They Will Call Him Immanuel! (Matthew 1:18-25)

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They Will Call Him Immanuel!
Matthew 1:18-25
KV 1:23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means “God with us”).
Merry Christmas! It is said Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. As Christians it’s not the most wonderful time because there’s kids jingle belling, parties for hosting or marshmallows for toasting. It’s not because of the trees, lights or gifts that people exchange. Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year because we get to remember and celebrate God’s coming into the world to be with us. Christmas is the time we celebrate God coming to be with us; no longer sending others, like prophets, priests, kings, and angels to give us His Word. When John Wesley lay on his death bed even in great pain it is said his last words to his family were “The best of all is this: God is with us”. He could have said various things, but he said that the best of all is this: God is with us. Through the birth of Jesus God gave the best of all – a Savior from sin and He himself with us!
I believe the author of today’s passage would agree with John Wesley. The book of Matthew starts with God’s fulfillment of his promise Immanuel which means God with us. Do you know how it ends? The last verse of 28:20 “and surely I am with you, always to the very end of age.”. It ends with the same promise. When Jesus came to be with Matthew at his tax collector’s booth and he in turn followed Him, Matthew’s life was never the same. Let’s learn what God has done for us through coming to be with us and to save us from our sins. I pray you too may be able to say “the best of all is this: God is with us”.
My message will touch on three points about Jesus as revealed in this passage: His Virgin Birth Through The Holy Spirit; Jesus Who Saves His People From Their Sins and Jesus, Immanuel.
Part One (His virgin birth through the Holy Spirit)
Let’s read verse 18a. “This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about”. It may be hard to imagine it these days but Christmas is all about a celebration centered around the birth of one man Jesus. Though there have been many great people to walk the face of the earth nobody else’s birthday is as widely celebrated as His for good reason. There’s nobody else like him. Jesus’ birth, life and death are unparalleled in human history.
The birth of Jesus as we will soon see is no ordinary birth. There have been many extraordinary births in modern history that have been well documented. We know of twice in the history a woman has given birth to 8 children at once (octuplets). The odds of that happening was 1 in 20 trillion, 900 billion. We also know of a woman who gave birth at the age of 59 without the help of any fertility treatment. Then there was a woman who gave birth to three children in three years with their birthdates being 8/8/08, 9/9/09, 10/10/10. But Jesus’ birth trumps them all.
Let’s read 18b to find out how Jesus came.
“His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.”.
As the verse tells us, Jesus’ birth was truly the most extraordinary birth of all. His mother was not found to be pregnant through a man but through the Holy Spirit. This was none other than the most impossible birth of all. It was beyond all odds, a true miracle. It was an act of God and the absolute work of God. Jesus was not conceived by man but by God himself.
Years ago when I was in China I met a young man after a class who approached me to ask “Do you believe in the virgin birth?”. Was there really such a thing to happen? It’s a really weird question to be asked by someone you don’t know. But this question really captivated this young man and led him to think who is this man? As weird as it was this man was looking for answers. If this really happened why and what is it’s significance?
Jesus once asked the Pharisees a question about himself that men have been asking every generation since “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he? (Matt 22:42). This is the question Matthew answers here in the first chapter of his gospel. Jesus is the human Son of man and the divine Son of God. Many people question why they should care about what one man did thousands of years ago but the birth, life and death of Jesus was not man’s work but the work of God himself. As we will see soon, God did it so he could save us and have a relationship with us. For people who look for evidence of the work of God, one should look no further than Jesus Christ! He is the work of God for all sinners, you and me!
Had he been born of Joseph he would not have been God but would have inherited the curse of Adam’s sin and wouldn’t be able to save us. But praise and thank God that Jesus was the righteousness from God able to save sinners and reconcile God to men.
