“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us).”
- Matthew 1:22-23
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
- Isaiah 7:14
NAME OF GOD: Immanuel, Emmanuel
by Mike Conan
Merry Christmas Everyone!
Most of us will have family come into town or we will go and be with our family on Christmas. We leave the comforts of home to invade someone else’s space for a time of relationship and enjoyment. If we are returning to our parent’s home, there is often a strange feeling of being home and yet simultaneously not at home. This is a perfect example of what the first Christmas was like — God leaving the heavens and coming to the world He had created. The Apostle John tells us that “He came to His own”, meaning that Jesus was not only the creator of the universe, but the personal God of the people on earth.
Immanuel (also spelled Emmanuel) means, as Matthew tells us, God with us. It is the centerpiece of the Christmas story. The invisible, Spirit, sovereign, all powerful force of the universe, took on flesh and dwelt among us. Until this moment, God had revealed Himself primarily to humanity in the scriptures and through His Spirit’s work in the lives of individual men and women. In this moment in history, Jesus came and tabernacled with us (set up his tent with us.)
I cannot explain the marvelous mystery of the God-man coming to dwell on earth. In my mind I cannot fully understand how Jesus was fully God and at the same time fully human. In fact, throughout history anyone who has tried to explain in detail how Jesus could fully embody the Godhead characteristics and human characteristics at the same exact time has been labeled a heretic and booted out of the church. Inevitably, one would downplay his humanity or downplay His divinity in order to explain how the two could come together. I believe that this mystery is a gift from God to inspire worship and humility as we reach the end of human explanation and continue to dwell in divine inspiration.
By His taking on Flesh, we have the ultimate revelation of God. Not just in a moment in history, a vision or an inspired word, but He became an actual person to live fully with humans for three years [the time of His ministry]. If one wants to know who God is and who God calls us to be, one needs to look at Jesus.
In this name, and in this season, we are reminded that God is personal and His plan was to reveal Himself to us personally. Yet, the story does not end there as God is also “with us” today in the personal presence of Holy Spirit. In Holy Spirit the loving, joyful, powerful presence of God dwells with us for eternity! (Matthew 28:16-20)
Is Jesus home in my life and heart?
How has the mystery of ‘God with us’ impacted your life?
How does the love and humility of God becoming human inspire you?
Prayer: Immanuel, thank you for revealing yourself to me. Thank you for showing yourself to the world you had created. Help me to see your presence in my world today and every day.