tragically, humanity resisted God's will from Adam's time --to the flood of Noah's day, --to the fiasco at the Tower of Babel, --to the wanderings of Israel in the wilderness, --to the period of the judges and kings of Israel, --to the time of Christ's crucifixion, --to the godless days of the dark Ages, --on and on even to present times. Yet He came to "US" (humans) -- to those who seemed to be in constant rebellion against God. But in spite of it all, He came to us.
3. We were decidedly sinful, alienated from God, lost, without hope, condemned and headed for hell. But He came to such, "To seek and to save that which was lost."
II. "With us is GOD!" Who? It is GOD who is with us! G O D!
1. He is The Eternal One, the "One from everlasting." He was, is, and forever will be our God. He is not a passing fancy, nor the invention of the human mind. He is eternal.
2. He is The Perfect One, the Holy One. In Him is no blemish, imperfection or error. He is perfect in character and in all of His attributes.
3. He is The Self Sufficient One. He is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe and of all things seen and unseen. "All things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made" (Jn. 1:3). He is all knowing and is omnipotent. (Ps. 19)
4. There is none like Him. The Great Elohim is the Only One. He is the eternal, immutable, never changing God. What a God! (Ex. 15:11) III. Why did He come to be with us?
1. He came to make us aware of His person and presence. He did this through the Incarnation by being born as a man. (Heb. 1:1,2; Jn. 1:14)
2. He came to show His concern and love for us by His works and His sacrifice on Calvary. (Jn. 3:16; 10:11)
3. He came to rescue us from sin and eternal condemnation by paying the price of our redemption with His own blood. (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14)
4. He came to reconcile us to God, to give us eternal life by making us God's children through the process of the new birth by the Spirit. (2 Cor. 5:19; Eph.2:13-16)
5. He came to give us divine faith and confidence in a loving God.(Mk. 11:22)
III. "EMMANUEL" God with us! Oh, let us love Him and Praise Him!
Of course, Christmas is a time for celebration and joy. But it should be much more than a "children's holiday" or a "family reunion" dominated by tinsel, trees, gifts and banquets. It calls for serious and solemn contemplation, and for heartfelt gratitude to the Great God Who became Emmanuel, He came to us, and is still with us. Without Him we would be eternally lost, -- but now -- with Him we are eternally saved. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! HALLELUJAH -- AMEN!!!
God bless you. Have a happy Christmas and a blessed New Year!