Immanuel... God with us.
The Scriptures tell us that before Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, God, through a messenger, spoke to both Joseph and Mary to explain what He was about to do. He told them that Mary would conceive of the Holy Spirit and bear a son and that they were to name him Jesus, “for He will save His people from their sins.” He also told Mary that Jesus would be called “the Son of the Highest”. The name Jesus is the English translation of the Greek name Iesous, which is from the Hebrew name Yehoshua: Yahweh is salvation. God was telling them both that they would be the earthly parents of His own Son - the Son of the Highest - who was coming to save His people from their sins, as His name foretold: Yahweh is salvation. The Son of God would become the son of man so that He might save us from our sins.
“Who, being in very nature God, did not demand and cling to His rights as God, but made Himself nothing, taking the humble position of a servant, being made in human likeness.” (Philippians 2:6-7) And so the Creator of the universe humbled himself and became a man. And not just any man, but a newborn infant. And not just any newborn infant, but one born to a poor, unwed girl, from a tiny, third-world, backwoods village in a despised and neglected region of a tiny little “country” detested by it’s occupying government. This was no ordinary birth. It was less than ordinary. The lowest of births. The humblest of beginnings.
“And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even a criminal's death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:8) From the humblest of beginnings, came the most powerful man ever born. And yet His real power was not in miracles and healings, but in humble obedience. His real power was in the fact that though He was God in human flesh, he did not hold onto it, but humbled Himself and obeyed the Father in heaven. His obedience was ultimate and complete, willingly giving Himself to die a criminal’s death by crucifixion at the hand’s of the Roman’s, who had perfected the art of torturous death. His power was in His perfect humility and obedience. It was the most powerful force ever known, able to conquer the power of sin and death, enabling you and I to be free from the bondage of sin and the judgment of damnation, so that we can humbly serve our Creator in like manner to our Saviour.
Isaiah, in the 53rd chapter of his writings, sums up nicely the life of the Christ (and he was writing 700 years before Christ was born). He prophesies of the Messiah’s humble origin, His ministry, and His rejection leading to His atoning death. But then he reveals something so shocking in verse 10, “Yet it pleased the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for sin...” (Isaiah 53:10a). Having sent His one and only Son into the world as the greatest gift of all time - the first and only real “christmas” gift - He then crushed Him on our behalf! For “all sin and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), and “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus the Lord” (Romans 6:23). We’ve all earned our wages in this life, and the paycheck due us is death itself. Because God is perfect in righteousness, His righteousness requires Him to pay the wages owed. The choice was plain, crush you and me under the weight of our sin wage, or crush Christ, His only begotten Son. He chose the latter, and took pleasure in it.
The work of sin,
the wages owed,
we earned it, you and I.
Required to pay,
His Son He chose,
the price of love so high.
What kind of God would do such a thing? What kind of Christ would humbly submit to such an act? One who was not willing to spend eternity separated from the object of His love, His elect children. One who was willing to pay the highest price to redeem His creation from the chains of sin and set them free to know and serve Him once again.