“But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is con- ceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). “Matthew 1.18-23
Immanuel, God with us. When asking “Who is Jesus?” we must examine who he is in light of God’s activity in the world. And God’s activity centered on a virgin, a carpenter named Joseph, and some angels.
What does it mean for God to be with us? For centuries God was silent. Since the exile until John the Baptist comes on the scene, God was quiet. No prophets, no miracles, no word from the God of the Universe interacting with his people. And then all of a sudden, God shows up in a big way. He shows up to save us. He enters humanity to help us. He is born so he might bear our sins. Immanuel – God with us.
Who is Jesus? He is one in whom angels enter dreams and sway men to break the law for the sake of love. He is one who is born to one conceived by the Holy Spirit, to a virgin, a woman pure and undefiled by man. Jesus is one who enters our human experience and exposes us for who we are as broken and contrite people.
An angel appears to Joseph son of David telling him not to be afraid but to take Mary as his wife. For the Holy Spirit has come upon her and she will give birth to a son, and this boy’s name is to be called Jesus because he will “save his people from their sins” (v.21).
Who is Jesus? He is pure light. Unmovable majesty. Perfect harmony. A gift from the Father. He is near to us. No longer a God of distance and unreachable heights, God has come near. Im- manuel — God with us.
Have you encountered this God? Have you sought his face? Have you turned his way? Have you said, “Lord have your way with me?” This God doesn’t hide his face from his people but wants to be known by us. We love him because he first loved us. This is who Jesus is — a God who is near, a God who loves, a God who stirs up angels and fulfills prophecies.
He is a God for us. A God who is on our side. Wanting us to know him and to be known by him. Immanuel. This is who he is. God with us.
“O Lord, help me to understand your ways. Help me understand what it means to walk with you. To trod where angels have walked, to gaze upon your beauty, to known your name and to seek your face. Come now, Lord Jesus, and have my heart. I desire to walk in the light and to be in fellowship with you. I praise you, Lord, and exalt for your name. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen
- Seek his face. What does it look like for God to draw near to you?
- Pray walk with God. Take time to talk, to listen and to pray to God as you walk or run.