Look with me in Matt. 1:23, “they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).” Matthew translates the name, Immanuel, for us, I think, for one reason. He wants to identify both the essence and work of Christ.
Who is Jesus Christ? He is Immanu-el—God with us. In Hebrew, the word, “immanu” means, “with us.” That is the humanity of Christ. The word, “el,” means, God. That is the deity of Christ (from the Latin, deitas, “divine nature”). Matthew is telling us that Jesus is truly God. But this God is also with us. Because this God is with us, Jesus therefore is truly human.
Last night, I read these funny letters to God from small kids.
“Dear God, Are you a ninja? Is that why I can’t see you? Jacob”
“Dear God, Instead of having people die and having to make new ones, why don’t you just keep the ones you got now? Jane”
“Dear God, I am Amearican. What are you? Robert”
“Dear God, Mommy says all babies cry, but I don’t think baby Jesus did. You must know the answer so please write back. We have a bet. Angelina”
“Dear God, I think about you sometimes even when I’m not praying. Elliott”
“Dear God, Why is Sunday School on Sunday? I thought it was supposed to be our day of rest. Tom L.”
In the context of Jesus’ birth, “God with us” means, God now born. But in the context of salvation history, it means, God our Savior. God can only be with us by becoming one like us—a human. The only way to be human is to be born as a human. That is what God did.
If you were an alien, a Martian, you just cannot land on earth, take the form of a human body, and call yourself a human. You might look like a human being. But you are still an alien. The only way to be a human is to be born a human being. That is what God did.
Because of the birth of Jesus, he is thus called, Immanuel—God with us. That is what’s amazing about Jesus. He is God with us—in human form.
Thus, according to Matthew, this Jesus is truly God and truly man. He is the Savior God. He is also the human Savior.
This God left the splendor of his glory in heaven, came to earth, and became a little baby. I remember that old song, “He left the splendor of heaven, knowing his destiny. ‘Twas a lonely hill of Golgotha. There to lay down his life for me.” This God chose to be God with us. He chose to be born of a virgin. He fulfilled the prophecy by becoming a son of David. He was born of shamed parents, to a world that does not welcome him. He abandoned his power in heaven for the love of unworthy sinners. Ultimately, He came to be with us in order to die for us, for our sins.
Jesus, the Crown Prince of glory, came from heaven to earth, to sit where you sit, to feel what you feel, and to embrace the pain in your life. Of all the religions of the world, only Christianity proclaims a God who chose to embrace the pain of people, to save them from their sins. That is why broken people, oppressed people, imprisoned people, people in pain, and people in sin, can find in Jesus Christ, a true Savior, for he is the true God and true man—Immanuel, God with us.
Are you broken? Are you oppressed? Are you suffering in sin?
You might say, “Pastor, I’m okay.” No, we are all not okay. Sin has damaged our souls, our thoughts, our being, our world. We need the grace of God. That grace is found in Jesus Christ.
Call on the Lord Jesus today. As God, he knows you. As man, he understands your pain. He will save you from your sin.