As a young child during the Christmas season there was an elaborate and very beautiful manger scene that took up a whole corner of the church I attended. To my child eyes it was beautiful, really, a thing of awe. I have never seen anything like it since.
Every year during the Christmas season the children would line up and stroll past this scene singing a song of triumph. I think the song is entitled “Strains of Triumph.” My family lived in a multi-ethnic community, we were among the Polish group, so I should clarify that we sang this song in Polish. I hear it in my head, with only snatches of remembered words, but I clearly remember the word for triumph.
It was a song about the triumph that came from God becoming a man! And there, encapsulated in that procession of children and their worship song, you have the true cause for celebration – the incarnation.
God With Us – Immanuel
Immanuel is a name given to Jesus by God. This name encapsulates the incarnation. When Joseph heard the name spoken by the angel, he believed and obeyed.
“Behold, the virgin will hold in womb, and will bring forth a son, and they will call His name Immanuel” which is, being translated, “God with us.” And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife.” Matthew 1:23 BLB Matthew 1:24 NASB
Sometimes we can be as confused as Joseph was in regards to who Jesus is. At times I may even wonder what is God’s intent towards me and purpose for me. I think meditating on this truth of Immanuel, God becoming man, will strengthen my faith in the love of God for man, and His desire to know me and have a relationship with me.
God went through great lengths to show us that He desires to be with us and have a relationship with us.
God, the majestic, all powerful, the Creator and king of the universe, the source of all life and light, the all sovereign God became a “speck,” a single cell zygote in a human womb for you and me.
There are numerous passages of scripture that confirm this truth and define the purpose of God becoming man. These passages reveal in detail the deep love of God for us and His desire to be in a relationship with us. Let’s review some of these passages.
Immanuel, God in the flesh, purchased us with His blood.
- Keep watch over yourselves and the entire flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood. Acts 20:28
- He (God) is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. Ephesians 1:7
Immanuel, God in the flesh, had a physical body that could bleed, die and then be resurrected.
- Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Hebrews 2:14
- For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the spirit 1 Peter 3:18
- But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy, unblemished, and blameless in His presence—Col. 1:22
- By His power God raised the Lord from the dead, and He will raise us also. 1 Cor. 6:14
Immanuel, God with us, had a body that could suffer on our behalf.
- He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.“ 1 Peter 2:24
- But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5
Jesus is God in the flesh, Immanuel. Why did God come down in the flesh? Why was He born as a man so many years ago? The answer is throughout the scriptures but is very clear in Ephesians 3:12
- In Him (Jesus) and through faith in Him we may enter God’s presence with boldness and confidence. Ephesians 3:12
God became man and did for us what we could not do for ourselves. Immanuel became the “sin offering” for us, His blood atoned for our sin. He did this so that we could be in a relationship with God and enjoy fellowship with Him.
This truth of “God with us” is carefully documented for us. 1 John 1:1-4 describes the documentation of the Word become flesh- Immanuel, and it clearly states the purpose of God becoming a man.
“We proclaim to you the One who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw Him with our own eyes and touched Him with our own hands. He is the Word of life.
This One who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen Him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us.
We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy.”
Whether you know the exact month or day that Jesus was born is not so important. Whether you follow those who think Jesus was born in a lean to stable or whether he was born in the lower floor of a house which was reserved for the animals is not so important. Whether you understand the origins of the “Christ-mass” holiday is not so important.
What is important is the truth that God became man in Immanuel. God became man for the explicit purpose of suffering, bleeding, dying, being buried and raised from the dead. He became the sin offering for us, so that we could have access to fellowship with God.
God went through great lengths to draw me to Him. Will I value and appreciate the humility and love of God? Will I choose to die to my “self” and live in friendship with God? What about you?