And He Shall Be Called, Jesus (Day 20)
“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. 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.’” (Matthew 1:22, 23)
The Message of the Manger calls us back to God. “Come close. Come back to me. Return to the Lord your God.” Yesterday we saw that God had a PROMISED plan to send a Savior to deliver his people from their bondage and sin. In spite of the many promises, the Old Testament ends with a whimper.
Israel has been weakened, and searches for a return to glory but that does not seem to be a reality to be grasped. It is an quiet uneventful close to the OT that leaves us unfulfilled. We ache for a better ending to their story. We long for a better ending to our own story. There has to be another chapter, another volume. This can’t be how it all ends. Then 400 years of silence.
With a few page turns, we transition from the OT to the NT (New Testament). We will discover a new chapter, a new book comprised of 27 smaller books (9 different authors) that uniquely weave and tell the “rest of the story” of God’s redeeming plan. Matthew first introduces the Hero of our story – Jesus Christ. He has come from a long line of relatives all the way back to King David and Abraham. Hmmmm… this is the Promised One.
A confused man named Joseph was told his fiancé is pregnant with God’s child. An angel is sent to focus Joseph’s heart and mind: “(Mary) will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins. 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.’” (Matthew 1:22, 23)
He shall be called Jesus… They will call Him Immanuel. In these names, we are connected to the very power and grace of Mary’s baby. His name is Jesus, meaning “savior” as He has come to forgive and remove our sin. God’s Son had come to give his life to pay the price to remove the barrier that separated us from God. He also shall be called “Immanuel” meaning “God with Us.” Jesus our Savior would deal with our sin pso we could come into His Presence again; The One who welcomes us back into the Presence of God is Immanuel – He is the Presence of God.
So a baby in a manger was God in the flesh. It wasn’t commandments in a manger or a prophet in the manger who had come to speak for God. No, this child was not just a messenger from God. He was and is GOD! Jesus was God’s messenger and message. As a child, he was close enough for you to get your arms around Him. As God, He was and is more than big enough to get His arms around you. Jesus is our Immanuel. He invites us to come closer to Him until we find ourselves once again in the presence of God.
·Can you hear God calling your heart to “Come back, and return to Him? What does it look like for you to do that right now?
·Do you understand that the Old Testament is an incredible book recording God’s work and his plan that falls flat at the end simply because it leaves the problems unresolved and the promises unfulfilled?
·Do you believe God is always good to remember His promises and finish what He started?
ACTIVATE YOUR FAITH
·Take some time to pray and ask God to show you any area and way in which you need to return to Him.
·Acknowledge Jesus as Savior and Immanuel, God with us. As you call on His name slowly and intentionally, focus on the reality that Jesus is God with you. You will find God ‘s presence right with you in the person of Jesus at the name of Jesus.