Matthew 1:21-23. “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS, for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying 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”.
Isaiah 7:14 says, “Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign, the Virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel.”
The purpose of Jesus’ birth is to save, but how will that take place? How do you expect God to help you? The Jewish religious establishment had some ideas about how God could help His people. God could give military liberation and kingly rule. The Messiah would destroy a hostile world, lead the people of Israel to power, and rule them brilliantly. Or the Messianic reign would mean a time of economic prosperity. God could give them peace – a time when Israel was neither oppressed nor at war.
How will God help us? How will he save us? Both biblical texts proclaim the same truth, namely that “PRESENCE” is the way of God’s salvation – “Immanuel, God with us”. The passage in Isaiah 7 is not referring directly to the birth of Christ, but it makes the same point that Christ’s birth was to make some seven-hundred plus years later. The only promise that God made to Ahaz was a sign of His abiding PRESENCE. This is the only promise God ever makes to His followers. We never walk alone. The promise of God’s PRESENCE with His people is ultimately and uniquely fulfilled in the advent of Jesus! His birth is heralded as “Immanuel, God with us”. The birth of this child brings the PRESENCE of God near to us. PRESENCE is the way of God’s salvation!
How do God help us? “Immanuel, God with us”! The three ways God ministers to us through the gift of PRESENCE:
- God’s Presence establishes communication between God and man
- God’s Presence gives meaning to human existence
- God’s Presence provides redemption
“In God’s Presence is the fullness of Joy”. A seminary professor had a poster on his wall in his office that showed hills of sand with a set of human footprints. The poem on the poster contained a conversation between a man and God. The man complained that God had promised never to leave or forsake him; yet when he looked backed on his life, he noticed that during the tough and difficult times, there was only on set of tracks rather than the customary two. The man wanted to know why God chose the difficult times to leave him. God responded that during the tough times, when there was only one set of prints, it was then that god had shouldered the burden and carried him on His shoulders. Immanuel, God with us. What a mighty God!
Because He Is – I Am