Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. 19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. 20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” 24 And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, 25 but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus. Matthew 1:18-25
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
Today's highlighted portion is a continuation of words previously spoken by the Lord through the prophet Isaiah centuries before and recorded in Isaiah 7:14. They are recorded in our Matthew passage as well because they are fulfilled by means of the birth of Christ. The words, "God with us" are not just a nice sentiment. The inference is that apart from the birth of Christ, "God is not with us." Yes, Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, and, yes, because he is present on earth as the result of his birth, the words "God with us" have become true. However, there is so much more that is meant by these words than God showing up in a manger. This is because there is so much more involved with "God not being with us" than just his not being here in human form.
What is the flip side of all this? It is "us not with God" and "us with God." Considering "us not with God" becoming "us with God" helps us understand. "God is not with us" becoming "God with us," is so much more than just his being here in human form. Ephesians 2:13 says it this way, "But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ." Without Jesus Christ, mankind's state of being is: “separation” from God. Jesus Christ being born into this world makes it possible for him to do what was necessary while he was here to reverse our state of being separated from God. God intervened and initiated a Divine reversal of the separation the exists between him and us and us and him. This intervention of God began with a manger but culminated with a cross. It is on the cross that the provision of being saved from our sins becomes a reality.
The wonderful Christmas Carol, "O Little Town of Bethlehem" says it this way, "O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray; cast our sin, and enter in; be born in us today." Jesus was born into the world so that he could be born into our hearts. It is the provision of the cross and our response to the provision of the cross that brings it about for each of us. When sin is cast out and the Savior enters in, he becomes our "Immanuel." "God with us" becomes so much more than a baby in a manger. "Immanuel" becomes for us the daily experience of living in communion with the living God. Christmas really is huge and when it becomes huge to us, it will become a 365 and 24/7 reality in our lives.
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, I know that your intervention for mankind on that first Christmas was not just some sidelight on your part. Help it not to be a sidelight for me either. Help the full meaning of Christmas become a reality in my life 365 and 7/24. May "God with us" become my heartbeat and the way I go about living my life all the time. Lord, thank you for being my Savior and my Immanuel. Help me to know your presence this Christmas in the full way you desire for me to experience you. Right now, I come before you believing you are with me and I am with you. I lay back in your arms of love totally secure and blessed. Amen!
Posted on Fri, December 16, 2016
by Ken Hart