Two Names, Two Purposes, One Incredible Gift

Posted: December 23, 2013 in Matthew
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Matthew 1:20-23, “Two Names, Two Purposes, One Incredible Gift”
Christmas 2013

We love getting presents!  The excitement of receiving a gift doesn’t stop when we’re 10 – it continues all our lives.  What’s even better than receiving the perfect present is giving the perfect gift.  When you know you’ve absolutely nailed it, you can’t wait for your loved one to unwrap what you’ve given.  You’re more excited than they are as they rip off the wrapping paper.

If giving the perfect gift excites us that much, imagine what it must be like for God.  God gave the absolutely perfect gift on the first Christmas when He gave us Jesus.  He was so excited about it that He sent a choir of angels to announce it to shepherds outside of Bethlehem! 🙂

The gift, of course, was Jesus.  All of this was made clear several months prior to Jesus’ birth, at the time that Joseph found out about the unplanned pregnancy of his fiancée.  Understandably upset & confused, Joseph wasn’t sure what to think until God intervened by sending an angelic message to him.  What Joseph learned was that his crisis wasn’t truly a crisis at all.  What Joseph saw as a crisis was actually the gift of God.  The gift?  Immanuel – Jesus!  The gift of God at Christmas is Christ the Lord, the God who came to save.

Matthew 1:20–23
20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.

  1. Put yourself in Joseph’s shoes for a moment.  This was an absolute crisis for him.  By no stretch of the imagination was he a wealthy man, but he would have been a respected man in his community and synagogue.  All his friends and family were rejoicing with him that he had found a woman to marry.  He went about the task of preparing a home for the two of them in which to live – all of this was being done according to custom and blessing of their community.  Betrothal was a very public relationship – the fiancées were husband & wife in every way with the exception of physical acts of love & living together.  It was a time of preparation & a time of testing and purity.  Only it seemed as if Mary had failed the test.  At some point after their betrothal, she had become pregnant, and Joseph knew he wasn’t the father.  Being that Nazareth was an extremely small village, it wasn’t long before everyone else knew it as well.  Rumors were surely flying.  Was it Joseph who did it & was lying?  Was Mary impure?  Was it another Jewish boy, or was there something else that had happened with the Romans?  Scandal came quickly, and choices for Joseph would have seemed scarce.  All of his hopes for a normal Jewish marriage were quickly crashing down.  Mary would have seemed to have been one of the most righteous young women in town – how could this have happened to her, of all people?
  2. It’s not like Joseph was trying to persecute Mary.  He was a “just man,” wanting to honor God in his actions.  It’s no wonder that he feared the possible outcome.  Either he would dishonor the Lord by condoning the (supposed) sin that Mary had committed, or he would have to publicly shame Mary – possibly bringing about her death.  Again, Joseph didn’t have many choices, and it’s no wonder that Joseph was afraid.  Who among us would not have been?
  3. Thankfully for Joseph, God sent an angel in a dream to comfort him.  We know the backstory and it’s relatively familiar to us – but it sure wasn’t to Joseph.  For him, this was real-time & real-life.  We’re not told how long he struggled with this situation and decision.  It’s probable that he was coming under quite a bit of pressure to hurry up and deal with this thing – perhaps even that very day.  This was an hour of crisis & fear for Joseph, but God didn’t want Joseph to fear.  God sent an angel to him with a message of comfort.
    1. Isn’t that what the gospel is?  Gospel = “good news.”  It’s a message of comfort & joy.  We don’t have to fear death.  We don’t have to fear the eternal consequence of our sin.  We don’t have to fear being forever estranged from the God who created us.  God came with good news and addressed us with joyful tiding!  Don’t fear – don’t be afraid!  Look to God for your comfort – listen to the message that He brings through Jesus!
  4. Notice how Joseph is addressed: “son of David.”  Poor carpenter though he was, Joseph was also the legal heir to the throne in Jerusalem.  Not that it seemed to matter much in these times.  The nation of Israel had long since lost its independence.  The rightful king of Israel had not sat on the throne in Jerusalem since the Babylonians took the nation captive.  After that, they were ruled by the Babylonians, the Medes & Persians, the Greeks, the Seleucids & Ptolemies, and finally the Romans.  Yet this was Joseph’s birthright – and thus it was the birthright of any son he would legally adopt.
    1. In the process, God solves a problem for the line of David that only God Himself could address.  Jesus is biologically the son of David through Mary, but legally the son of David & heir to the throne through Joseph (as seen through the different genealogies in Matthew & Luke).  Joseph was the legal heir, but the line had been broken as God’s curse against Jeconiah. (Jer 22:30)  Joseph had the birthright, but no right, all at the same time.  God perfectly reconciles that through Jesus!
  5. What was the message?  The child is a gift from God.   This crisis was not as it appeared.  There was indeed a child at stake, but that child was “conceived of the Holy Spirit.”  There had not been any impurity on Mary’s part – nor had there been any crime that remained covered up.  This child was not the result of sin; it was the result of the sinless God.  God gave this Child as a gift through supernatural wonder and His direct work.
    1. Anything that comes from God is a good thing – especially in the case of Jesus!  But the most reassuring news for Joseph in that moment had to have been that God was in control.  No doubt Joseph would have been in awe of what the angel said about the Child being Jesus & Immanuel – but that would have taken some time to sink in (understandably so!).  What addressed the most immediate need was that the crisis was not a crisis at all – it was a wonderful opportunity afforded Joseph and Mary by Almighty God.  GOD had done all of this, and God was including Joseph in His plan.
    2. In all things regarding Jesus’ life & ministry, God was always in control.  That’s true regarding His birth – regarding His miracles – even His rejection, crucifixion, and resurrection.  ALL of this was done according to the plan and purpose of God.  God is sovereign through it all.  Nothing was left to chance.
    3. What does that tell us about our offer of salvation through Jesus?  It’s assured.  Nothing is left to chance.  When we place our faith in Jesus as Lord, we don’t have to hope that we might be saved – we don’t have to wonder if what Jesus did was enough.  All of it is already done! All of it is in the hands of God – God has it under control.
  6. God’s plan for Joseph was for him not to fear.  What was God’s plan for Mary & the Child?  Vs. 21…