Amidst the Christmas story in today’s passage we also find one man with a really hard decision to make and we learn how he made it. When faced with a very difficult decision Joseph submitted to the Word of God delivered by the angel. “Do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife”. Though he had wanted and even planned to divorce Mary quietly he submitted and obeyed God. Verse 22 says he did what the angel of the LORD had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. When he did he was truly blessed to live his life as the earthly father of Jesus. He made a right decision even though it was against his own initial desire and probably popular opinion. If you are faced with a difficult decision come to the Word of God and submit yourself to it and obey it. When it says rejoice in the LORD, rejoice in the LORD, forgive then forgive, love one another then love one another, serve then serve even if you don’t feel like it. You’ll find you too will be richly blessed.
2. He will save His people from their sins
When the angel spoke to Joseph he not only encouraged Joseph by telling him where this baby came from but he also told Joseph what this baby would do.
Let’s read v.21. “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
When God sent Jesus into the world, he sent Him not only to teach about God, to perform miracles and wonders, to draw crowds etc though he did all of those things and more. He also didn’t send Him to make us feel good about ourselves. He didn’t send Him to make our life go smooth or to make us prosper. He came for something far greater than any of those things. When God sent Jesus into the world, he sent him on a rescue mission. God sent Him to save people from their sins.
God sent Jesus to be a Savior. This shows not only what Jesus would do but what mankind needs. As human beings we have a lot of needs. We need jobs so we can make a living, we need good health, we need housing, education, we need friends and family etc. But all of these pale in relationship to the need for a Savior, to forgive our sins. One of the most amazing stories of the gospels to me is the story of some men who brought a paralytic to Jesus. In the gospels we know Jesus has the power to heal. He healed lepers, man with shriveled hand, men blind from birth, deaf and mute people etc. But when he saw this paralyzed man the first thing he did wasn’t to heal him from his physical ailment. Instead when Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralyzed man “Son, your sins are forgiven.”. I was amazed and surprised. This was a man who suffered much due to his physical condition. He had to have 4 people carrying him on a mat just to get him to Jesus but Jesus saw his sin problem as more of a priority than his physical ailment.
To fully understand, embrace and respond to Jesus one must understand what Jesus did for you and what he saves you from. Years ago I was very jealous of one Bible teacher because I knew she loved Jesus much much more than me. I found later that she loved much because she was forgiven much. It’s not that she sinned more than I did but she knew God more and knew what Jesus had truly done and saved her from.
When God sent Jesus into the world He sent him to be a Savior, to save people from the greatest infection of all called the sin virus. There are some pretty bad diseases or viruses in recent history – ebola virus, west nile, sars, malaria, hand foot and mouth disease, lyme disease, many kinds of cancers etc. Indeed they are all terrible but the one that trumps them all is the sin virus.
Sin separates us from God. Isaiah 59:2 “But your sin has made a separation between you and your God.”. Sin keeps us from enjoying God’s presence. Sin is the most contagious of all viruses. It spread from one man Adam to the whole human race. Sin destroys lives, families, ministries and mars one’s appearance from having the image of God. Because he is a holy God, He hates sin and punishes sin. Proverbs 6:16-19 says There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19 a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.
When the first man sinned he was banished from the garden. When God saw how corrupt the earth had become in Noah’s time because of sin he sent a flood to destroy them all. Because of sin God judged Sodom and Gomorrah turning into a pile of ashes. Because of his sin Moses was kept from entering the promised land. Because of sin Ananias and Sapphira were struck down and killed by the Holy Spirit. Because of our sin we too were destined to be kept from entering the kingdom of God. Because of our sin we were wretched hell bound sinners. There was no way to escape where we were going. You’ll never know the grace and love of God until you know what Jesus Christ has saved you from. The Bible says hell is a place of eternal punishment, of everlasting destruction, place of weeping and gnashing of teeth, a place with a blazing furnace. There will be no rest day or night for those in hell. The consequences of sin are most severe of all sicknesses.
