God is on Our Side

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Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which means, ‘God is with us.’” Matthew 1:23

While some Bible translations tell us the word “Immanuel” means, “God with us,” many include the word “is” in the text, giving us a literal translation of Immanuel as “God is with us.” This is fascinating, because we can see the translational challenges even in the version I use most, the New American Standard Bible.

If we look at Matthew 1:23 in the NASB, it reads Immanuel as “God with us.” But going back to Isaiah 7:14—the Old Testament reference Matthew highlights—the name Immanuel, in the same translation’s special notes, is defined, “God is with us.” Which is it?

Translational challenges aside, Matthew’s quoting Isaiah is a game-changer for our faith. Matthew wants us to know that when God sent us His Son, he sent a message to all of humanity: I am with you, and I want a new relationship with you, greater and more intimate than anything you can imagine.

Many of those who come in our door view God as opposed to them. God is seen as nothing more than judge and jury of wrongs, ready to punish and sending pestilence (and pandemics) whenever He chooses. While none of us can fully understand the “why” of challenging times, with one name—Jesus—God wants us to know, “I am with you.”

With Jesus’ birth, God was no longer distant. Through Jesus, God communicated His thoughts, His desires, and His belief in the value of each of us as His children.

Because of this, Jesus could tell anyone and everyone, “The kingdom of Heaven is at hand,” as in “Right here in front of you.”

Today, we truly are Jesus’ hands and feet. We—like Jesus—can tell our patients and clients—“The kingdom of Heaven is here for you.” And we can say, “God is with you.”

We must think of ourselves as modern-day Peters who, walking the road with John, who saw a lame beggar and said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have, I give to you; in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, walk!”

Peter could say this because every morning when he woke up, he knew God was with him. And he knew this because over three years, this is exactly what Jesus taught him.

Those we see may not be lame on the outside, but they are paralyzed on the inside by things like fear, addiction, emotional pain and so much more. If we can help them gain a new perspective and realize, “God is with me,” we are well on the way to helping them find healing for the hurts and struggles in their lives.

Immanuel. God is with us. He is with you, and He entrusts you to convey this life-changing message to those you see each day.

by Kirk Walden, Advancement Specialist