Friday, December 22, 2023

Advent Words 2023 ~ Word 11: Emmanuel


Advent Words 2023
Word 11: Emmanuel

“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel” (which means “God with us”).” Matthew 1:22-23

 Advent is a season that reminds us that what we long for down deep is God’s presence with us. We wait and we long and we look for it. Matthew tells us in his gospel that what we long for became a reality when Jesus was born. In Matthew 1:20-21 we are told that an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph and told him that the child Mary carried “is from the Holy Spirit…you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Jesus is Greek for Hebrew Yeshua, or Joshua, which means “God saves”. His name describes who he is.

The angel goes on to tell him “they will call him Emmanuel.” Emmanuel is not to be his name but a title of who he is. We see a similar thing in Isaiah 9:6, “and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Emmanuel is a title for Jesus because God came down to us. God was in the flesh and was among us.

From the beginning of Matthew's Gospel through the New Testament until we reach its end in Revelation, the Incarnation - God came down to us - is the fulfillment of God's promise of His presence with us. 

In fact, the story of the whole Bible is about God's desire to dwell with His people. From the beginning God created a place where He could be present with His people. In Genesis 3:8, it says that God would walk in the Garden of Eden among Adam and Eve. But then sin separated them, and us, from God. From that point on God's presence was found in His holy temple or tabernacle (Exodus 25:8 Deuteronomy 12:4-14). Later in history the Jewish Rabbi's would refer to the temple or tabernacle as the "Shikinah Glory". Shikinah coming from the Hebrew word for dwelling.

 Ultimately though, God had a still greater plan to dwell with and be present with His people. He promised one who would be born and called Emmanuel - God with us.

 “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

 (Side note: Immanuel is the Hebrew spelling, Emmanuel is the Greek spelling. You may see both used in the Bible depending on the translation.)

 Matthew tells us that the one promised is Jesus (Matthew 1:23). John goes even deeper saying that God through Jesus "became flesh and made his dwelling among us" (John 1:14). The Greek word John used for dwelling is skenoo which means tabernacle or dwelling.  So, John literally says that God "tabernacled" among us through the incarnation of His Son.

 Through faith in Jesus Christ and the sacrifice He made for us on the cross, we have the promise of God's presence with us forever.

 “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ...In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” Ephesians 2:13, 21-22

 Through Jesus Christ God not only dwells with us, but He dwells in us through His Spirit.

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth.”  John 14:16-17

 “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” John 14:20

 “You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” Romans 8:9-11

 God's people, collectively as the church and individually, are now the dwelling place of God, His tabernacle!

“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” 1 Corinthians 3:16

 “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” 1 Corinthians 6:19

 We are yet promised an even greater presence with God in the New Jerusalem. John paints a picture of that heavenly dwelling with God.

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.” Revelation 21:3

 “I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.” Revelation 21:22-23

Glory to God in the highest ~ Emmanuel has come! God is with us!


Share how you respond to today's word in the Words Facebook Group or on Instagram using #adventwords2023.

No comments:

Post a Comment