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]
our savior has many names:
Jesus, Son of God, Son of Man, Messiah, Lamb of God, King of kings, Lord of lords, Resurrection and Life, Word, Light of the World, Son of David, I Am, Bread of Life, New Adam, Alpha and Omega, and many more.
why so many names? the name in the hebrew culture was not just a way to identify someone – it revealed who the person was or foretold who they would be. each name you see in scripture reveals something unique about savior’s character, his being, his person.
which brings us to Immanuel.
immanu – in hebrew means “with us.” and el – in hebrew means “God.” who is our savior according to this name?
1) God. please, don’t forget, don’t limit, don’t lessen. our savior is God. he is not a god. he is God. He is not part of God. He is all God. He does not just represent God – He is God. he is fully God. and, he came to this earth to fulfill the second part of this name.
2) With Us. the whole point of Jesus coming to the earth to be our savior was to make us right with God – so we could be with God. our savior, our God came to this earth so he could be with us, so we could be with him.
so here is the question for me, for you from God’s word this morning –
have you been living in the reality of God with you during this season we celebrate our savior as Immanuel?
i recently saw a house on my Christmas travels that had some big giant packages in front of their house. they were Christmas yard decor. they were huge, shiny, bright, full of glitter and cheer. but, they were empty. they had all the appearances of Christmas gifts – but they were not. they were missing the most important thing – the gift.
i wonder how many of us have been going through this season with all the appearances of being a follower of Christ. we are gathering with believers, singing songs of worship, reading our bible, and even telling others of a God who came to this earth to be our savior. yet … all the while … if we are honest – God feels very far from us. if this is your experience, one of two things is going on.
1) maybe, you have never been made right with God so you can be with God.
you see, your sin keeps you from being with God. you can sing to God, talk about God, and even gather with God’s people and be separated from God by your sin. this was the whole jewish nation when Jesus came. they knew of God, talked of God, even tried to worship God – yet Jesus came and said, “truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” [john 5:24] the apostle paul writes, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. for with the heart one believes and is justified (made right with God), and with the mouth one confesses and is saved (rescued to be with God). [romans 10:9-10]
don’t play the game of being a Christian and suffer one more day of God not being with you. that is not what we were made for and that is not why Jesus came and gave his life. he gave up his life – so you could have his life in you. God with us. confess and believe now – and God with you will begin now!
2) if you have been made right with God, maybe you have just been living disengaged from his presence.
hebrews 4:14-16 tells us we always have complete access to God’s presence. there is no work we have to do to be with God. for Jesus in taking on our sin and being separated from God, has made it forever possible for us to be with God. the issue is not access – it is engagement.
today, engage your savior. he is with you. he promised to be with you (Immanuel) and to never leave you. [matt 28:20] the question is – will you engage the presence of your God today? do not fear. do not expect judgment. believe in his presence is joy … and engage.
all debts have paid.
he is not angry with you, he is not disappointed with you.
he awaits with joy!
come, he is waiting … this passage might be a good place to engage your savior today.
the Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
he makes me lie down in green pastures. he leads me beside still waters.
he restores my soul. he leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, i will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
you prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and i shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
~ john ryan