21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”

  1. God’s plan for Mary?  “She will bring forth a Son.”  Right off the bat, this says a couple of things.  (1) She is going to live, no matter what Joseph decided to do.  Joseph could rejoice in the plan of God and take part in it, or he could choose to rebel against it and try to drag Mary into a public trial.  Yet God declared that His plan would come to fruition, no matter what.  In some way & fashion, God would see that Mary would live and that she would bear the pregnancy until the very end.  What Joseph’s part would be in it depended on his choice & response to God’s offer of grace.  (So it is so often with us!  God’s plan is going to be done – what part we play in it depends on our response to God.)  (2) The Child was going to live, and it would be a Son.  The pregnancy would be healthy, and the Child would be healthy…and Joseph was even told the sex of the child.  Again, God had a plan and purpose in motion, and although Joseph could take part in this plan, the plan would not be swayed.
  2. God’s plan for the Babe?  The child brings a gift from God: salvation.  Joseph was told a very specific name to give the Son: “Jesus.”  Typically a father might name his children after a family member, or even after himself.  It’s certainly possible that Joseph had relatives named Jesus (Joshua/Yeshua) as it was a common name – but this is not a name that was left to chance. (God told both Mary AND Joseph that this was to be the name.)  God wanted this Child to be named Jesus because the name has a specific meaning and purpose: “for He will save His people from their sins.”  Jesus = Yeshua = Yahweh-is-salvation/Yahweh-saves.  Yahweh/Jehovah = the everlasting I AM – the covenant-keeping God of Israel – the ever-existent One.  This God is the One who reaches out to mankind and delivers them – He offers His loving salvation.  That’s what “Jesus” means.  Every time we utter His name, we utter the gospel!  God come to save mankind – that is His purpose & His name.
  3. What do we need salvation from?  It’s a logical question.  After all, if we’re to be saved, it must mean that there is something from which we must need saving.  There must be some trouble in which we’re in that we are in need of deliverance.  “From their sins.”  Sin is a lost concept in today’s world – we don’t like labeling things as sinful.  We tend to think that whatever someone chooses to do is valid & acceptable as long as it doesn’t bring harm on someone else.  But that’s flawed thinking.  Sin always harms.  How so?  If nothing else, sin is always an offense against God, and thus sin always harms us.  God is perfect, and anything short of perfection is sinful.  Pick your poison – we all qualify on this.  It doesn’t matter what your pet sin may be, we’ve all fallen short of the glory of God.  So we’re all deserving of God’s judgment, which is death.  That in itself is terrible news, but it’s the truth.  But that’s where the good news of Jesus comes in.  When God says to Joseph that Jesus will save us from our sins, that’s exactly what God is referring to.  Jesus saves us from the penalty that our sin brings.  He offers us salvation out of death & offers us eternal life with God.  No matter what the sin – no matter how bad the crime – nothing is so bad that Jesus cannot save.  That is His very purpose, and that is His name!
  4. That was the message from the angel – but there was more to the purposes of God.  Matthew goes on to fill in the details in vs. 22…