But in an amazing act of pure love God sent his Son Jesus to save us from our sins by giving his life on the cross. He took the pain and punishment you and I deserve. He paid the price for our sins through his death on the cross. Romans 5:8-9 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 2 Corinthians 5:21 “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 1 Peter 2:24 “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” Sin causes pain and death, but the sinless Lord Jesus Christ’s pain and death resulted in a full and final cure for the iniquity of His people!
When John Newton was getting old and losing his memory during his preaching he would just repeat again and again “I am a great sinner but I have a great Savior”. That’s what we are celebrating today and at Christmas time. Though we are great sinners we have a great Savior who offered himself as a ransom for our sin! Praise and thank God that we have Savior who is able to save completely those who come to him! He says, “Come, let us reason together. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow. Though they be red like crimson they shall be white as wool.” When we will call upon Him, He will give you His righteousness – the righteousness that comes from God. It is a free gift. He will clothe you with the perfect garments of His righteousness. He will see only the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ covering the entirety of who you are—your sin sick soul. You will find acceptance and peace with God, and one day when you die He will take you into the very presence of the Father and present you faultless before the throne of God. You will enjoy Him forever and ever. What a great and mighty Savior! Habakkuk said though had nothing in this world he would rejoice in God my Savior. Today let us too marvel at how great a Savior we have and truly worship and rejoice in what He has done for us.
The angel told Joseph that Jesus will save his people from their sins. That sounds harsh and offensive to a lot of people. But only Jesus bore your sins in his body on the cross. Only Jesus paid the price for your sins. Only Jesus suffered and died in your place on the cross. Only Jesus who was the lamb of God, the righteousness from God…conceived by the Holy Spirit and came in the flesh. Only Jesus defeated the grave and rose again and lives forevermore. One jailor asked “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”. They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.”. Let us believe that Jesus has truly paid the price for our sins and finished our salvation by His work on the cross.
3. Immanuel, God with us.
Thirdly, Jesus’ birth is the fulfillment of God’s promise to His people. Let’s read verses 22 and 23. “All this took place to fulfill what the LORD had said through the prophet: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (“which means God with us”).
The essence of this passage and event in history is not merely that a baby was born. The essence is that God became a baby. Almighty God, maker of heaven and earth was in the crib. God himself become flesh and blood in order to come and save us. John, one of Jesus’ disciples writes in 1 John concerning Jesus – That which we have seen with our own eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched! If man has something really precious and valuable he doesn’t want others to touch. Recently I went to the Natural History Museum and saw the hope diamond. It’s stored in such thick impenetrable glass that nobody could ever possibly touch it. If we have something valuable we want to protect, we buy insurance for our homes, cars, phones, health. Many people try to protect their children from all kinds of dangers etc. But God himself, the one who made the moon, stars, sun, sea became flesh and made his dwelling among men. Philippians says though he was in very nature God he made himself nothing in order to do so. God didn’t withhold anything from man. He didn’t keep anything from you.
Let’s stop and think why? Why would God want to be with us? It’s hard to fathom. Do you know how bad we are? How unfaithful, how unloving, how ugly, how proud, how deceitful, mouths full of bitterness, cursing and ungratefulness, feet that are swift to shed blood. Do you want to be with such a people? We are anything but pure and worthy of the LORD’s coming. But lo and behold. He came! God loves His people. How God longs to be with His people.
In the garden of Eden in Genesis 1, God was with Adam and Eve as he walked in the cool of the day and was among the trees. We’re told He was with Noah to save him from the flood. He promised to Abraham, Jacob and Isaac to be with them. He was with Moses to build a tabernacle in the desert where he would dwell with His people. In Kings he was with Solomon to erect a temple where again he would dwell with His people. Through the Psalms and Proverbs He is with David and Solomon as they seek him and worship him. Then from Isaiah to Malachi he was with Israel and Judah to warn them and rebuke them of their many sins just like a father. Jesus said in the NT “how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.”
The good news of Christmas is that God himself has come to be with us. God’s greatest desire and man’s greatest need was fulfilled through his coming to be with us. It’s no wonder that a multitude of heavenly hosts said of this spectacular moment in history, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” They understood what He was up to.
