Sunday, December 25, 2016

God with us



Several hundred years before the birth of Christ under the inspiration of God, the prophet Isaiah wrote:

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

Over two thousand years ago under the inspiration of the same God, Matthew wrote . . .

But as he (Joseph) considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus. (Matthew 1:20–25)

About forty-five years ago, under the direction of the Holy Spirit of God, Jesus Christ came to live in my heart. He came into history from outside; He came into my life from outside. He made me a ‘Bethlehem’ for the Son of God and I was born from above by a birth unlike natural birth.

Chambers says that “You must be born again” (John 3) is not a command but a fact of redemption. It is not about what I do, or even whether or not I was asking God to make this happen (I was not asking; no one told me that I must ask). This was an act of God that called ‘redemption’ — a totally surprising act just as was the incarnation. God predicted it, but it was and still is a surprise to me. Both the incarnation and redemption are events so astonishing that many cannot accept or believe that they are reality.

Immanuel means “God with us” and “Jesus” means “Jehovah is salvation.” He entered our world to save us from our sin. Jesus, God with us, is the Babe whose birth we celebrate today! He is the most amazing reality!

Merry Christmas!

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