Grace For The Journey
When the Bible was written, names conveyed a great deal more meaning than they do today.
The Israelites often chose names for their babies based on a variety of different factors – such as the character or appearance of the child … for example, Esau, which means “hairy.” Some names were chosen based on a prayer of the parent … such as Zechariah, whose name means “God has remembered.” Other names were given which identified objects in creation … such as Tamar (which means “palm tree”) and Tabitha (which means “gazelle”). Still other names were given to identify the time of day the baby were born … such as Shaharaim (which means “dawn”) and Hodesh (which means “new moon”).
Jesus was named prophetically. The Bible tells us in Matthew 1:20-23 – “You are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” Throughout the Scriptures we find hundreds of appellations for Jesus that serve as divine descriptions of both His character and His calling. Here are just a few:
Alpha and Omega – Revelation 1:8. Firstborn over all creation – Colossians 1:15
Bread of Life – John 6:35. Bridegroom – Matthew 9:15
Chief Cornerstone – Ephesians 2:20 God – John 20:28
Good Shepherd – John 10:14 Great High Priest – Hebrews 4:14
Holy One – Acts 3:14 Lamb of God – John 1:29
Lord of lords – Revelations 19:16 Messiah – John 4:25-26
Mighty God – Isaiah 9:6 Our Redemption – 1 Corinthians 1:30
Resurrection and Life – John 11:25 Righteous One – Acts 7:52
Rock – 1 Corinthians 10:4 Savior – Ephesians 5:23)
The Word – John True Vine – John 15:1
The Way – John 14:6
These are just a few of the 256 names and titles in the Bible that tell us much about our Savior and King. Yet, there is one other name that I would like to sharpen our focus on today – EMMANUEL … which means “God with us!”
As a pastor, I find that this time of the year is quite difficult for a great many people, for a variety of reasons. A loss of a loved one is especially painful at this time of the year. Christmas always carries some sadness for our family because two of our daughters and other family members have been taken in death and they are missed. For many people the Christmas season brings back childhood memories of a far better past than their bitter present, which is now marked by disappointment, discouragement, disillusionment, and defeat.
I don’t know where this Christmas season finds you. I don’t know the pain of your past or your present, yet I know there is pain for every one of us, because we are all broken people living in a broken world with other broken people. I do know that God (IMMANUEL) has promised to be with you in the midst of your pain and problems!
I pray God’s Word today will provide great comfort for you as we approach Christmas Day.
God is not playing games … The name “Immanuel” is a specific word to us about His wonderful grace, presence, and power! Take comfort in this …
Emmanuel is with you and has been working for you from before the foundation of the world.
He is with you in your pain and your pleasure. He is with you in your failure and your victory. He is with you in your sickness and your health. The Holy One, the King of kings and Lord of lords, is with you now and will be forever. And because He is with you, you can face every situation with His grace and strength!
The Bible says in Hebrews 13:5, “For He (God) has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” – Hebrews 13:5.
Use your eyes of faith to go back to Bethlehem; join the company of weary, wandering shepherds and see this little baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. Marvel at this God-man (IMMANUEL), who would enter a sin-stained world that would one day crucify Him . . . who came on a rescue mission for you! You are so precious to Him that He gave His all for you. In fact, you are the object of His greatest desire!
Do you know Him today? Have you surrendered to Him as Savior and Lord? Let Him reveal Himself – His power and presence to you today!
May this truth of IMMANUEL walking with you, working for you and in you fill your heart with peace and joy this Christmas season and beyond. May this truth encourage and empower you to press on into the perfect plan and purpose Emmanuel has for your life. He is with you now, and one day if you have accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord, you will be with Him forevermore!
This is God Word … This is Grace for your Journey … Rest in this eternal truth … AMEN!