Matthew 1; Exodus 20; Exodus 21; Proverbs 9
“So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’” (Matthew 1:22-23 NKJV)
It was Juliet who asked the question, “What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.” While her point was well taken in the context of the play, names had very important meanings in ancient times. As Matthew began his gospel and told the story of Jesus, he made a point of mentioning how Jesus was named. His name was Jesus because He would save people from their sins. Matthew justified that by denoting the passage in Isaiah where the virgin would call Him Immanuel or God with us. The connection between those two names is obvious, right? Ok, maybe not. This has always puzzled me. I think, though, that the connection comes from the fact that Jesus means that the Lord is salvation, and that since He was God the Son, He truly was, and is, “God with us.” Since He is still with us, we have more strength to deal with the problems of life that arise every day. Whoever you are, whatever you’ve done, God loves you and wants to be with you. God is not far off in some cosmic heaven, He truly is with us at all times.
Does the truth that “God is with us” all the time comfort you or worry you? If you get the wrong idea about God, it could be worrying. If you see God as a harsh judge looking for reasons to zap you, it could be very unnerving. On the other hand, if you recognize that God loves you and wants the best for you, He isn’t judging everything you do, He’s an ally cheering you on as you show others His love. Take comfort in the fact that God is with you wherever you go and whatever you do.
Lord, thank You for being “Immanuel,” God with us. Remind me of Your presence as I fall asleep and as I wake up. Remind me that You are with me to encourage me in the best of times and the worst of times. Help me to understand how much You love and care for me.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.