Gordon Crook, PastorGrace Assembly, Wichita, Kansas
“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
Immanuel means “God with us.”
I have been thinking about who God is, and contemplating His greatness. I enjoy checking out the pictures that come from the Hubble telescope, and now, from the Webb telescope. There are some amazing pictures of our galaxy and the universe.
One in particular that grabbed my attention is one called “Pillars of creation.” This formation is some 30 quintillion miles (30 with 15 zeros) from us, and is just a small part of the known universe, and yet it overwhelms the mind to consider the immensity and the glory of it.
As I look at that, I realize that my God inhabits this incredible universe, and is the creator of it all. The fact that mankind is so full of themselves and so defiant before God, is hard to understand when they have this evidence before them. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.” Psalms 19:1. “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” Psalms 8:3-4.
What is man that Thou visitest him? And yet, He did visit us. God had promised from the beginning to take care of the problem created by man’s sin. In Genesis 3:15, God promised one who would bruise the head of the serpent, and this is exactly what Jesus came to do.
Take some time to just consider that Jesus would leave His glory to come down to earth. That is hard to comprehend. Paul tells us about that in Philippians. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:5-8. Sometimes we get a little full of ourselves, but consider the condescension of Jesus. He has a right to be high minded because He is God, and yet He condescended to our level for our benefit.
As we come into the Christmas season, we might tend to forget the real reason for celebrating this time. The world will seduce us with the trappings and the festivities and the gifts that we think we deserve, but the real purpose of this season should be to consider Immanuel. Consider the only gift that really matters to any of us. “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” 2 Corinthians 9:15.
Again, considering who God is, and thinking about the glory that is His, we must then be in complete amazement at the reason for Immanuel. Jesus didn’t come to live among us just for His own entertainment, nor to mock or condemn us. He had a special purpose in mind that goes even further to blow our minds. “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.” John 17:24. This one always amazes and humbles me. Jesus wants us to be with Him where He is. John 14:1-3.
And even now, He is with us. We are clearly instructed that we have the Life of Christ in us. He lives in us and is by our side all of the time. “. . .for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5c. While we do not have to wait to be with Him, we are certainly looking and longing for the day when we will be physically in His presence.
When you see the pictures that are taken by the Webb telescope, and all of the discoveries of our scientists, may it remind you of the Creator that loves you more than any other part of His creation. Consider that the creator of all of that would be willing to come down to be Immanuel, so that we can go up to spend eternity with Him.