22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

  1. The child fulfills the promise of God.  There had been a prophecy given centuries earlier through the prophet Isaiah to one of the evil kings of Judah, Ahaz.  The kingdoms of Israel and Judah had already gone through some terrible times.  The once-united kingdom under David and Solomon was long divided, and idolatry had swept through both lands.  The northern kingdom of Israel had basically given themselves over to false idols, and the southern kingdom of Judah wasn’t much better.  Judah had some periods of revival, but they were short-lived.  By this point in the history of the kingdoms, God was allowing enemy after enemy to attack both kingdoms, and although they would each remain for a time, eventually both kingdoms would be overrun in judgment.  Israel would be taken out by the Assyrians, whereas Judah would be carted off into captivity by the Babylonians.  At the time of this particular prophecy, the conquering of the northern kingdom of Israel was just around the corner, but the particular threat on Judah’s radar was the nation of Syria.  Syria and Israel had joined forces in battle against Judah, and things would have looked pretty bleak for the southern kingdom.  That’s when God told Isaiah the prophet to give a word to King Ahaz of Judah.  Ahaz may have been an evil king, but God had a good plan for His people, and God wanted to assure the people that His promise would stand.  The problem was that Ahaz did not believe the Lord.  God went so far as to invite Ahaz to ask for a miraculous sign for assurance that Judah would not be defeated in this particular war, and Ahaz refused to ask for one.  Because Ahaz had no faith and would not ask for a sign, God Himself gave the sign, and this prophecy is the result.  Want something that is impossible?  Something that only God can do?  Having a virgin give birth to a Son fits the bill!  There would be a special birth given by God, and that was the sign that God’s promise to Judah would never be forsaken.
    1. That prophecy given to a rebellious king in ancient Judah is fulfilled in Jesus Christ.  Although there seems to have been a partial fulfillment of that prophecy in Isaiah’s lifetime, there’s no way it could have been ultimately fulfilled because until Mary came along, there was no virgin birth.  In the history of the world, there has only been one verifiable virgin birth, and that was Mary giving birth to Jesus.  (Verifiable, because only Christianity among all religions is proven true.)  God promised a virgin (“parthenos”) to bear a Son, and that’s exactly what He did.
    2. That prophecy actually looks back to an even more ancient prophecy…one that was given at the dawn of mankind.  Genesis 3:15, "And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”" []  From the very beginning, a Son had to come from a woman without the interaction of a man, and that Son would be destruction of the Serpent and his evil.  That Son is the Son that was promised to Ahaz, and the Son that was born through the virgin Mary, and that Son that was promised as a comfort to Joseph.
  2. That Son is Immanuel.  The child IS God.  As glorious as it is to see prophecy fulfilled, knowing that the promises of God always stand firm – even more glorious is to know what this particular promise states.  It isn’t just that a virgin bears a Son (amazing in itself!), but this particular Child is like none other.  This is “Immanuel…God with us.”  Don’t miss that.  When the child is born, He will be referred to as “God with us” – God walking among man.  This isn’t a prophet, or any normal man that had God the Holy Spirit come upon him.  Many people in the OT had the Holy Spirit come upon them, but none was referred to as God-with-us.  The greatest prophets in the OT were always seen as men, and no more.  The only way someone would be called “Immanuel” would be if God Himself walked among men.  GOD, with us.  That is who Jesus is – He is God in the flesh, come to walk among mankind.  That’s the same thing John was getting at in the prologue of his gospel: John 1:14, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." []  This same Word (the expression and revelation of God) who is Himself God and has eternally been with God and through whom God the Father created all the world – THIS Word somehow became flesh and dwelt among us.  Can you wrap your mind around that?  Is it even possible for us to conceive?  The almighty eternal God, infinite in all His attributes, put on human flesh and lived among men as a Man.  More than just squeezing Himself into a man-suit – God the Son actually became flesh.  The Infinite God became a finite Man, and lived the exact same things that all of us do.  When Jesus was born, He did not exercise His divine power to feed and clean Himself.  No, He was a baby & like every other baby He had to be fed and have His diaper changed.  Every single humiliating thing about being a human is what Jesus experienced because God became human.  No doubt God the Son spit up.  How do we know?  Because all of us did.  Scripture explicitly tells us that Jesus got hungry (during His temptation) and thirsty (upon the cross).  The Bible shows Jesus experiencing the same hardships as everyone else.  He had to walk on the dusty roads, experience the inconvenience of the crowds, etc.  This is GOD.  This is whom all the fullness of deity indwells.  There is a magnitude of humility in the incarnation that is virtually impossible to describe.
    1. And because of that, there is a magnitude of love in the incarnation that is almost inconceivable.  How far are you willing to go to someone to let them know you love them?  Some of you, when dating your spouse, went to great lengths to show how much you were willing to sacrifice for them.  When we become parents, we humble ourselves in all sorts of ways for our children – gladly so!  We sacrifice time, sleep, even goals and dreams because we have someone that is worth the sacrifice.  How far was God willing to go?  God was willing to become a human.  Almighty God, who had never experienced anything less than absolute glory, was willing to come upon the fallen earth that we ourselves had corrupted through our sin, and actually become a man to live among us & with us.  We could understand only the barest truths about the law and nature of God, but He walked among us so that we would see the revelation of His love and grace.  And more than that – God humbled Himself so much that He was willing to go to the extent of being rejected by the Ones He loved and created.  He went to the extent of suffering torture as He was nailed to the awful cross.  He went to the extent of death.  There is tremendous love in the incarnation!  Praise God that He is Immanuel!

