“Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and they shall call him, “Immanuel” which means, “God is with us!”
– Matthew 1:23
Greek and Roman mythologies tell stories of their mythical gods and goddesses. Revered and despised by the men that they rule, these demi-gods were mostly detached and disconnected from the world of men, except for some occasional dalliances and wars.
Remote, distant and fickle. These were the gods of the pagan world.
But Jesus Christ is no myth or legend. He is true and real. And He does care. Unlike the false gods of the ancient civilizations, Jesus, the true and living Son of God, came to live with men and even, became a man like us (John 1:14).
He is the Immanuel. God’s Son who came to men and became a man, himself.
In his humanity, Jesus looked every inch a man. He was not an apparition nor was he a phantom. Jesus bore the semblance of his earthly father, Joseph. To those who saw him grew up in the small town of Nazareth, Jesus was known to be “the son of the carpenter” (Matthew 13:55). His feet touched and walked the very earth we are walking upon. His lungs breathe the very oxygen we are breathing. His senses saw, smelled, tasted and heard everything we ourselves also sense.
But his incarnation wasn’t just physical, it was equally experiential. Jesus did not shield himself from experiencing the whole gamut of human experiences; both good and evil (Hebrews 2:18). He both wept and rejoiced. He felt hunger and thirst. He experienced fatigue and sought rest too. And eventually, Jesus stood up for what he believed was his life’s calling – dying for the sins of the world (1 Peter 2:24).
Yet, though he was in human form, Jesus still shone with his deity. He performed miracles that only God could do. He forgave sins that only God could. When quizzed by his cynical detractors, Jesus amazed them with answers that only the Son of God could give. His preaching exuded with a heavenly brilliance that no one was able to dispute (John 11:27).
But more than a name, “Immanuel” is every true believer’s present reality. God is with us. He is with me and He is with you – right at this moment. In every life situation, the Immanuel is right with us. In your righteous sufferings, his presence is your companion. In your humble obedience, his friendship is his reward to you. And when you seek to be restored to him, God will run to you!
This Christmas reckon it in your being that the Immanuel is with you. You don’t need to feel alone, abandoned or forsaken in your battles, ordeals, and struggles. The Immanuel is with you. He is with you when you weep, rejoicing with you in your victories as well and walking next to you in your life’s journey. Don’t be afraid, Jesus is the Immanuel! (Romans 8:31).