Day 24

Jesus Is Immanuel

from the Advent 2015: Born Is The King reading plan

Isaiah 7:14, Luke 1:26-38, Matthew 1:18-25

BY Guest Writer

Text: Isaiah 7:14, Luke 1:26-38, Matthew 1:18-25

It must have been strange to stand before the seraph dressed in light, strong and otherworldly, and hear him tell her not to be afraid. Perhaps it was even stranger for Mary to discover that God had formed an overall impression of her. She was known by God, and He favored her. He liked her (Luke 1:28).

The angel told Mary she would conceive a son who would rescue His people from their sins. God had already chosen His name—Jesus, which meant “salvation.”

But the angel’s message did not come without consequence for Mary and Joseph. It would lead these two young people to live as fugitives for a time, fleeing from the paranoia of a ruthless and powerful Roman ruler. And on top of all that, as her belly expanded, Mary and Joseph would have to endure the suspicious looks of friends and relatives who couldn’t help questioning her purity and his character.

All of this was coming, and so much more.

The angel continued with his message. Mary’s boy would grow to reign over the people of God as their Savior and King. The God who promised David so many years before that his royal line would see no end, would keep that ancient covenant by bringing an heir to Israel’s throne through this young woman.

“But how can this be, since I’m still a virgin?” she asked. For her to bear this son, she must conceive, and virgins don’t conceive. Everyone knows this.

The angel explained that all the laws of nature are amendable by the one who wrote them. Mary lived in the world that was made, and the Maker of this world was the sole Author of what could and would happen here. How this would happen was incidental to the fact that it would. And God would be the one to do it.

The angel needed to pay Joseph a visit as well.

Joseph was a decent man. He didn’t want to shame Mary, though he could have and no one would have blamed him. What could he do? His bride-to-be was pregnant, and he wasn’t the father. This burden must have weighed heavily on his heart, flooding his thoughts and his dreams.

One night as he tossed and turned, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. He had come to set something straight. This baby was not forming in Mary’s belly because of anything she had done. This was something God had done—something God was doing, part of the order and structure of His divine purpose.

“Don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20-21). There was a purpose in this for both Joseph and Mary. She would bear the child, he would name Him, and the child would save them from their sins.

Was this what the prophet Isaiah meant when he foretold that a virgin would conceive and have a son who would be called Immanuel—God with us (Isaiah 7:14)? This virgin Isaiah spoke of, could this really be his Mary?

written by Russ Ramsey
adapted from Behold the Lamb of God: An Advent Narrative


Post Comments (73)

73 thoughts on "Jesus Is Immanuel"

  1. Becca Bailey says:

    He is still our Immanuel – He remains “God with us” in the midst of all of the struggles, victories, sorrows and joys of this life!

  2. Reylena List says:

    I love that before Jesus is even born we see his powerful character….he is already defying laws of nature. His ministry of grace and power already begin before his birth. I love how powerful our savior is. I can take confidence in knowing that his plans, power and ways are more than I can sometimes comprehend.

  3. C says:

    “Nothing is impossible for God” Luke 1:37
    5 powerful words!! This really stuck out for me.

  4. Maribeth says:

    Quick question after reading through the comments – the conception of Jesus is the Incarnation, not the Immaculate Conception, right? Given the time of year, I just wanted to make sure I have my terminology right. Thanks for any help! And thank you Russ for helping us to meditate more deeply on all the thoughts and feelings that must have come with the angel’s pronouncement to Mary and Joseph!

    1. Nina_M says:

      Yes, exactly. The Immaculate Conception refers to the conception of Mary. According to catholic teaching, while she was concieved “the normal way”, God shielded her soul from original sin, therefore “immaculate” (or so Wikipedia says…)

  5. Briana says:

    My heart aches for Mary and Joseph knowing the things they must have had to endure by following through with God’s plan. The way they were abused and ostracized for what would later be known as the greatest miracle of all time, humbles me and makes me grateful for God’s faithfulness. I am fortunate and blessed to be able to experience God’s forgiveness because of Mary and Joseph’s courage. I am truly blessed!

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