The word Immanuel is one that is likely familiar. There are numerous Christmas songs that use the word. But what does the term really mean, and why is it significant for us?
The term means, “God with us,” according to Scripture. Matthew 1:23 quotes from an even older prophecy in the book of Isaiah: “‘Behold, the virgin shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us).” That prophecy in Isaiah was given at a particularly trying time in Israel’s history, when Judah was threatened with an attack from both Syria and the Northern Kingdom. The king of Judah, Ahaz, was an evil king who sought to take matters into his own hands, but Isaiah went to him with a word from God. He was exhorted to ask for a sign. Even though Ahaz refused to ask for a sign saying in Isaiah 7:12, “I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test,” God still gives a sign. Matthew is quoting from Isaiah 7:14 and this sign, this prophecy given by God. There would be one who would be God with us.
Have you ever considered the significance of God being with His people? In the third chapter of the Bible, we see the fall of man. Man had had communion and fellowship with God Himself, but sin has separated and placed man under God’s just condemnation. But even in that very chapter, God promises one who would come to deliver His people. And as His people wander in the wilderness in the pages of the Old Testament, God dwells with them in the tabernacle. Later, He will dwell with His people in the temple. But the ultimate fulfillment of “God with us,” is in Jesus Christ. John 1:14 tells us “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” God has sent His very own Son to dwell among His people. Even now, the Spirit of God dwells in the hearts of believers, and all who trust in Jesus Christ have the hope of God being with them for eternity.
For some, the Christmas season is one of happiness. For others, it is one marked by grief. Perhaps you yourself are finding it hard to get through this season. But the hope that we have before us in our passage is that no matter what trials this life brings and what you may be facing right now, there is a guaranteed eternity of everlasting joy for the believer in Jesus Christ. There is coming a day when there will be no more sorrow and no more sin. There will be unbroken communion and fellowship with God. Whether you are joyful, sorrowing, or some of both, this is your great and eternal hope.
If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, won’t you see this hope and flee to Him? He is the One who was born of a virgin, lived without sin, died on behalf of His people and offers you His very own righteousness as your robe. He offers you Himself.
This Lord’s Day evening, December 5, we will consider these truths as we gather for worship at The Commons at St. Andrews Church at 8300 Kanis Rd in Little Rock. For directions, click here or contact us for more information. You can also join us on FacebookLive@RiverCityARP or on YouTube.