Monday, November 28, 2016

God With Us: This Changes Everything!

We are so familiar with "God with us" that we don't really consider what that means.

 

Matthew 1:18-25  This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit.  19  Joseph, her fiance, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.

20  As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. "Joseph, son of David," the angel said, "do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit.  21  And she will have a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins."

22  All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord's message through His prophet:  23  "Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call Him Emmanuel, which means 'God is with us.'"  24  When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife.  25  But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named Him Jesus.

The familiarity that we have of the scripture about Christmas makes us tune out early when we hear a sermon or a Sunday school lesson on the subject. The familiar doesn’t speak to us as well as it should, the awesomeness of the Christmas story disappears and the mind blowing reality of the facts disappear.

There are a lot of names and titles given to Jesus but the most significant is Emmanuel, this name which Matthew refers to in his Gospel (Matthew 1:23), was first given to Jesus by the prophet Isaiah 700 years before Jesus birth (Isaiah 7:14).

Slow down and focus for a minute, consider the awesomeness and how mind blowing this phrase is, I want to look at each word of the phrase:

“God With Us”

God

The world cannot come up with enough ways to distract us from the real reason that we celebrate at this time of year. There was a time when almost everybody in the United States knew what the celebration was all about but in today's world the truth about Christmas has been lost.
Luke 2:20  The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.
The one and only true God came into our world! The promise that the prophets shared with us has come to pass. As Jesus grew into a man there was plenty of proof that convinced the people that knew him that he is God.


Many of the other religious systems would tolerate it but the first century Jew was the least likely to worship a human being and yet the Bible tells us that Jesus was being worshiped right after his birth by the angels and then by the shepherds. Even the demons that saw Jesus acknowledged that Jesus is the Son of God.

With

The characters in the Christmas story all knew that God was with them! The very person that all of the Old Testament had been talking about was with them.
John 1:14   So the Word became human and made His home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen His glory, the glory of the Father's one and only Son.
Wasn't God always with the human race?  Yes, God was with us but the baby changes how we relate to God. God, the Creator, has always been with His creation, but the God we see in the Old Testament was always terrifying. 
Exodus 19:16-18  On the morning of the third day, thunder roared and lightning flashed, and a dense cloud came down on the mountain. There was a long, loud blast from a ram's horn, and all the people trembled. Moses led them out from the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. All of Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because the LORD had descended on it in the form of fire. The smoke billowed into the sky like smoke from a brick kiln, and the whole mountain shook violently.
God is with us and he isn’t scary, the baby that is with us in the manger is the polar opposite of God as we see him in the Old Testament, God has removed the veil what Moses wanted to see through. Moses was denied what we have, the terror and fear are gone

The baby changes everything, they were able to approach the child and even hold him in their arms, Moses would wonder why we don't celebrate this amazing event in a manner that is more suitable for the reality of God with us. (2 Corinthians 3:12-18)

In his book the disciple John wants us to know that he was there, he had personal contact with Jesus, he saw what he did, he heard him teach and he touched a real physical body. John believed and he wished that his readers might come to the same conclusion that he had. (1 John 1:1-4)

Us

Who is the us that God came to be with? The rich and powerful were not chosen to be the ones that God revealed the child to. The dirty, the weary and oppressed, people that were hungry and desperate, those are the people that Jesus came to be with.

The spiritually hungry people that come to Jesus with nothing, no works or defense for their sin. We must come to God on his terms, see ourselves the way that he sees us and then we will be able to receive great gifts from him.
This Changes Everything
Galatians 4:4-7 But when the right time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, subject to the law.  5 God sent Him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that He could adopt us as His very own children.

6 And because we are His children, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, "Abba, Father."  7 Now you are no longer a slave but God's own child. And since you are His child, God has made you His heir.
A baby changes everything but not every baby changes things as much as baby Jesus this child had an affect on world history. Jesus didn't just change world history, my desperate situation is completely gone and now as God's son I am an heir of the kingdom. My personal history had me destined to bear the punishment that was bore by Jesus. The baby can change your history as well!

Christmas is all about getting near him, just look at what he did to get close to you, God kept his promise to us. How can we ignore such an opportunity to be in close fellowship with our creator?

It will cost me some time, I will have to get out of bed earlier, I will have to find a quiet place to meet with him, and push aside all of the distractions. But who cares! The chance to meet with God is an amazing opportunity that we should take advantage of. It is amazing that we let it go without much concern.

"Christmas Changes Everything" by Josh Wilson

God with us changes everything, I can relate with him in a the most intimate, personal relationship imaginable with Him. I can approach God without shame or fear, I can depend on Him for all things and walk daily knowing that God is with me.

I need to take the time to really ponder the reality of God with us, I need to make the familiar story fresh again and see it with new eyes.

RELATED ARTICLES
God With Us (redeemer.com)
Why Did Christ Come (desiringgod.org)