One wise father asked his 13-year old son a question. Son, what is the most important relationship you are going to have in your life? The son answered, probably the relationship with my future wife. The father she’s very important but “try again”. The son said “my future boss?”. Wrong. The most important relationship you’ll have in your life is your relationship with Jesus Christ, your Savior and Immanuel God. When we listen to him, talk to him, spend time with him, honor him, cherish him, live for him what a difference it makes in one’s life. When we have this relationship with Jesus as our Savior who came to be with us in the flesh He gives us ability to love, to forgive, to encourage, to bless, to help, to endure. He’s done all of those things better than anyone has ever done them or will ever do them
He came in the flesh to identify with you so that you may have a relationship with Him. He’s the one our heart longs for you. He’ll never leave you nor forsake you. He gave himself up for you. He’s prepared a place for you and can take you to be with Him for all eternity. He’ll intercede for you.
In the gospels we see we can bring our fears to Jesus like the disciples, we can bring our doubts to Jesus like Thomas, we can bring all of our love to Jesus like the woman who poured out the alabaster jar of perfume, we can bring our past, present and future to Jesus like the Samaritan woman, we can bring our darkness to Jesus like the blind man, we can bring our failures to Jesus like Peter, we can bring our emergencies to Jesus like Jairus, we can bring our sorrow to Jesus like Martha and Mary, we can cast all of our anxieties onto Jesus. Paul said my God will meet all of your needs according to his riches in Christ Jesus. Thank God for Jesus who came to be with us and identify with us so we can bring Him our every need! Let us remember this Jesus who came to be with us now and forever by His grace.
At Christmas God gave man the most valuable, precious and important gift in history. There is no one like Him. No other Savior. Nothing else and nobody else you get to enjoy forever and ever. The author of O come o come Emmanuel had one response when thinking of Emmanuel God who came with us — he said Rejoice! Rejoice! Let us do so through the rest of today’s program, let us do so with our lives.

They Will Call Him Immanuel!
Matthew 1:18-25
KV 1:23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means “God with us”).
Merry Christmas! It is said Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. As Christians it’s not the most wonderful time because there’s kids jingle belling, parties for hosting or marshmallows for toasting. It’s not because of the trees, lights or gifts that people exchange. Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year because we get to remember and celebrate God’s coming into the world to be with us. Christmas is the time we celebrate God coming to be with us; no longer sending others, like prophets, priests, kings, and angels to give us His Word. When John Wesley lay on his death bed even in great pain it is said his last words to his family were “The best of all is this: God is with us”. He could have said various things, but he said that the best of all is this: God is with us. Through the birth of Jesus God gave the best of all – a Savior from sin and He himself with us!
I believe the author of today’s passage would agree with John Wesley. The book of Matthew starts with God’s fulfillment of his promise Immanuel which means God with us. Do you know how it ends? The last verse of 28:20 “and surely I am with you, always to the very end of age.”. It ends with the same promise. When Jesus came to be with Matthew at his tax collector’s booth and he in turn followed Him, Matthew’s life was never the same. Let’s learn what God has done for us through coming to be with us and to save us from our sins. I pray you too may be able to say “the best of all is this: God is with us”.
My message will touch on three points about Jesus as revealed in this passage: His Virgin Birth Through The Holy Spirit; Jesus Who Saves His People From Their Sins and Jesus, Immanuel.
Part One (His virgin birth through the Holy Spirit)
Let’s read verse 18a. “This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about”. It may be hard to imagine it these days but Christmas is all about a celebration centered around the birth of one man Jesus. Though there have been many great people to walk the face of the earth nobody else’s birthday is as widely celebrated as His for good reason. There’s nobody else like him. Jesus’ birth, life and death are unparalleled in human history.
