Jesus, the Immanuel
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
- Joe talked about how absurd it would have sounded to the Jews that the Jesus they saw live and die, was the promised Immanuel from the prophecy of Isaiah 9:6-7. They were looking for a Powerful Ruler, a Leader, a King to rescue them and bring peace. What do you picture when you hear Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace? How do you want Jesus to be someone different than He is? What are our misconceptions about Jesus and the kingdom He brings, even today? Why is God’s way better?
- Matthew is clear that Jesus is fully God, the incarnate One. This is quite unbelievable! Do you struggle to believe this? Do you ever doubt? If you haven’t, praise God for your gift of faith! If you have, join the droves among you that struggle to believe. What do you do with your doubt?
- Why is it essential for our hope that Jesus was fully God?
- Why is it such a big deal that Jesus was fully human? (See Heb 2:14-18, 2 Cor 1, Psalm 17:15) How does this bring comfort?
- Has your view of Christ been dimmed? By what? How do we enliven our hearts to the reality of Jesus coming to us?
- If you still need more to talk about, discuss how miraculous it is that God who once could not be seen by man lest he die, who needed blood and atoning sacrifices just to come into his presence in the temple, came near, walked among His people in the flesh, seen fully, and they live! How can this be?! Why does this matter? (This is an entirely new kind of kingdom ushered in by the Immanuel! Really just a fulfilled kingdom.)”