IMMANUEL, GOD WITH US

“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

God. With. Us. Not God nearby or God in the distance but God With Us. That’s one of His names and it’s not an accident or coincidence. The maker of heaven and earth came down to earth in human form as a baby: Yeshua, fully man and yet fully God. Why? Because He is Immanuel, God with us, and He came to save us from our sin in the way that only He could as The Way, The Truth and The Life (John 14:6), the fulfillment of the law and the prophets, the final sacrifice, the Spotless Lamb. Born as a baby to dwell on earth among us so that He might die for us, save us from our sin and by His grace, give us the opportunity to live with Him forever. Immanuel.

“He too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—  and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.  For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.  Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” (Hebrews 2:14-18)

Yeshua is the expression of God’s love for each one of us. “God’s love was revealed among us in this way, God sent his One and only Son into the world so that we might live through him.” (1 John 4:9) He came to earth for this specific purpose, to save us and to give us new life (Matthew 1:21). This is the greatest gift we could ever receive.

…the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14) A wonderful truth and yet one of the biggest obstacles for the Jewish mind to receiving Yeshua as Messiah. Reading Matthew, Mark and Luke is generally straightforward but arriving at John 1 immediately presents a particular challenge to the traditional Jewish mindset by the fact that John relates the “Word of God” to ‘the son of the carpenter’. In Rabbinical literature, the phrase “Word of God” is used more than 595 times and yet here John says that Yeshua is the Word of God and that “He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:2-3). Could it really be that John is proclaiming the truth of God that generally speaking, has been missed?

When we share the whole concept of Immanuel, we must understand that this is not a New Testament revelation. Isaiah prophesied the fact that God would become flesh and blood and dwell among us. Remember the passages in Scripture where the Angel of the Lord (Yeshua) appeared to Hagar, Moses, Jacob, Gideon and many more (Genesis 16:7-8, Exodus 3:2-6, Judges 6:11-12. He has always manifested Himself as a God that is interested in the details of our lives and revealed Himself to those whom He chose to.

To the traditional Jewish mind, the idea that God Himself came to dwell among us and in us is hard to grasp. How could God, who dwelt in the Tabernacle suddenly dwell in man? The understanding of the concept that the Almighty God could “reduce Himself down” to “fit inside man” is extremely difficult for the Jewish mind to comprehend. But it is by faith that we are saved (Ephesians 2:8-9) and through our faith in Yeshua as Messiah that we open our hearts to Him who gave it all for us so that He might come and dwell with us. The mysteries of God and our inability to comprehend them need not be an obstacle to a relationship with Him. It’s often been said that if God was small enough to understand, He wouldn’t be big enough to be God!  Our faith should not stand in the wisdom of men but in the power of God!” (1 Corinthians 2:5)

Yeshua answered, If a person [really] loves Me, he will keep My word [obey My teaching]; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home (abode, special dwelling place) with him. (John 14:23, Amplified version)

May Messiah through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love” (Ephesians 3:17, Amplified version)

We need never worry that God does not understand us, cannot reach us or has no idea of what we are going through. God became flesh, lived on earth as a human being, and understands all that we struggle with today including temptation, for He Himself was despised, rejected, (Isaiah 53:3-5) and tempted but He did not sin (Hebrews 4:15, 2 Corinthians 5:21, I John 3:5). That is the wonder of His divinity and His humanity, fully man yet fully God!

Max Lucado writes: “Since you know he understands, you can boldly go to him. Because of Bethlehem’s miracle, you can answer these fundamental questions: “Does God care if I’m sad? Look at the tear-streaked face of Jesus as he stands near Lazarus’s tomb. Does God notice when I’m afraid? Note the resolve in the eyes of Jesus as he marches through the storm to rescue his friends. Does God know if I am ignored or rejected? Find the answer in the compassionate eyes of Christ as he stands to defend the adulterous woman.” (Because of Bethlehem, Max Lucado).

This season may not be the actual time of Yeshua’s birth, but nevertheless, we can rejoice and be thankful that He came to earth for us, to dwell with us and to save us, giving us the chance to be with Him forever. Let us thank God for His gift to us, the greatest gift in history, the gift of Immanuel, Yeshua, because “to those who receive Him, to those who believe on His Name, He has given the right to become children of God. Children not born of natural descent, nor of human decision, nor of a husband’s will but born of God.” (John 1:12-13) What more could we ask for?

I encourage you this season to remember the real miracle that is Yeshua, and allow Him to show you who He is: Immanuel, God With Us.

May God bless you and keep you,
Samuel