Immanuel: In the Story

Note from JesusDear Friend,

I want you to know Me. I’m not talking about knowing more about Me — although that is a good thing and something I invite you to do by reading more about Me in the Bible books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I want you to know Me — to know that I AM real and to experience My moment-by-moment presence in your life.

Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, many church leaders and teachers began to speak about My great work only in the past tense. Some even inferred that I didn’t do any of the great things I did long ago. Some teachers and preachers have taught about Me in ways that confined My presence and My power to a time long ago and a place far away. They have made it seem that when the New Testament was all written that I quit making Myself known and that My presence was no longer experienced in the lives of My people.

Remember that I AM above all things, and I reign over all things to bless My people, the church. I AM risen from the dead. I AM alive forever, and I will bring all who are mine to Myself to join Me in glory.

One of the great things Matthew wrote into the fabric of his good news story of My life was an emphasis on My identity as Immanuel. I AM the presence of God that can be experienced in the lives of My people. So I want to spend today and the next three days drawing your attention to four passages that we will call Matthew’s four Immanuel sayings.

Matthew connected My birth to a prophecy from Isaiah and identified Me as the promised “Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14) — which means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). More than just a statement of My divinity as God in human flesh, “Immanuel” is a reminder that I AM the eternal and immortal God, Who became flesh and walked among you to reveal God to you and make Him known to you (John 1:14-18).

As Immanuel, what I did among you, I did as God with you. You want to know how We — Almighty God as Father, Son, and Spirit — feel about you? Then look at how I treated people. Want to know what God wanted to say to you? Notice how I talked to people with whom I came in contact and what I said to them. Want to know how God cares for His people? See what I did to love people. Want to be reassured that God listens to people? Watch as I listen to people. Want to see how God chastised religious people who were hypocrites and how He healed broken people and challenged people to be more? Look carefully at My life. All along My way going to the cross, witness how I repeatedly served others to redeem them. My life example is how your God feels about you!

So I invite you to enter into My story. Go all the way back to the first hinted promise of My coming after the fall of humanity in the garden (Genesis 3:15). Then go all the way up to My conception in the womb of Mary (Luke 1:26-38). This story actually continues with Me as your living Lord Who will return for you. As you enter into this story, realize that this is your story, too! Your Bible is more than a book of laws, history, wisdom, poetry, prophecy, and teachings. Think of it as your family album of stories. It is your history about how you are loved, the kind of people from whom you have come, and the glorious promises about where you are headed with your brothers and sisters who find their identity in Me.

As you read from the Bible, expect to meet Me. Ask the Holy Spirit, Who inspired the words of the Bible, to help you understand them. Even more, invite the Holy Spirit to help you hear My voice as I call you to follow Me. I will call to you through the words you read, the thoughts you have, and the convictions that the Holy Spirit inspires in you. I want you to ask the Spirit to help you discover what I want you to know from what you read, what I want you to feel, and what I want you to do in response to what you read.

The apostle Paul told his son in the faith, Timothy, the following:So surely you ought to stick to what you know is certain. All you have learned comes from people you know and trust because since childhood you have known the holy Scriptures, which enable you to be wise and lead to salvation through faith in Jesus the Anointed. All of Scripture is God-breathed; in its inspired voice, we hear useful teaching, rebuke, correction, instruction, and training for a life that is right so that God’s people may be up to the task ahead and have all they need to accomplish every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:14-17).Look closely at the words that are highlighted in bold. They teach you two things:The holy Scriptures lead you to salvation through your faith in Me! I am the key for you as you read the Bible. Ask the Spirit to help you hear My voice and deepen your relationship with Me and your faith in Me.The holy Scriptures are intended to be lived — to be practical and useful truth for your life. I want to help you use the Bible to live a life of blessing, grace, and holy character!So more than dry pages of paper and ink and more than pixels of light and dark, the words of the Bible are part of the way I come to you and instruct you. I use these words of Scripture to lead you and to show My love for you. So ask Me to come to you as you read. Seek My presence as you come to the holy Scriptures for life-help and hope beyond life’s limits. I am still Immanuel — God with you. As the Father said through Amos centuries before My birth, “Seek Me and live…” (Amos 5:4; Amos 5:6). I AM still Immanuel — God Who longs to be with you!Verses to LiveMatthew’s first Immanuel saying occurs early in his gospel where he was talking about My miraculous conception in Mary and My human birth. My story is the center of the big story of the Bible and is your story, too, if you are willing to invite Me into your life and into your Bible reading for Me to live it with you.Joseph woke up from his dream and did exactly what the messenger had told him to do: he married Mary and brought her into his home as his wife (though he did not consummate their marriage until after her son was born). And when the baby was born, Joseph named Him Jesus, Savior.

Years and years ago, Isaiah, a prophet of Israel, foretold the story of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus:A virgin will conceive and bear a Son,

and His name will be Immanuel”)(which is a Hebrew name that means “God with us”).
(Matthew 1:22-25)Response in PrayerForgive Me, O God, for the times I have approached the Bible as just a book of facts and laws and history or didn’t engage my heart when I read the Scriptures. I ask that the Holy Spirit — Your presence within me — open my heart to the message of the holy Scriptures so that I can live a productive life that blesses others and that reflects Your righteous character and gracious compassion. In the powerful name of Jesus, Immanuel, I pray. Amen.’A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware. © 1998-2022, Heartlight, Inc. ‘A Year with Jesus’ is part of the Heartlight Network.All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Immanuel: In the Story
Source: Passion for Praise