“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His Name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” Matthew 2:23 (NASB)
Merry Christmas. Did you ever think you’d see the day that would be a taboo topic in America? This is not a political message though. I simply want to stand up for Jesus, the Christ, Immanuel, as He stood up for me. His name will be called….
Names are so important, aren’t they? All my children’s names had a special meaning to me. My mom never chose my name. She allowed other people to name all her children. I couldn’t do that. A name is too important. It bestows a blessing on the child. It tells us who we are to be. We may, or may not, live up to our names.
Jesus has the most important name of all. The angel told Joseph to give Him that name (Matthew 2:21). Acts 4:12 tells us “there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” Jesus was actually a rather common name at the time, rather like “John Smith” today The name means Savior. It goes all the way back in the Old Testament to Joshua, who led the people in battle as they conquered Canaan. In many countries, it’s still a popular name. There may have been many through the centuries who’ve had the name. Some, like Joshua, may have even saved people or countries for a time, at least. But there’s only one Jesus who can save for all of eternity.
Jesus has many other names, and all of them tell us something about Him. The angel also told Joseph that His Name would be Immanuel. Immanuel means “God with us.” That one, no one but God Himself could live up to. Think about it. The God of the Universe stepped out of heaven to spend 33 years walking on this earth living, teaching, and dying as a mortal man, the unique God-man. He faced trials and temptations that would slay any of us. He laughed. He wept. He suffered. And He died. But praise God, that’s not the end of the story! Because He was God with us, He also arose to conquer death!
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize one of the most precious gifts I can give anyone is time. We only have 24 hours in each day, and we get to choose how we spend it. We’re never promised tomorrow. My mom, dad, godparents, grandparents, and daughter are all gone now. My daughter only had 27 years on this earth. All I have left of any of them is memories of the time I spent with them. Those who followed Jesus knew the truth of Who He was. He had spent His time here with them. There is no way they would have died as martyrs for anyone but the Messiah who was God-with-them even in the most extreme situations. They knew Whom they believed!
The amazing thing is that we can also have that same God-With-Us, Immanuel. Just like He walked with the disciples, He had already walked with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace, and through the Holy Spirit, He will walk with us in any trial we may face. He knows what we’re going through. As the kids say, “He feels our pain.” And He empowers to get through those trials. We don’t have to go it alone! I would have never made it through these last eight years without Jesus! He is my Immanuel! I know Whom I have believed too.
This Christmas, I urge anyone who doesn’t know my Jesus, my Immanuel, the Christ of Christmas day, and every day, to seek Him. He promises, if you earnestly seek, you will find Him. He isn’t hiding. He’s right there. In fact, He’s seeking you. His hand is outstretched, offering the gift of Life. All you have to do is receive it. Merry Christmas.
Taboo Tuesday Question of the Day: What has Jesus walked with you through lately?