Advent – Immanuel ~ 20111218 ~ Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org
12/18 Advent – Immanuel – God With Us
Jesus is Immanuel – God With Us
Christmas is one week away! In this advent season, I want us to turn our eyes to Jesus. Today, I want to reflect on one of the names given to Jesus. That name is Immanuel. It comes from Isaiah 7:14
Matthew quotes this prophecy as being fulfilled in Jesus.
Jesus' conception was supernatural. Jesus had no human father. Mary was a virgin. “That which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” And Matthew tells us that the Hebrew name Immanuel means God with us. Jesus is Immanuel; God with us.
The implications of this stagger the imagination! God with us. God the Creator of the universe, born of a virgin. God in human flesh. Luke puts it this way:
Overshadowed by the power of the Most High – God the Father; and God the Holy Spirit – so that the child to be born will be the Son of God. John puts it this way:
John tells us that 'the Word' was in the beginning. 'The Word' existed before all creation. 'The Word was with God' – distinct from God the Father – a perfect companion of the Father. 'The Word' was with God, and 'The Word' was God – fully divine, sharing all the attributes and characteristics of God. 'The Word' was distinct from the Father, and yet fully divine. John continues by saying that 'the Word' became something he was not before.
'The Word' became flesh. 'The Word' became tissue, bone and blood. He who existed from eternity with God and as God, now took on a human body. God became flesh. God dwelt among us, or literally 'pitched his tent with us'. Immanuel – God with us. John goes on to say:
No One Has Ever Seen God
This is an absolute statement. No one has ever seen God. Period. Paul tells us of the Father:
No one has ever seen or can see God, because he dwells in unapproachable light. No one can see God the Father, because, as Jesus tells us, “God is Spirit” (Jn.4:24; cf. Jn.5:37, 6:46). No one can see the Father because, as Paul tells us in Colossians, God is invisible. But he says of Jesus, God the Son, that:
Jesus is the image of the invisible God. Jesus, the only God who is at the Father's side has made know to us the Father. The word John uses is interesting. Jesus has made known or literally exegeted the Father. We usually use this word exegete in reference to a biblical text. It is a Greek word that means 'to lead out'. You take a biblical passage and study it carefully so that you can lead out to make known or put on display the truth that is in it. Jesus exegetes the Father. He puts on display what the invisible God is like. The author of Hebrews says that God's fullest revelation of himself is in his Son, who is “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (Heb.1:3).
Jesus is God. He is fully God. He was with God and he was God. But Jesus is God with us. He became human so that he could make know to us what God is like. Jesus is “the radiance of the glory of God.” He is the shining forth of the excellencies of God. He puts his Father on display. He is the exact imprint of the nature of the Father. Jesus tells us as much in John:
Jesus puts the Father's nature on display so precisely that he can say “whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” To know Jesus is to know God.
So in the time we have left, let's turn our eyes to our Jesus, Immanuel, God with us, to get a clearer picture of what God is like. Understand, that studying the gospels and the other New Testament documents to see Jesus, to get to know him, to deepen affection and admiration of him, to enjoy relationship with him, is a lifetime project. We will only be able barely to scratch the surface in a broad overview sort of way.
As we have seen in the verses we have looked at so far, Jesus reveals to us that God, in his very nature and essence, is triune. Jesus speaks of his Father, and the coming Holy Spirit. God is Father, Son, and Spirit, in eternal relationship and fellowship. Three distinct persons, each fully divine, constitute the one sovereign being we refer to as 'God'.
One thing we learn about God through Jesus is that he is omnipotent, or all-powerful. He is the one who has absolute control over all things. He is the sovereign supreme ruler. All created things must obey him.
Another thing Jesus teaches us about God is that he is omnipresent, or everywhere present. He is not confined to be only in one place at a time. God, who is spirit, fills time and space. There is nowhere that he is not. This is how Jesus can say to twelve men and their followers who would scatter across the globe:
Jesus teaches us that God is omniscient. He knows everything. He knows what will happen in the distant future. He knows what is in the hearts of men.
Jesus teaches that God is the Living One. He is eternal. As we saw in the earlier verses, he eternally existed. He has no beginning and will have no end. He is. Jesus said “I AM” (Jn.8:24, 58).
Not only is God the eternal Living One, he is the Life Giver. He gives life to whom he will. He is the fountain and source of life. All life comes from him.
Jesus taught that God is holy, distinct, separate, set apart, totally other, one-of-a-kind. Even the demons recognized in Jesus a uniqueness – he is in a category by himself.
Jesus showed us that God is perfect. He lacks no good quality. He is not deficient in any way.
Jesus teaches us that God is truth. God is entirely trustworthy. He never lies. His word is true. He will keep his promises.
Jesus demonstrates that God is passionate about his own glory. He zealously defends the honor of his own name. He will tolerate no rivals. For the good of his people, he will violently take action against those who misrepresent him.
Jesus teaches us that God is a God of anger and wrath. But God is not capricious or volatile. He is slow to anger, and his anger is righteous anger, mixed with compassionate sorrow over the effects of sin.
In the well known passage describing the love of God, Jesus also warns of the wrath of God.
God intensely hates sin. God is to be feared, his wrath is terrifying, but his wrath can be escaped. He has provided a way.
When the religious leaders brought a woman to Jesus for judgment,
Jesus taught that God is just. He does not show favoritism. His judgments are true and righteous.
But he also taught that God is merciful and compassionate, eager to forgive. To this woman who was clearly guilty, he said:
Jesus taught us that God is love. Before the world was created, God, Father, Son and Spirit, lived in an eternal relationship of genuine love. Jesus also teaches us what love is.
God's love is not a romantic feeling of attraction, but self-sacrificial action for the good of the one loved, regardless of how little they deserve it.
Jesus went to the cross to demonstrate God's self-giving love.
We have merely scratched the surface of what God is like as revealed in the person of Jesus, or Immanuel, God with us. I invite you to make it your life-long pursuit to deepen your affection and devotion for God by becoming a disciple, a follower of Jesus