Summary: The message of Christmas is that God is with us.

Maranatha Tabernacle Church of God

381 Manton Avenue Providence RI 02909

God is with us

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

An outstanding fact about Jesus that distinguishes Him from everyone else is that He is the one person in the history of the world of whom explicit details of His birth, life, death and resurrection were given centuries beforehand. A precise description of Jesus was given by more than twenty different people centuries before he was born. One such prophecy was His name.

We read in the Bible that God revealed the names of some individuals even before they were born. The first such person was Isaac , the second was Ishmael , the third was Moses, fourthly Solomon, fifth was Josiah , the sixth was John the Baptist and the seventh is (Jesus the Christ or) Immanuel who is God with us. John 1:1 clearly explains who Jesus Christ is: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Verse 14 of John reads: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” Theologically, this is called the incarnation of Christ. The incarnation is the doctrine that the eternal second person of the Trinity became a human being and assumed flesh in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus Christ was the “Word made flesh” (John1:14). This doctrine holds that Jesus was one divine person with both a divine and a human nature.

In my theological musings, I have discovered various doctrinal points of view concerning Jesus. One such viewpoint is called the “dynamic incarnation” which argues that in essence Jesus Christ was not (ontologically) truly God but that the influence and power of God was operative within Him to a high degree. However the prophet Isaiah said his name was Immanuel, God with us. I also read of a group called Jews for Jesus. There are at least two types of Jews for Jesus. The first group believes that Christ came in the flesh as the God-man. Besides their Judaic cultural trappings, these Messianic Jews are no different to Evangelicals. Next there are those Jews for Jesus who believe that Jesus was the Messiah but He was not Divine, merely a human being . However according to all that I have seen in scripture and that I have read of Jewish customs and history, there has always been expectancy by the Jewish nation for the arrival of the Messiah, the Anointed One. In fact at times the Jews seemed so gullible by going after all kinds of strange characters that promised to rescue them from their oppressors.

Their ideas about Messiah ranged from ridiculous to sublime. Some were of the opinion that Messiah would be a warrior king. Others saw Messiah in a mere political role. Nevertheless a majority understood that Messiah would be someone sent by God. Orthodox Judaism as espoused by the Pharisees and Sadducees taught that Messiah is the Son of God or God incarnate. That is why the Jewish prophet Isaiah, who wrote some 600 years before Christ declared in our text: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”(Isaiah 7:14).

The very word Immanuel literally refers to the presence of God. God’s presence with humans is not a novel idea. God was with Adam in the Garden of Eden in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8). God was with Noah while he was in the ark. (Genesis 8:1 said “God remembered Noah…”) God was with Abraham in Mamre and he gave him a son. God was with Jacob even when his brother hated him and wanted to kill him but God delivered him.

God was with Joseph when his brothers sold him into slavery. Joseph went to Egypt as a slave. In all his troubles God was with him. God was with him in the pit where his brothers first threw him. God was with him in Potiphar’s house where he refused Potiphar’s wife. She then orchestrated things and had Joseph thrown in prison. But God was with him in the prison. Then God took him from the prison to Pharaoh’s palace, and God was with him all the way.

God was with Moses when he was a baby and his mother put him in a basket on the River Nile. God was with him when Pharaoh’s daughter rescued him from the Nile and took him to live in Pharaoh’s palace. God was with him while he lived as a fugitive in the Midian desert. God was with him when he went to Egypt and told Pharaoh to let God’s people go. God was with him when he stood at the Red Sea, Mountains on both sides, Pharaoh’s army behind, and no place to run. God was with him and God parted the Red Sea. God was with Joshua at the fall of the Jericho wall. God was with Gideon when he routed the Midianites. God was with Deborah when she led Israel to victory against Jabin’s army.

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