Verse of the Day
The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” – which means, “God with us.” Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever –the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. [Matthew 1:23; Isaiah 7:14; John 14:15-17 – NIV]
It’s not even Thanksgiving and all the retailers, strip centers, and shopping malls here in The Woodlands are already decorated for Christmas so I guess it’s not too early for a devotional. So today I’d like for us to focus on the coming of the Messiah over two thousand years ago. What does it means to us in the modern age that God came to earth? Is there something about “being in the presence of God” that we in the 21st century have missed or don’t really understand or appreciate?
Imagine that you were alive two thousand years ago. Maybe you were living in one of the towns that Jesus wandered through as he preached the Gospel. Perhaps you listened to him preach the Sermon on the Mount. You could have witnessed one of His many miracles, heard His wisdom, seen His face, or maybe even touched Him! I consider myself to be a fairly decent writer (all praise goes to God!), but I just can’t think of the right adjectives to describe how it would have felt to have actually been in Jesus’s presence! Jesus Christ, our Lord, fully human, fully divine. What an awesome thought!
Ironically, even the Apostles didn’t fully understand why Jesus had come and what He was doing among them. They knew he was the Christ, the Son of God (Matthew 16:16), but they weren’t really clear about His role here on earth. The Jews yearned for a mighty king, a warrior, who would deliver them from the Romans; however, Jesus came to earth as a servant. Regardless, what a blessing to be in the presence of the living God! To hear His wisdom, hear His Parables; it was certainly nothing short of amazing and awesome! We really can’t fully understand what being in the presence of God is like while we are here on earth. Or can we?
Jesus promised that all Believers would receive a Counselor, the Holy Spirit; “God with us” spiritually as opposed to physically (John 14:15-17). The Apostles and early day disciples received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). Tongues of fire came to rest on these early-day Christians and filled them with the Spirit. Today, we receive the Spirit when He anoints us as Believers and we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
So, we in the 21st century, like all Believers down through the years, have God the Spirit with us constantly. The Holy Spirit plays a critical role in our lives, identifying sin, speaking to us in that still small voice, sanctification and in many other ways that we just can’t comprehend. And so, I say to you that we can and should feel great joy because we too are “in the presence of God!” So, this Christmas give thanks to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost for the grace that has been given to you though the redemptive blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.