Matthew 1:21-23 "She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22 Now all this took place to fulfill what wasspoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be withchild and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.”
John 1:14 "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."
In yesterday's post we considered what kind of Person Jesus Christ is revealed to be by way of His name: "Immanuel". As "Immanuel" or "God with us", Jesus Christ came in what has been termed His "incarnation". We noted yesterday what Christians in general and Southern Baptists in particular had to say about this central Biblical truth. Certainly any doctrine that Christians confess to believe must derive from the scriptures. Yesterday's post attempted to demonstrate and explain what is meant when we say that Jesus Christ is the "Incarnate God", revealed in human flesh. Knowing who Jesus is and what kind of Person He is (eternally God with the Father and Son and historically the man, Jesus of Nazareth, beginning 2,000 years ago) is vital in arriving at an accurate understanding of His Person and work. Henceforth that is what we labored to show in yesterday's post. Today we want to consider the life-practical ramifications of Jesus Christ being "Immanuel, God with us".
Why it is important to you and me that Jesus Christ be "Immanuel, God with us".
Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes 1:1-3
"The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. 2 “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” 3 What advantage does man have in all his work which he does under the sun?" As Solomon writes these words from the vantage point of viewing life as if all of existence proceeded along apart from God, he finds that on such a viewpoint, no basis for meaning can be found. By Divine inspiration Solomon issues forth the authoritative scriptural conclusion at the end of his book in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 "The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. 14 For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil." In short, apart from God and the prospect of life beyond this life (i.e immortality), there is no basis, outside of Biblical Christianity, for meaning, value, truth nor purpose.
The human predicament is a phrase used by Christian thinkers to describe human life lived in such a way as to assume the non-existence of God and the denial of life after death. Thinkers such as the late Christian theologian Francis Shaeffer called such an approach to life: "The absurdity of life without God". Both God's existence and the concept of immortality (or life after death) constitute what is the necessary foundation for having meaning, value truth and purpose in this life. This entire issue can only make sense when we come to grips with who Jesus is revealed to be by way of His title: "Immanuel" (which again means "God with us"). Notice how the event of Jesus' incarnation as Immanuel provides the basis for understanding life's meaning and value....
The duties deal with those actions that demand accountability to an ultimate authority. In other words, who has the right to tell me how I ought to live and what I ought to believe and do? Jesus Christ, and His redemption, deliver the power to the person who responds to the quickening work of the Spirit. Hence, Jesus Christ gives us the value of life - since He delivers to us God and the hope of life-after-death.
We've seen today that Jesus Christ as Immanuel is important to you and me, since in His incarnation He delivers to us personal access to God and the reality of life beyond this life by His resurrection from the dead. Such realities delivered to us by Immanuel gives the Christian the basis for which to define life's meaning (i.e significance) and value (i.e. objective moral values and duties). Tomorrow we will consider two other major reasons why Jesus revealed as "Immanuel" is relevant to you.