God with Us
“‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ (which means ‘God with us').” (Matthew 1:23 NIV)
When the Virgin Mary was found to be with child, her betrothed, Joseph, was visited by an angel who told him not to be afraid to take Mary home as his wife, because “what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” The angel told Joseph that the child was to be named Jesus, which means “the Lord saves,” for he would save his people from their sins. He was thus proclaiming the reason why Jesus was coming to earth. But the angel said something else. He said that Jesus’ birth would be the fulfillment of the prophecy that had come hundreds of years before through the Old Testament prophet Isaiah: "They will call him Immanuel,” which means "God with us." The name Immanuel, “God with us,” means that Jesus also came to reveal who God is.
The Bible says that Jesus is “the image of the invisible God.” He was exact representation of God here on earth. Why did Jesus have to reveal him? People knew that God was invisible, all-powerful, all-knowing, and everywhere at the same time. That's not easy for human beings to understand. Furthermore, God is eternal, and we really can't understand that, because in this physical life, we are bound by time.
So Jesus laid down the glory he had with the Father and came to earth to show us who God was. And the most important thing he revealed is that God is love —love that extends even to people who mock him and reject him and have no time for him. For that's the love that Jesus demonstrated here on earth: love that said of those crucifying him, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”; love that laid down its life while we were yet sinners and had no use for God. Jesus came to show us that God is not an angry judge waiting to throw the book at us, but rather the one who wants all to come to a saving knowledge of the truth. How would we know that God didn’t just create the world and leave us to ourselves if Jesus hadn’t gone about doing good to all while he was here on earth? How would we know that God so loved the world if Jesus hadn't come to lay down his life for lost humanity? Even today, because of his great love, God wants no one to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). That's the God that Jesus came to reveal to us.
On Christmas Day and always, let's celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, who is “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Thank God that he is also Immanuel, “God with us”!
Read Matthew 1:18-25.