The birth of Jesus as we will soon see is no ordinary birth. There have been many extraordinary births in modern history that have been well documented. We know of twice in the history a woman has given birth to 8 children at once (octuplets). The odds of that happening was 1 in 20 trillion, 900 billion. We also know of a woman who gave birth at the age of 59 without the help of any fertility treatment. Then there was a woman who gave birth to three children in three years with their birthdates being 8/8/08, 9/9/09, 10/10/10. But Jesus’ birth trumps them all.
Let’s read 18b to find out how Jesus came.
“His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.”.
As the verse tells us, Jesus’ birth was truly the most extraordinary birth of all. His mother was not found to be pregnant through a man but through the Holy Spirit. This was none other than the most impossible birth of all. It was beyond all odds, a true miracle. It was an act of God and the absolute work of God. Jesus was not conceived by man but by God himself.
Years ago when I was in China I met a young man after a class who approached me to ask “Do you believe in the virgin birth?”. Was there really such a thing to happen? It’s a really weird question to be asked by someone you don’t know. But this question really captivated this young man and led him to think who is this man? As weird as it was this man was looking for answers. If this really happened why and what is it’s significance?
Jesus once asked the Pharisees a question about himself that men have been asking every generation since “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he? (Matt 22:42). This is the question Matthew answers here in the first chapter of his gospel. Jesus is the human Son of man and the divine Son of God. Many people question why they should care about what one man did thousands of years ago but the birth, life and death of Jesus was not man’s work but the work of God himself. As we will see soon, God did it so he could save us and have a relationship with us. For people who look for evidence of the work of God, one should look no further than Jesus Christ! He is the work of God for all sinners, you and me!
Had he been born of Joseph he would not have been God but would have inherited the curse of Adam’s sin and wouldn’t be able to save us. But praise and thank God that Jesus was the righteousness from God able to save sinners and reconcile God to men.
Amidst the Christmas story in today’s passage we also find one man with a really hard decision to make and we learn how he made it. When faced with a very difficult decision Joseph submitted to the Word of God delivered by the angel. “Do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife”. Though he had wanted and even planned to divorce Mary quietly he submitted and obeyed God. Verse 22 says he did what the angel of the LORD had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. When he did he was truly blessed to live his life as the earthly father of Jesus. He made a right decision even though it was against his own initial desire and probably popular opinion. If you are faced with a difficult decision come to the Word of God and submit yourself to it and obey it. When it says rejoice in the LORD, rejoice in the LORD, forgive then forgive, love one another then love one another, serve then serve even if you don’t feel like it. You’ll find you too will be richly blessed.
2. He will save His people from their sins
When the angel spoke to Joseph he not only encouraged Joseph by telling him where this baby came from but he also told Joseph what this baby would do.
Let’s read v.21. “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
When God sent Jesus into the world, he sent Him not only to teach about God, to perform miracles and wonders, to draw crowds etc though he did all of those things and more. He also didn’t send Him to make us feel good about ourselves. He didn’t send Him to make our life go smooth or to make us prosper. He came for something far greater than any of those things. When God sent Jesus into the world, he sent him on a rescue mission. God sent Him to save people from their sins.
God sent Jesus to be a Savior. This shows not only what Jesus would do but what mankind needs. As human beings we have a lot of needs. We need jobs so we can make a living, we need good health, we need housing, education, we need friends and family etc. But all of these pale in relationship to the need for a Savior, to forgive our sins. One of the most amazing stories of the gospels to me is the story of some men who brought a paralytic to Jesus. In the gospels we know Jesus has the power to heal. He healed lepers, man with shriveled hand, men blind from birth, deaf and mute people etc. But when he saw this paralyzed man the first thing he did wasn’t to heal him from his physical ailment. Instead when Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralyzed man “Son, your sins are forgiven.”. I was amazed and surprised. This was a man who suffered much due to his physical condition. He had to have 4 people carrying him on a mat just to get him to Jesus but Jesus saw his sin problem as more of a priority than his physical ailment.
