“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’–which means, ‘God with us.'”(Matt 1:22-23)~~
“With us.” There is hardly a more central promise that God has ever made to human beings. The alternatives are just too horrifying to imagine. If God has abandoned us, and that is why so many bad things happen in life, then what does that say about God, and what does it say about our destiny? If God vacillates, willing to be “with us” only as long as we don’t get too obnoxious, coming and going like a father who keeps giving up on being a father, where does that leave us? If God is incapable of being with us, then we have to conclude that we will never reap the benefits of divine presence, and words like grace, mercy, love, and truth have no meaning.
Isaiah was the prophet who was given the message. In a time when Israel’s enemies where bearing down on them, he gave this startling oracle about the Lord giving a sign, a virgin would conceive and give birth, and the promise in the child: Immanuel. God with us.
Jesus was born, but He was sent, and Immanuel was one of His names. God with us! That was why so many people didn’t understand Him. His voice came from a different place. He turned life upside down with the truths He presented. But He also left people with the sense that they had never been closer to God than when they were with Him. We don’t need to stay lost. God is not indifferent to our condition. And He came to us in the most radical way, by taking our flesh, our humanity, on Himself.