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

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 (19)

19 thoughts on "Jesus Is Immanuel"

  1. Howard K says:

    Man can be trusting. If you look at Joseph game could have just got out of the relationship with Mary, but he trusted that his dream was true from the angel and stayed with Mary to name the Child of God as directed in his dream.

  2. Howard K says:

    God’s love for us is so great and this proves that he is above how Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. It is hard to believe, but when you have God who has created all anything is possible and we must keep that Faith.

  3. Howard K says:

    The Gospel helps me understand what exactly happened with Mary and Joseph before Jesus was born and what strong faith they had in God. Something we can learn from in our life.

  4. Howard K says:

    To be more trusting with God and less selfish with trying to run my life. God has something in store for all of us and we need to be willing to listen quietly in this noisy world for what God is wanting us to do. I need to be still more and listen to the World of God.

  5. Howard K says:

    God thank you for sending you Son to die for our sins. I ask you to favor me with strength and peace to focus my life around you and less around myself. I surrender my life over to you and ask that you help me to stay strong and not try to take it back.
    In Your Son’s Name Jesus Christ

  6. Bill Wilson says:

    God works outside the bounds of the creation and is able to do anything he pleases according to His will. He is not limited by the things I understand. The Christmas story is a prime example of this.

  7. Bill Wilson says:

    Mary’s initial response of disbelief – how can she get pregnant if she’s a virgin – is not uncommon or unexpected. It’s also typically my response. I put God in a box and expect Him to only work inside the parameters that I understand. But He’s able to do so much more.

  8. Bill Wilson says:

    I need to consistently remember the Christmas story – the Creator God became a man to save us. This defies all logic. May I never put God into my own man-made box of what He’s willing to do or able to do. This thought process needs to affect my prayer life and how I view those around me. The Christmas story is the ultimate example of God working outside a “box.”

  9. Jonathan Newman says:

    Man is bound by the laws of nature as well as the law of sin and death. We need a true miracle to transcend the laws of nature so we can be set free from sin and death. We also are so prone to worry, shame, despair, disappointment, and powerlessness and need God’s peace and assurance in our lives.

  10. Jonathan Newman says:

    In the midst of Israel’s longing to be set free and be fulfilled, as well as the fact that Mary was acquainted with the oppression of Rome and the pressure and judgement of her community, God came in to restore brokenness and lostness on a spiritual level and doesn’t require that we get our act together either for salvation or for continuous worship at special times like advent.

  11. Jonathan Newman says:

    God is able to transcend the laws of nature because he made them. He fully knows his beloved children and not only loves them but even likes them. God has a structure and an order and even a beautiful, artistic creativity to his divine purpose. He came in a humble way so we could relate to Him, and He wants us to be comforted by him being with us.

  12. Jonathan Newman says:

    Letting myself experience my state of neediness and tiredness and restlessness without feeling the need to pull myself together to celebrate Jesus. I will come to him just as I am and invite him into all the reflections of my life and all the sorrows and disappointments, and allow him to breathe new life into me and to give me a new song in my heart.

  13. Jeffrey Messenger says:

    God is faithful to save us and to show us who He is through our doubts. He defied all natural laws to send Jesus here with us so He would be the One all of the world was yearning for.

  14. Jeffrey Messenger says:

    Father, teach me to sit and wait on You and to trust You for every single thing in my life. Draw me closer to Your heart that I may see You and feel You daily.

  15. Jeffrey Messenger says:

    Man is doubtful and caught up in what the world may say, thus easily not trusting God and His promises.

  16. Jeffrey Messenger says:

    God is a promise keeper, and as maker of all things, He is able to defy those natural laws and do what only He can do.

  17. Jeffrey Messenger says:

    Trust the Lord at His word because, “No word from God will ever fail.”

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  19. Thanks-a-mundo for the blog.Really thank you! Cool.

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