Emmanuel--God with Us

      Jesus has many names or titles.  Author Warren Wiersbe says that “every name he bears is a blessing he shares.”  One of my favorite names of Jesus is Emmanuel, which means “God with us.”  We see this name given to Jesus prophetically in Isaiah 7:14 and then affirmed in the New Testament (Matthew 1:23).  What are some of the blessings being given to us in the name of Emmanuel?  
      First, we are given the blessing of understanding the full identity of Jesus Christ.  He is a prophet, but more.  He is a king, but more.  He a Savior, but more.  He is the fully divine Son of God.  Theologians call it the Incarnation, that God became flesh in Jesus.  Christians worship the Triune God of the Bible—Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Prophets speak for God; Jesus is God.  Kings have authority; Jesus is the Divine King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  Jesus can only be our Savior because as God He can die for all of us, not just one person. This Christmas as you admire the cute baby in a manger, do not miss the majesty of the Messiah that was promised—God Himself (Isaiah 9:6, John 1:14).   I am always surprised when I meet someone who sees Jesus as simply a good teacher.  Personally, I find His sermon on the mount crushing if Jesus is only a teacher and not the divine person who offers salvation through His holy death on a cross.  I have never been able to live the sermon on the mount completely; remember just one of the commands is “be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48).”  His teaching drives us to understand our need for His saving work.  The difficulty of God’s commands drives us to the cross of Christ. It is our only hope.          
        Second, in this name Emmanuel (God with us), we are given the blessing of the comfort of His presence.  Life is hard.  Even the beloved Christmas story is filled with difficulty: a pregnant woman forced to travel at the end of her pregnancy; a jealous King Herod, who will murder any potential threat to his reign, ordering a wholesale slaughter of little boys.  All difficulties are more painful when endured alone. There is comfort in the fact that God’s presence is with us.  He does not abandon us.  He does not leave or forsake us.  He walks with us in the darkest moments.  Just as a child is comforted when a beloved parent takes her hand in a tense moment, we too are held by Jesus.  Before He physically ascended to heaven, He promised His disciples that spiritually He would be with them and us always (Matthew 28:20).  This Christmas do not just open presents; experience His Presence.
Pastor Derek Dickinson