“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” Matthew 1:23
As we come to the end of the year, we are coming to the time that we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. While some may argue about the date or timing, what really matters is for us to take time to consider the importance of the birth of Jesus. While every birth is a marvelous gift, the birth of Jesus is more than that.
There is nothing more amazing than to consider that God chose to come and dwell amongst us. Unless, of course, you consider that He did so in order to die for us. It clearly makes no sense to the human thinking. Why would God do that? There is only one reason: so that we can be with Him. John 14:3.
It all started at the beginning of time shortly after God created man. Eve was tempted by Satan and disobeyed God, which created a great separation between God and man. Prior to that, God walked with Adam in the garden and had fellowship there. After Adam and Eve sinned, they were evicted from the garden, and no longer had access to God’s presence. Everyone born after that was also under the same separation because of sin. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23.
Immediately after Adam and Eve sinned by their disobedience, God promised a Savior. “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15. And, throughout the Old Testament, God continued to paint pictures of that Savior, and make the promise even more clear.
I encourage you to, not only read these verses, but read the passages around them for more context. These are just a few verses from the Old Testament.
“And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.” Genesis 22:8
“And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.” Exodus 12:13
“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
Isaiah 53 – The entire chapter.
God promised that He would come to walk among us, and Jesus is the answer to that promise. That is why His name is called Emmanuel, among other names, since only one name cannot adequately capture who He is.
Jesus was born of the virgin as is clearly laid out in the Gospels. He was fully man, and fully God, something that no one else could be. If you hear a preacher claim that we are all little gods, please run away from that as fast as you can. Only Jesus was man and God. This was necessary for the promise to be fulfilled. God with us.
Jesus didn’t just come to be “with us” for a while and then leave, He came to save us; to set us free from our sin. He came to give us life eternal. “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10. He came to make it possible for us to have access to God’s presence. Hebrews 10:19-20.
Jesus’ life here was important because it let’s us know that He lived the life of a man in the same circumstances and suffered things common to all of us. He was poor, tired, hungry, thirsty. He suffered the most horrible death. This makes Him uniquely qualified to be our High Priest. “For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;” Hebrews 7:26.
“Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.” Hebrews 2:17-18
Everything revolves around this idea. God with us. Without Him we are lost and unable to restore ourselves to fellowship with God. Without Him we have no hope for the future or even the present. Without Him we would be stuck wallowing in our sin. He brings salvation and blessing and value to our lives.
God with us is not just a thought or an idea. It is not just a religious notion that man made up. He really came to be with us, and because of that, today we can have Him with us continually as He comes to abide in our hearts when we trust in Him. “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” Colossians 1:27. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20. “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,” Ephesians 3:17.