To fully understand, embrace and respond to Jesus one must understand what Jesus did for you and what he saves you from. Years ago I was very jealous of one Bible teacher because I knew she loved Jesus much much more than me. I found later that she loved much because she was forgiven much. It’s not that she sinned more than I did but she knew God more and knew what Jesus had truly done and saved her from.
When God sent Jesus into the world He sent him to be a Savior, to save people from the greatest infection of all called the sin virus. There are some pretty bad diseases or viruses in recent history – ebola virus, west nile, sars, malaria, hand foot and mouth disease, lyme disease, many kinds of cancers etc. Indeed they are all terrible but the one that trumps them all is the sin virus.
Sin separates us from God. Isaiah 59:2 “But your sin has made a separation between you and your God.”. Sin keeps us from enjoying God’s presence. Sin is the most contagious of all viruses. It spread from one man Adam to the whole human race. Sin destroys lives, families, ministries and mars one’s appearance from having the image of God. Because he is a holy God, He hates sin and punishes sin. Proverbs 6:16-19 says There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19 a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.
When the first man sinned he was banished from the garden. When God saw how corrupt the earth had become in Noah’s time because of sin he sent a flood to destroy them all. Because of sin God judged Sodom and Gomorrah turning into a pile of ashes. Because of his sin Moses was kept from entering the promised land. Because of sin Ananias and Sapphira were struck down and killed by the Holy Spirit. Because of our sin we too were destined to be kept from entering the kingdom of God. Because of our sin we were wretched hell bound sinners. There was no way to escape where we were going. You’ll never know the grace and love of God until you know what Jesus Christ has saved you from. The Bible says hell is a place of eternal punishment, of everlasting destruction, place of weeping and gnashing of teeth, a place with a blazing furnace. There will be no rest day or night for those in hell. The consequences of sin are most severe of all sicknesses.
But in an amazing act of pure love God sent his Son Jesus to save us from our sins by giving his life on the cross. He took the pain and punishment you and I deserve. He paid the price for our sins through his death on the cross. Romans 5:8-9 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 2 Corinthians 5:21 “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 1 Peter 2:24 “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” Sin causes pain and death, but the sinless Lord Jesus Christ’s pain and death resulted in a full and final cure for the iniquity of His people!
When John Newton was getting old and losing his memory during his preaching he would just repeat again and again “I am a great sinner but I have a great Savior”. That’s what we are celebrating today and at Christmas time. Though we are great sinners we have a great Savior who offered himself as a ransom for our sin! Praise and thank God that we have Savior who is able to save completely those who come to him! He says, “Come, let us reason together. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow. Though they be red like crimson they shall be white as wool.” When we will call upon Him, He will give you His righteousness – the righteousness that comes from God. It is a free gift. He will clothe you with the perfect garments of His righteousness. He will see only the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ covering the entirety of who you are—your sin sick soul. You will find acceptance and peace with God, and one day when you die He will take you into the very presence of the Father and present you faultless before the throne of God. You will enjoy Him forever and ever. What a great and mighty Savior! Habakkuk said though had nothing in this world he would rejoice in God my Savior. Today let us too marvel at how great a Savior we have and truly worship and rejoice in what He has done for us.
The angel told Joseph that Jesus will save his people from their sins. That sounds harsh and offensive to a lot of people. But only Jesus bore your sins in his body on the cross. Only Jesus paid the price for your sins. Only Jesus suffered and died in your place on the cross. Only Jesus who was the lamb of God, the righteousness from God…conceived by the Holy Spirit and came in the flesh. Only Jesus defeated the grave and rose again and lives forevermore. One jailor asked “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”. They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.”. Let us believe that Jesus has truly paid the price for our sins and finished our salvation by His work on the cross.
3. Immanuel, God with us.
Thirdly, Jesus’ birth is the fulfillment of God’s promise to His people. Let’s read verses 22 and 23. “All this took place to fulfill what the LORD had said through the prophet: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (“which means God with us”).
