Summary: A sermon that examines the ways in which Immanuel is with us.
"The Wonder Of With"
Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
INTRODUCTION: In what sense is God "with" us? With is a preposition and is "a member of a set of words used in close connection with, and usually before, nouns and pronouns to show their relation to another part of a clause. An example is "off" in "He fell off his bike" and "What did he fall off? If you search "with" in a dictionary you will find that with has 18 different uses! (Encarta Dictionary) but don't panic because I don't have time this morning to go into all the details. I want to use the first one mentioned and it means "In company of," and is used to "indicate that somebody is accompanying or is in the company of another person or people, or that something is accompanying something else." This begs the question, in what way is Emmanuel (God) with us.
I. IN THE PERENNIAL SENSE (He has always been with us)
II. IN THE PROPHETIC SENSE (He is promised to come to us)
III. IN THE PHYSICAL SENSE (He came to us)
IV. IN THE PERSONAL SENSE (He will come to us)
The Wesleyan Bible Commentary, 1986. p. 221
"The eternal one, caught in a moment of time.
The Omnipresence corralled in a cave manger.
The Omnipotent cradled in a helpless infant who could not even raise His head from the straw.
The Omniscience confined in a baby who would not say a word.
The Christ who created the heavens and the earth cradled in a manger in a cave stable.
For when God would draw near to a cold, cruel, sinful, suffering humanity, he placed a baby in a manger in Bethlehem."
GOD WITH US
ILL: Count Zinzendorf, the founder of the Moravians, was converted in an art gallery in Dusseldorf while contemplating a painting of Christ on the cross which had the inscription, "I did this for thee. What hast thou done for me?" This picture had been painted by an artist three hundred years before.
When he had finished his first sketch of the face of the Redeemer, this artist called in his landlady's little daughter and asked her who she thought it was. The girl looked at it and said, "It is a good man." The painter knew that he had failed.
He destroyed the first sketch and, after praying for greater skill, finished a second. Again he called the little girl in and asked her to tell him whom she thought the face represented. This time the girl said that she thought it looked like a great sufferer. Again the painter knew that he had failed, and again he destroyed the sketch he had made.
After meditation and prayer, he made a third sketch. When it was finished, he called the girl in a third time and asked her who it was. Looking at the portrait, the girl exclaimed, "It is the Lord!"
That alone makes the coming of Christ meaningful to the world--not that a good man came, not that a wise teacher came, not that a great sufferer came, but that God came--Immanuel, God with us.
(From a sermon by Joshua Hetrick, "The Superiority of Christ Priesthood" 7/4/2009)