Summary: what this sign of emmanuel means for us
GOD IS WITH US…
18Now this is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. 19Joseph, her fiance, being a just man, decided to break the engagement quietly, so as not to disgrace her publicly.
20As he considered this, he fell asleep, and an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. "Joseph, son of David," the angel said, "do not be afraid to go ahead with your marriage to Mary. For the child within her has been conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." 22All of this happened to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:
"Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
She will give birth to a son,
and he will be called Immanuel
(meaning, God is with us)."
24When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord commanded. He brought Mary home to be his wife, 25but she remained a virgin until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus. Matthew 1:18-25 (NLT)
Illustration: See pictures of babies.
Cute, enchanting, aww… don’t u just want to pick them up? Are u drawn to them? Do u feel your heart melt? Do u see a smile on your face?
Today’s bible reading in Matthew 1 is so designed by God to melt away our hardened hearts, do u see God as a baby coming up close in the flesh. Vulnerable… When he was born, he was placed in a manger, where animals go to eat. Placed in a manger, how precarious that is. Imagine today’s safety police if they would hear of it, they would cry child abuse. What kind of daycare is this you are running here, eh Joe and Mary? These days if you don’t have the right kind of booster seat, or baby seat, you can be ticketed by the police.
Back to the manger, who knows what could happened, a cow that suddenly falls while feeding could easily have squashed a little fragile baby. Have you gone to a barn? It doesn’t smell good, does it? Why? He could have come as a full grown adult, and miss out on the trials of being lost while his busy parents forgot all about him, he could have missed out on puberty, he could have , couldn’t he? But God chose to come that way…. God is in our world, with us! He has come, and as a vulnerable baby, that cries when he needs a change or gets hungry. WOW! How it speaks powerfully of God’s determination to be with us humans.
This month, Charles Colson, on his radio commentary called Breakpoint spoke about a new TV project produced by the famous movie maker Steven Spielberg called Steven Spielberg Presents Taken. Apparently, it was aired for twenty hours on ten consecutive weeknights, on the Sci-Fi channel in the US. One critic mentioned that this series was "the most ambitious sci-fi epic ever produced." As u may know from the title, the subject of the series Taken is - Aliens regularly come to Earth, abduct ordinary people, take them to their ships, and then return them. Colson noted: “While twenty hours may seem a bit excessive, it really isn’t when we understand what lies behind our interest in the subject.” You see, people’s interest in the subject stems from this – people are looking for God, or trying to find a substitute answer to God. Their search led them to think maybe our origins are not from monkeys, because they have seen that the theory of evolution is falling apart. There is no physical evidence of a missing link to be found anywhere in the world in the fossil record. So how do u explain us, if we reject the Bible? There must be a cause- maybe, just maybe, there’s an explanation if we look to the skies and into outer space, long long ago in far, far away galaxy.
So the haunting question of humans “Are we alone in the universe?” remains and Spielberg is trying to answer it by believing in Aliens. Apparently many intelligent folks are doing the same… John Mack, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and a Pulitzer Prize winner for his 1977 biography of Lawrence of Arabia, wrote a new book - Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens. Colson noted: “The book is based on interviews with his patients who believe they were kidnapped by aliens. Under hypnosis, these people supposedly recovered "repressed memories" of those past experiences. They "remembered," for example, that the aliens were short, gray creatures with spindly legs and large, triangular heads who take people aboard their spacecraft. These aliens are not only more technologically advanced than we humans, but they are also spiritually superior.” Mack really believes his patients’ story and therefore he published them and he said "some powerful intelligence is trying to intervene in human affairs."