Immanuel: God With Us!
Wednesday of Advent 3 Trinity Lutheran Church
17 December 2014 Murdock, NE
+Jesu Juva +
St. Matthew 1:18-25 / The Name “Immanuel – God with us”
Isn’t this something? Boy, it sure is. Mind blowing. Many would call it ridiculous, absolutely, utterly, entirely impossible. Downright absurd. After all, the last place in the universe you or I would go looking for God is the Baby that sleeps in the lap of the Virgin. The Baby that nurses at her breast. The Baby who belches, passes gas and dirties His diaper.
“Reverend, are you contending that the little Baby Mary holds in her arms is where you find God? That God is located in the Baby?” Yes, that precisely what I’m saying. What’s that? You have another question? Go ahead. I’m game. “Reverend, are you asserting that this little Baby is God Himself?” Yep. Absolutely! Without a doubt. In fact, let me really be audacious: THERE IS NO OTHER GOD THAN THIS BABY OR MAN JESUS THE CHRIST!
I know what your thinking. Don’t by shy. Go ahead and say it. I won’t be offended. Nothing surprises me anymore. “All right, Reverend. Not trying to be irreligious or anything. Don’t misunderstand. We’re quite pious and take God very seriously. But God’s not supposed to act like that, is He? God’s not allowed to do that, is He? After all, in our world and our way of thinking God wouldn’t be God if He comes out of the birth canal of a woman, bears the flesh of a baby, drools, spits up, cries and … well … poops his pants!”
I hear you. And I sympathize. What you say makes sense. Very reasonable. However, God does what He does. I’m not in control. And neither are you. Matthew records it as it happened. Precisely according to the prophecy of Old Testament Isaiah. “‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ (which means ‘God with us’).”
There you have it. God is with us. Where? In the physical body of the Baby Jesus born of the Virgin Mary. The Baby Jesus is God Himself. That’s where God is. Baby Jesus is God with us.
Again, Jesus is Immanuel, God with us. And He’s WITH US to do something FOR US.
I’d better say that again. He’s WITH US to do something FOR US.
And what in the wide world of sports would Baby, God, Immanuel dare to do for us lost, dead-beat, low life sinners? Well, if you thought God’s taking on flesh, burping, farting, or filling his diapers was dicey, you haven’t heard anything yet. Immanuel does even more. He grows up and does a Good Friday.
“A Good Friday? What’s that, Reverend?” Really? You don’t know what a Good Friday is? Or better put: THE GOOD FRIDAY? It’s when Immanuel, God-with-us-Jesus was beaten to a bloody pulp. Most likely beyond recognition. Blow after blow. Punch after punch. Flogged so severely that large chunks of his flesh were ripped from his upper and lower back. Then He was brutally nailed to and hung on the cross between two criminals.
But even more. Immanuel, God-With-Us-Jesus does a Good Friday by actually taking all your sin into His Body and claiming it as His own. “Numbered with the transgressors” and “The Lord laid on him the iniquity [sin] of us all,” is how the Old Testament prophet Isaiah preached the Good Friday before it ever happened. On the cross, then, as He bodily bears all your sin, Jesus is counted as THE SINNER! MAXIMUM SINNER! St. Paul in 2 Corinthians 5 preaches it this way: “He, namely Jesus, who knew no sin was made to be sin.” Consequently, Immanuel God-With-Us-Jesus is a curse (Galatians 3:13), that is to say, He is damned.
All this He does as Immanuel, God With Us — TO SAVE US.
Don’t you dare try to protect Jesus from bodily taking your sin and putting it all on Himself on the cross. That’s spiritually disastrous. Your salvation is at stake with Jesus being God and doing a Good Friday suffering and dying.
If Immanuel God-With-Us-Jesus does not take your sins, then your sins are still on you. And if your sins remain on you, you will die and be damned in them.
But I’m here to tell you that IMMANUEL Jesus did take your sins, all of them. They don’t belong to you anymore. They’re His. He answered for them. Atoned for them with the shedding of His divine blood. Appeased God’s wrath against you and all your sin. Good Friday!
And now I will speak and give to you Good Friday’s benefits of Immanuel Jesus. As I speak the words of Jesus – Jesus is God with you to be FOR YOU for your salvation. It’s this. Listen carefully and I want to hear your full throated “Amen” at the end. Are you ready? OK. Here goes. I announce God’s grace to you for Jesus’ sake. God is well pleased with you for Jesus’ sake. In the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ I forgive you all your sin in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Have a happy Christmas.