All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son,
and they will call Him Immanuel" – which means, 'God with us.'
Everything hinges on this. If it's true, it changes everything. If it’s not true, all hope is in vain. What am I talking about? I'm talking about Jesus as Immanuel, 'God with us.' I'm talking about this miracle that the Bible proclaims and that believers have confessed for centuries: that the baby born in Bethlehem, placed in a manger, announced by angels, worshiped both by common shepherds and stately wise men – that this one called Jesus really truly is GOD in the flesh.
If this Jesus was simply an ordinary baby who grew up to be just another 'good man' (or even the best of men), well, the world has seen plenty of those, and not one of them has been able to strike even a single sin from his own record or from yours or from mine. And not one of them has been able to rescue us from the death sentence that we are all aware of deep down within us. "No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him – the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough – that he should live on forever and not see decay." (Psalm 49:7-9)
It was necessary that God give us more than a 'good man.'
It was necessary that God give us Himself, sending His Son to be our Savior.
This is what God promised.
And this is what God did.
This is what the Bible proclaims. And so this is what believers have confessed for centuries, that Jesus, 'for us and our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary, and became fully human.' (The Nicene Creed)
Remember how I said that if this is not true, then all hope is in vain? If this is not true, then 'for us and for our salvation' is lost.
But is that why believers confess this Jesus as Immanuel, as God in the flesh, because of a desperate necessity to do so? Is it some sort of have-to because of the hopeless alternative? C. S. Lewis once wrote, 'I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.' I don’t believe that Jesus is God in the flesh because I have to, but because by that truth…I see!
I see that only God Himself could pay for my sins.
I see that my sins truly are fully forgiven.
I see that my guilt and shame are swallowed up in His grace and mercy.
I see that I have eternal life.
All this and more is clear to me because 'for us and for our salvation, [He] came down from heaven.'
Remember how I said that if this is true, it changes everything? I pray that this proclamation of Jesus as Immanuel, 'God with us,' changes everything for you today.
See how the blessings of Christmas extend throughout the year to fill your everyday life!
Follow "The ABC's of Christmas" series:
INTRO, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X
Questions or Comments? CLICK HERE TO CONTACT DANIEL.
Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church
Daniel is the Staff Minister at Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, El Paso TX.