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Jesus, Immanuel

What Child is This?  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  34:27
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Intro
This Christmas Season we have been asking the question, “What Child is This?”
We celebrate the birth of Jesus, but why? Sometimes we get so familiar with things, it loses its appeal. It just doesn’t seem so special anymore… Like last year’s Christmas presents.
This year, we are trying to look afresh at “What Child is This, wanting to be brought back to the wonder and amazement of just who He is.
That is the question we have been asking during this Christmas season.
We looked at the Shepherds. Why did God send the angels to the Shepherds? What could they tell us about this Child?
They could tell us that this Child is...

The Great Shepherd

The Shepherd Looks After
The Shepherd Gathers
The Shepherd Pastures
The Shepherd Provides Rest
The Shepherd Seeks and Saves
Then we looked to the Wise Men. Why did God reveal to these men from the East that the Child was born? What could these Wise Men tell us about this Child?

Wisdom of God

They could tell us that this Child is the very Wisdom of God. He is the embodiment of God’s all wise plan to provide his beloved creation, mankind, who was made to be free to know, love and worship Him with Righteousness, Holiness, and Redemption.
Then, we considered May. What could Mary tell us about this Child?

Compassion of God

Sympathy is good. But Sympathy is just a thought. It does not help. God did more than just look at this world with all of the pain and suffering and feel sympathy. No, He was moved to compassion.
Compassion is sympathy in action. Compassion is working to alleviate the suffering. God is working to alleviate our suffering through sending God the Son, Jesus into the world as a man. Mary saw God’s compassion through the scriptures in her own difficult situation. She saw God’s compassion through His provision in her situation. She saw God’s compassion for the world in sending this Child. This Child is the very Compassion of God—God working to alleviate our suffering in this world.
How is this Child going to help? What Child is this?
Well, that brings us to today.

Joseph, “What Child is This?”

Today we ask Joseph, “What Child is This?” The angel revealed to Joseph that this child was special. This child was none other than Immanuel! And, he was to name him, Jesus!
What child is this? Let’s look at answering this question from Joseph’s perspective.
Joseph - what a great example… Really, has anyone ever heard of a virgin having a child? Taking Mary would bring shame to him. Everyone would assume he had relations with Mary during their engagement. Yet, Joseph obeyed. I think that is a great lesson for each of us from the life of Joseph. We do not see much about him in the Bible, but what we do see is a many who obeyed God, even when it didn’t make sense, humanly speaking.
He married Mary.
He adopted and named Jesus as his own son.
He obeyed the law and took Jesus to Jerusalem to be dedicated to the Lord.
He took Mary and Jesus across the desert to Egypt when commanded in a dream to flee from Herod.
He returned to Nazareth when told.
Joseph was a man who listened and obeyed the Lord.
Because he listened, and believed the Lord he obeyed.
So what would be Joseph’s answer to the question, “What Child is This?”
Well, after listening and obeying, he would have known this Child was “Jesus, Immanuel”.
But just what does that mean?

Jesus…

Jesus means God Saves. It is from the Hebrew name, Joshua.
No doubt, Joseph, being a true Israelite of the line of David would hear that name and think of Joshua, the one who succeeded Moses as the leader of Israel. It was Joshua who was the leader of the army of Israel when they defeated Moab, Jericho, the Amorites and others when they entered the land of Israel.
He would have thought of David, the great King of Israel, who slew Goliath, defeated 10,000 Philistines, expanded the Kingdom of Israel and defeated all his enemies on every side.
He may have thought of the prophecies, like
Isaiah 9:7 NIV
Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
or
Daniel 7:14 NIV
He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
What a glorious thought, that finally, the heir of David’s throne would come and reign over all nations! That this child would do that! Wow!
But wait, this Child is more than just the descendent of David… He is conceived of the very work of God the Holy Spirit.
Jesus, means God Saves… And what did Joshua say about his victories… Joshua 24:12 “…You did not do it with your own sword and bow.” God Himself had won the victories.
David had said the same when he fought Goliath,
1 Samuel 17:47 NIV
All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”
This Child is the God who won all the victories! He was coming again to conquer the enemies of Israel! He was going to win the victory… but what victory? What did the angel say?
You will call Him...

Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.

This Child, God Himself was coming to win the greatest victory of all! The victory over sin!
Surely, the greatest enemy of Israel was not the other nations. No, the Lord always gave them victory over the nations when they were walking with Him. They were only defeated when they sinned.
The greatest enemy of Israel was her own sin. And that sin led to death.
This Child, God come into the world as a man, was going to defeat sin. He was going to save Israel from her real enemy! From sin!
This is just like the Psalm, Psalm 130:8.
Psalm 130 NIV
A song of ascents. Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord; Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you. I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.
Finally! The King, the descendant of David was come to win the victory. To defeat sin itself! Israel would be saved!
But what was it that the angel had gone on to say? He will save his people from their sins… and they will call Him Savior? No, not savior… they will call Him...

Immanuel - God with Us

Immanuel means, “God with us”. He came to save, and remain with, be with us.
Why would He not just be Savior, but also Immanuel?
God being with us is important. God’s presence is a key theme throughout the scriptures.
Joseph, being a Jew, a physical descendent of Abraham, and hearing the scriptures since he was little would have had an understanding of what it means, that God is with us.
Do you and I have a scriptural understanding of this concept?
Let’s just start with a general concept. What does it mean to be with someone? There is a difference between being with, like in the same house, or even the same room, and truly being with, right?

Being with us does not mean in proximity.

Truly being with someone is more than just being in proximity. You can be in proximity, and not be with someone. Ever been on a crowded subway? Ever been in a crowded store? How many of your fellow travellers or fellow shoppers would you say were truly with you?
No being with someone is more than location. It is a connection. A real, heart and mind connection.

Being with us is not just in the good times.

We all know what a fair-weather friend is. They are there with you when things are good. But when hard-times come, they are not the ones you want in your hospital room to comfort you.
Being with someone is not just enjoying them at the good times. Some today believe God’s presence, or God being with someone means prosperity, financial or otherwise. But is that What God means when He promises to be with someone? Being with someone in good times?

Being with us is a connection, a relationship we can count on in the good times and the bad.

Scripture shows us that God being with someone is more than just being a ‘party’/good-times friend. It is someone who stays with you no matter the circumstances. A true friend, a person who is truly with you is with you in the difficult days as well. In fact, isn’t this is how you know who your true friends are? This is how you know who is truly with you.
Someone who is truly with you is with you through thick and thin. They are there in the good times to enjoy the blessings with you. They are there in the hard times to listen, comfort, encourage and strengthen. They are with you, giving you their attention. Taking pleasure in you.

God with us… beginning to end, and in between

The scriptures begin and end with God being with His people. In between, we see God desiring his people, and wanting to be with them. However, time and again, people move away from Him.
It starts in the beginning when God created this world. He made man and woman in His image, and spoke with them. He made a special place where they could live and have all they ever needed, the Garden of Eden. And God would walk and talk with them there.
Then, Adam and Eve, that first man and woman disobeyed God. They did not value God’s presence and chose to disobey. Then, they hid from the Lord. God did not leave them. Rather, they hid from Him.
But God chose to seek Adam out. God still chose to love Adam and Eve, and provided covering for them, and a promise of restoration to their original created state in His image, a state of righteousness and holiness. (note: Being in the image of God means that we have some resemblance to Him. Ephesians 4:24 defines that at righteousness and holiness.) God is working to restore us to righteousness and holiness, and to be with us.
So if God was with Adam and Eve, and even stood by them when they sinned, why do we not experience the Lord’s presence?
We see the answer for that in Cain...
Adam and Eve had initially had two sons; Cain and Abel. As the historical account goes, Cain killed Abel. When he did that, God still came to him seeking his repentance. The end of the account is Cain saying that God was driving him, Cain, from his, God’s, presence. God said, ‘Not so.’ God promises protection for Cain, and after all that,
Genesis 4:16 NIV
So Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
Did God leave Cain? Did God pull back from Cain?

We do not experience ‘God with us’ because...

