Our Series this December is called Christmas Names of God. We can’t talk about those names, without talking about this verse: “‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us’” (Matt. 1:23). We know from this verse that Immanuel means “God with us.” In his dying words, John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church, said, “Best of all, God is with us.” Let’s unpack what those three words mean.
God – Providence
False teachers and false religions believe in Jesus, but they do not believe He is God. The core of Christianity is who Jesus is. If He is not God, then His life and death were no different than any ordinary man. Jesus said, “Me and my Father are one” and “If you have seen me you have seen the Father.” The skeptics say that the Hebrew word “virgin” simply means young maiden. Yes, but the context says it would be a sign (Matthew is quoting from Isaiah 7:14). A woman having a baby is amazing! I’ve seen Tammy do it three times. However, the stars did not change their course in the sky when we had our babies. Wise men did not follow a star and come bow down. Why? Our kids were not virgin born! Isaiah’s point in this is that a cosmic sign is coming when a virgin will give birth to Immanuel, God with us. Jesus is God! Look at John 1:1, John 10:30, Titus 2:13, Hebrews 1:8, and 1 John 5:20 and you will see.
Jesus walked on water. He told the storm and wind to stop and they did. He healed and forgave sins. God with us is present tense. God is present, so don’t be tense. Relax. He is ahead of you, behind you, above you, below you, and surrounding you. I don’t know what you are going through this Christmas or where you have been, but God is still God and God is with you!
With – Presence
Some people question if there is a God. Others question, if there is a God is He with us. There is a God and the greatest gift He can give to us is Himself. His presence. The greatest gift a spouse can give their mate is presence. The greatest gift parents can give their children is presence. God is with us. He is not just a Christmas and Easter God. He is a 365-days-a-year God. He is not just a Sunday God, He is there every day of the week. God is with you in your relationships, your marriage, at your job, in your car, at the gym, and on the field. He is with you at the mall, grocery store, doctor’s office, hospital, ER, nursing home, and retirement center. His perpetual presence is with us all the time, in the good times and bad. This world can take a lot of things from you but it cannot take God from you. He tabernacles with us. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:16-17, “At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me… But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me….” God is with you, in you, through you and for you!
Us – People
“Us” is just ordinary people. Not the good people, not the people who have it all together, not the pretty people, not the people who get their act together, just people. There is no criteria. I don’t know if you are going to get what you want for Christmas this year, but you have the greatest gift, God with us. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. You are never going to see a day when you wake up and God does not show up. He will never leave you and will never forsake you. Immanuel is God with us.
In the parking lot of Wal-Mart, I talked to a guy who said he had backslidden and gotten away from God. I told him, “All of us are just one step away from stupid!” He smiled. Then, I said, “But you are also just one step away from God.” We are all either going one direction or the other. Which way are you going? Towards God or away from Him? Immanuel God came into our world so one day we can come into His world.