Matthew Chapter One
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”
22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,”which is translated, “God with us.”
24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.
At Christmas time most people, and most pastors, read the "Christmas Story" from Luke Chapter Two. The story is beautiful. My favorite passage is Luke 2:10-11, "Behold I bring you good tidings of great joy that shall be to all people, for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."
But Matthew gives us a different version. A more matter-of-fact version. And Matthew's version gives us two amazing passages.
The first is from Verse 21: And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.
The second is from Verse 23: Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,”which is translated, “God with us.”
Think of that. Jesus will save us from our sins, and He will be with us. He will do both, at the same time, forever. He doesn't just forgive us once. He forgives us every time we ask. And He doesn't just forgive us from afar. He forgives us while dwelling in us. How can I explain the fact that He lives in my heart? I can't. I can only tell you that He is there. Have I ever audibly heard His voice? No. But has He spoken to me? Oh yes, many times. Have I ever seen Him? No. But I trust in the inspired Word of God that says Immanuel, God with us.
So as I prepare for Christmas, I am so thankful to God for sending His Son, Jesus, to Bethlehem so long ago. A tiny Baby who left the glories of heaven for a humble home on earth. From the Son of The King, to the Son of a carpenter. Destined for a death He did not deserve, all because He loved us.
Hebrews 12:2 says "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Jesus knew why He was sent to earth. He knew He would be beaten, He knew He would be crucified, BUT HE KNEW HE WOULD REJOIN HIS FATHER IN HEAVEN. He endured the cross and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. And His desire is for every person to one day be in heaven with Him. Jesus has done His part, now it is up to us. Either we choose to accept Him, or we reject Him. Not choosing Him is the same as rejecting Him. Jesus said in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
Immanuel - God with us. Our Savior is with us. Thank You Lord that today You are with me. Thank You that You saved me. Thank You that You love me. I love You Jesus.