The Mystery of Immanuel

 

Isn’t it wonderful to be able to pause for a moment and reflect on the mystery and the wonder of our God?

C. S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity, wrote these words: “The second person in God, the Son, became human Himself: was born into the world as an actual man—a real man of a particular height, with hair of a particular color, speaking a particular language, weighing so many pounds. The Eternal Being, who knows everything and who created the whole universe, became not only a man but (before that) a baby, and before that a fetus inside a woman’s body.”

If one of us were God, is that the way we would have done it? Would we have made that plan to rescue lost mankind? Would we have sent the Redeemer in a manger, wrapped in strips of swaddling cloth? Would we have had Him born in a stable built for animals? Would we have had His first visitors be the hated shepherds of the hillside?

The Meaning of Immanuel
We may never comprehend the mystery of it, but we understand the meaning of it. God with us.
What Christmas reveals to us is that we have a God who has condescended in the midst of our suffering, and He has come to help us and share with us and enable us to face it and conquer it.

We Have the Confidence to Face the Challenges of Life

Hebrews 13:5–6. “Let you conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we can boldly say, ‘The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’”

Psalm 27:1. “The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?”

Psalm 118:6. “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

Isaiah 43:2–3. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place.”

We Are Certain that Our Prayers are Heard and Understood

Aren’t you glad that when you pray you have someone who hears and understands you and knows what you feel? Why does Christ know that?

Hebrews 4:15–16.  “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

We Have the Courage to Serve Him in Difficult Places

Christianity is not about religion. It is about a relationship. If you have a relationship with Jesus Christ and you are serving Him in a tough place, you better know Immanuel. Because you can’t do that by yourself. You have to have God with you. It has always been that way.

Exodus 4:12. [God speaking to Moses] “Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.”

Joshua 1:9. [God speaking to Joshua] “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Jeremiah 1:8. [God speaking to the prophet Jeremiah] “‘Do not be afraid of their faces, For I am with you to deliver you,’” says the LORD.”

Matthew 28:20. [Jesus speaking to the disciples] “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.”

Christianity is unique among the world’s religions in proposing that there is no way that man can, through anything he does, ever reach God; but that God, in His infinite love and mercy, became man in order to rescue any who would be rescued.

This concept not only is foreign to the world’s religions, but in Islam is considered to be blasphemy. Nowhere is this more vividly displayed than in the Arabic statement emblazoned on the outside of the Dome of the Rock, which stands over the location of the Holy of Holies on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

It reads: “Allah is God, Allah is One. He was not born, nor did He beget.”

Hence the hopelessness of those who do not recognize Immanuel, “God With Us.”

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Trust is the winsome wedding of faith and hope.

Brennan Manning

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