JESUS, THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL / THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL – “GOD WITH US”
A humbler beginning is impossible to imagine. It was the unpretentious stage entrance of the Son of Man, the Son of God. God in human form presented upon earth’s stage. The infant cry of the newborn baby came clearly and for the very first-time deity was articulated directly and sounds expressed through a human body. God has come and He is with His people; He is Immanuel, which is translated, “God with us.” (Matt. 1:23)
There were no newspapers that heralded the coming of Christ. There was no announcement that the Redeemer had come. Unknown to the major populace of that day in Bethlehem, the least among the cities, was born the Savior. What a humble entrance and when I read that story I wonder at it. Only God could have written such a script. You and I would never have thought to draft such a story. Here deity invades humanity. Here eternity invades time. Here royalty invades poverty. Just imagine the awe and wonder of this humble entrance of Christ into the world. The Lord of glory laying upon straw, the Creator in a cradle, the Savior in a stall. The Sovereign of history welcomed by the shepherds of the hillside. God sent His Christmas gift to earth 2,000 years ago. It was a gift of Himself – deity wrapped in humanity. What a story, what profound truth is wrapped up in this thought; that God came here to be one of us. God manifested in the flesh.
When God chose to reveal Himself, He did so through a human body. The hand that touched the leper had dirt under its nails and the tears He wept came from a heart as broken as yours or mine will ever be. We have a God who has condescended to come and live in the midst of our suffering and pain and to help us face it and conquer it. Because God is with us, we have the confidence to face the challenges of life. Whatever problems may come our way, God is with us. There is no challenge that will ever come to any child of God that will be bigger than the ability of God to handle it. Jesus came into the world to be the Savior of lost mankind. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for your only begotten Son, Christ Jesus, who left His royal robes of heaven to come down to earth to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins and to offer us hope, salvation, reconciliation and life eternal.
Who is Jesus? God in the flesh! Jesus is part of the Godhead. The Bible teaches that there is one God and that there are three distinct Persons in the Godhead – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All three of these Persons are God. Not three gods but a God who manifests Himself as Father, as Son, and as the Holy Spirit. The apostle John had the eye of an eagle and was a real stickler for detail. He couldn’t have made it clearer than this when he spoke of who Jesus was. Here is what John said: “In the beginning was the word (Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him and without Him nothing was made that was made. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:1-3;10,11,14).”
GOD REACHING DOWN TO MAN
The reason Christ Jesus came into the world was not to establish a religion, but to give LIFE. In the gospel of John, the word “Life” occurs 44 times, and the word religion not once. Jesus himself tells us why He came. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have LIFE….(John 10:10).”
The obvious question is “What kind of person needs life?” From God’s point of view, the problem of man is not just that he is a sinner in need of forgiveness; his greater problem is that he is DEAD (separated from God) and in need of (spiritual) LIFE. We are all born into this world in the image of Adam – dead spiritually. And dead men don’t need help – they need life. Salvation is the process of passing from “death” to “life.”(John 5:24). It is not just something Christ did for you; it is Christ Jesus Himself living in you. Christ Jesus laid down His life for us so that He could give His life to us and live His life through us.
There is only one way to get into the presence of God and that is accepting what God has said about you and me – that we’re sinners and that we’re dead. This has a consequence to it; it’s called “spiritual death” and that’s what you are saved from. You’re not saved from sin although that’s there (Jesus has taken away all the sins of the world on Calvary’s cross), but you’re saved from the consequence of sin which is (spiritual) death or separation from God and the gift of God is eternal life in His Son.
Only a living saved person (alive spiritually) is going into the presence of a living God. We were all born dead spiritually and the only way we’re going to go into the presence of the living God is to be made alive spiritually and the only source of “LIFE” for us is the life of the resurrected Jesus Christ. He said, “I am the resurrection and the LIFE. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live (John 11:25).” Jesus is telling us here that ONLY He has the power of “resurrection” and of “life” in His hands. In other words, if you have never put your faith in Jesus you remain (spiritually) dead and separated from God; eternally. You can’t have a loving, personal relationship with God if you don’t have Christ’s spirit dwelling in you because God is not flesh and bones. God is Spirit and we must have the Holy Spirit to interact with God. It says in John 4:24, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” And so, we as believers who have the indwelling spirit of God in us can worship God and have a loving, intimate relationship with Him for all eternity.
Simply, a person is saved when they believe in the gospel message. The true gospel is the good news that God saves sinners. Man is by nature sinful and separated from God with no hope of redeeming that situation. But God, by His power, provided the means of man’s redemption in the death, burial and resurrection of the Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus said: “I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:1-4).” Then in Romans 10:9 we read “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” This is the heart of the gospel – salvation in a nutshell.
Now, when you believe this (by faith) and invite Christ Jesus to come into your heart to be your Lord and Savior, you go from being a “Dead” person spiritually to being one fully “Alive” in Christ Jesus. He (the Spirit of God) comes to live inside of you and the transaction is complete – you have been reconciled to God and you now have eternal life. That’s why Paul says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come (2 Cor. 5:17).” Becoming a believer in Christ can be likened to a caterpillar being transformed into a butterfly. Although you might not always act like a good “butterfly,” but you’re never going to be a worm again.
THE BOTTOM LINE
God (Christ Jesus) did not come to this earth to start a religion. He did not create us to start a religious following. He created you and me for His pleasure, for His fellowship, so that we can have an intimate relationship with Him – it’s called love. God loves you so much that that He wants you to get to know Him and spend eternity with Him. It’s not about churches, rules, sacraments, priests, religious ceremonies, or traditions. It’s all about a personal relationship with our Creator and not a religion.
Only Christ Jesus has a “life” to give and the moment you put your faith in Him, the Spirit of God comes to reside in you, and you are made “alive” – spiritually. From that moment on you have life eternal and you have a personal relationship with God, never to be separated from Him again. Isn’t that great news? (read Romans 8:9-11).
In Closing, the most significant fact in history can be summed up in four words: Jesus Christ is God! The great declaration of the Bible is that God in human flesh was born in Bethlehem. It was God in the person of Jesus Christ who astonished the people of His day with His miracles and amazed them with His teachings. It was Jesus who healed the sick, gave hearing to the deaf, gave sight to the blind and raised people from the dead. It was God, in the flesh, who lived a perfect life and then allowed Himself to be put to death on a Roman cross for humanity’s sin. It was God who broke the bonds of death three days after He died and came out of the grave alive. The deity of Jesus – the fact that He is God in human form, is the bottom line of the believer’s faith.
The Bible is all about history – HIS STORY (Jesus)
JESUS – THE GREATEST LOVE WORTH FINDING
God with us – God in the flesh – God who came down from heaven and dwelt among us – God who made the world – God who created us – God who offers us “life” everlasting
The GREATEST GIFT ever given wasn’t placed under a tree. He was placed on the tree – He was born to die that we might live, and His name is Jesus – “God with us.”
F/B – Signs Of Our Times / UnderstandingTheSignsOfOurTimes.com
P S… I want to wish everyone the very best for Christmas and the upcoming New Year. Have a warm and cozy Christmas filled with lots of love and laughter among family and friends. Take care and stay safe.