No, God wanted to be with Cain, and see him restored. However, Cain is the example of what we see throughout history, people choose to move away from the God who wants to be with them.
The rest of scripture is God seeking his people, wanting to dwell with them, but mankind moving away from the Lord’s presence. And, as mankind leaves the Lord behind, the moral decline escalates.
But throughout the rest of history, God keeps giving promises to be with His people, and through specific examples shows this desire, and the benefits of when He is with us. God was with Noah through the flood, when the rest of the world rejected God.
God was with Abraham. God promised to be with Isaac
Genesis 26:3 NIV
Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham.
God promised to be with Jacob.
Genesis 28:15 NIV
I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
The said part is that Jacob did not respond well to this promise. He did his own thing until years later the Lord showed him how He had been with him and blessing him.
But in the life of Jacob, we see God’s faithfulness to be with him through thick and thin. God was with him when his uncle tried to cheat him. God was with him when he tried to succeed through his own trickery. God was with him when he was in fear of his brother who threatened to kill him.
The bible follows his family, and we see that God was with Joseph.
Genesis 39:2 NIV
The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master.
What did that mean? That life was good? No. Joseph was a slave, and later a prisoner. But through all the trials, God was with Him, and he prospered in his difficult circumstances because of God’s presence. He had a peace, and hope that transcended his circumstances because of God’s presence.
We can continue on to speak of God being with Israel, with Moses, with Joshua, with the judges like Gideon, Samson, etc.
Joseph, being a descendant of David, would fully know how God was with David when he faced Goliath, ran from Saul, lived among his enemies, the Philistines, faced the descendant of Saul after Saul’s death, faced discipline from the Lord for his sin with Bathsheba, and also when he took the census of Israel. He would know how God was with David when his own son sought to overthrow him.
These were not all good times. Some were hard because of the sins of other people around David. Others were hard-times because of David’s own sin.
But through it all, God was with David! God was working for David’s benefit, for his betterment; whether through discipline, comfort, protection, or instruction. God was always there, always present, working for David!
Many experienced this through the ages. That is why the Psalmist cried out,
Psalm 46 NIV
For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. According to alamoth. A song. God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Come and see what the Lord has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
The Lord is with us!
Now, here comes this Child. What child is this? Immanuel! God with us!
God was coming to be with His people in a whole new way! God was coming as a man to fully identify with and show Himself to His people so they would know He is no fair-weather friend. He is not one to abandon us in our time of need. But He is with us, to walk with us through every winding path, climb every difficult mountain, enjoy every beautiful vista of our lives!
God is truly with us, bringing peace, confidence and assurance that nothing, no one else can give.
And some day, God will create a new Heavens and Earth, the final goal will be realized!
Ending: Revelation 21:3
Revelation 21:3 NIV
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.
In that day, we will fully know the very real presence of God! We will be with Him. He will be with us day and not. And we will be his people, no longer wandering away from His wonderful presence.

What Child is This?

closing
Prayer
Homework:
Read Matthew 1:18-25. Meditate on the names given to this Child. Jesus. Immanuel. What is significant about these names? Why a Savior? Why Immanuel?
Read Cain’s biography in Genesis 4. Cain is a picture of each of us. Maybe we did not kill our brother, but haven’t we all walked away from God in disobedience? How did God treat Cain? Angry resentment? Kindness? Did God push Cain away from His presence? How did Cain respond to God? Consider your own life. How have you responded to God’s kindness?
Read Jacob’s biography in Genesis 28 - 33. Jacob is an interesting character. Why do you think he is called ‘Schemer?” How did he find success? His own schemes? How did God treat Jacob? Was God with Jacob throughout His life, or just at the end?
Read Psalm 46. Meditate on verse 1. Have you seen God as the ever-present help? He is, but often we do not see it. Why not? Read this Psalm again. Ask God to open your eyes to see His presence.
Read Hebrews 13:5. This is an appropriate verse for this time of year. What is the relationship between contentment and God’s presence?
Read Revelation 21:3. The great climax of the Bible! What is the ultimate goal, the end for which we long? Do we have the same goal as the Lord? What is His goal, the end-game, in this verse? Ask God to change our hearts to long for the same ending for which He longs.
Memorize Psalm 46 over the next two weeks.
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