The essence of this passage and event in history is not merely that a baby was born. The essence is that God became a baby. Almighty God, maker of heaven and earth was in the crib. God himself become flesh and blood in order to come and save us. John, one of Jesus’ disciples writes in 1 John concerning Jesus – That which we have seen with our own eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched! If man has something really precious and valuable he doesn’t want others to touch. Recently I went to the Natural History Museum and saw the hope diamond. It’s stored in such thick impenetrable glass that nobody could ever possibly touch it. If we have something valuable we want to protect, we buy insurance for our homes, cars, phones, health. Many people try to protect their children from all kinds of dangers etc. But God himself, the one who made the moon, stars, sun, sea became flesh and made his dwelling among men. Philippians says though he was in very nature God he made himself nothing in order to do so. God didn’t withhold anything from man. He didn’t keep anything from you.
Let’s stop and think why? Why would God want to be with us? It’s hard to fathom. Do you know how bad we are? How unfaithful, how unloving, how ugly, how proud, how deceitful, mouths full of bitterness, cursing and ungratefulness, feet that are swift to shed blood. Do you want to be with such a people? We are anything but pure and worthy of the LORD’s coming. But lo and behold. He came! God loves His people. How God longs to be with His people.
In the garden of Eden in Genesis 1, God was with Adam and Eve as he walked in the cool of the day and was among the trees. We’re told He was with Noah to save him from the flood. He promised to Abraham, Jacob and Isaac to be with them. He was with Moses to build a tabernacle in the desert where he would dwell with His people. In Kings he was with Solomon to erect a temple where again he would dwell with His people. Through the Psalms and Proverbs He is with David and Solomon as they seek him and worship him. Then from Isaiah to Malachi he was with Israel and Judah to warn them and rebuke them of their many sins just like a father. Jesus said in the NT “how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.”
The good news of Christmas is that God himself has come to be with us. God’s greatest desire and man’s greatest need was fulfilled through his coming to be with us. It’s no wonder that a multitude of heavenly hosts said of this spectacular moment in history, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” They understood what He was up to.
One wise father asked his 13-year old son a question. Son, what is the most important relationship you are going to have in your life? The son answered, probably the relationship with my future wife. The father she’s very important but “try again”. The son said “my future boss?”. Wrong. The most important relationship you’ll have in your life is your relationship with Jesus Christ, your Savior and Immanuel God. When we listen to him, talk to him, spend time with him, honor him, cherish him, live for him what a difference it makes in one’s life. When we have this relationship with Jesus as our Savior who came to be with us in the flesh He gives us ability to love, to forgive, to encourage, to bless, to help, to endure. He’s done all of those things better than anyone has ever done them or will ever do them
He came in the flesh to identify with you so that you may have a relationship with Him. He’s the one our heart longs for you. He’ll never leave you nor forsake you. He gave himself up for you. He’s prepared a place for you and can take you to be with Him for all eternity. He’ll intercede for you.
In the gospels we see we can bring our fears to Jesus like the disciples, we can bring our doubts to Jesus like Thomas, we can bring all of our love to Jesus like the woman who poured out the alabaster jar of perfume, we can bring our past, present and future to Jesus like the Samaritan woman, we can bring our darkness to Jesus like the blind man, we can bring our failures to Jesus like Peter, we can bring our emergencies to Jesus like Jairus, we can bring our sorrow to Jesus like Martha and Mary, we can cast all of our anxieties onto Jesus. Paul said my God will meet all of your needs according to his riches in Christ Jesus. Thank God for Jesus who came to be with us and identify with us so we can bring Him our every need! Let us remember this Jesus who came to be with us now and forever by His grace.
At Christmas God gave man the most valuable, precious and important gift in history. There is no one like Him. No other Savior. Nothing else and nobody else you get to enjoy forever and ever. The author of O come o come Emmanuel had one response when thinking of Emmanuel God who came with us — he said Rejoice! Rejoice! Let us do so through the rest of today’s program, let us do so with our lives.

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