That’s something we need to spend a bit of time on at Christmas.  What is wrapped up in His name?  What makes this such an incredible gift?

Notice that this is the 2nd name given to the Child.  “Jesus” is the first, which is His birth name to be given by His mother and adoptive father.  “Immanuel” is the second, which is the name that would be given by the people. “They shall call His name Immanuel,” which is exactly what the people wondered about Jesus as they considered the fact that He is the Messiah, and when they directly asked Him if He was the Son of God.  Of course, the prophecy still comes literally true today every time one of us proclaims Jesus to be Immanuel.  (We are not the original Jews of His day, but we’re certainly included in the “they.”)

Each name had a meaning and purpose, both purposes being essential to the one plan of God for Him and for us.  Again, “Jesus” refers to the salvation of God (Yahweh is Salvation / Yahweh Saves), and “Immanuel” refers to the incarnation of God (“God with us”).  When we consider the incarnation, we are always (and rightly) amazed at the truth that God Himself came in human form.  But have we considered what that means for our salvation?  How exactly does the incarnation fit into God’s plan to reconcile the world to Himself through Jesus?  It’s absolutely crucial.  If we never had Immanuel, we could never have Jesus.  I.e. if we never had the incarnation, then salvation would be impossible.  There is zero way for mankind to be saved apart from God Himself becoming Man.

How do we know?  For this, we need to remember how God set up the system of sacrifice through Moses & the law.  Whenever a person sinned, they would bring an acceptable animal to the place of the Lord (the tabernacle or temple), where the priest would symbolically transfer the sin of the person to the animal & the animal was slain upon the altar of God.  Apart from this ongoing sacrifice, the people had no way of worshipping God – this was the only way for them to put their sin aside and to live as God’s people.  In this, we see two things: (1) The remission of sin requires bloodshed, (2) the remission of sin requires and acceptable substitute.  Both of these aspects are absolutely necessary, and both are fulfilled in Jesus.

Objection: “Really? Does blood really need to be shed through a sacrifice?  Can’t God simply wave His hands and proclaim us forgiven?  Why does Jesus (or any sacrifice) need to be involved at all?”  Good question!

An offer from God to save mankind without death/blood might sound nice and clean to our ears, but in reality, it denies the justice of God.  The true reality is that we have all sinned greatly against God, and our sins and crimes need to be addressed.  After all, even in our own imperfect fallen society, we do not allow heinous crimes to go unanswered.  When we do see criminals improperly punished, we erupt in righteous outrage.  [“Affluenza” defense, Tarrant Co., 4 dead]  If unanswered crime offends our sense of justice, imagine how unanswered sin offends the perfect justice of the Infinite God!  There has to be a just response to sin – and that response is bloodshed/death.  The Bible tells us clearly that the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23) – that is the only way to answer the justice of God.

The problem is that there’s no way to pay that wage without our eternal doom.  If we are to shed our own blood unto death, then we’re dead.  We have no power to overcome death, and our own death is insufficient to cover all our sins in the first place.  A single sin is a sin against an infinite God, and thus a sin unto death.  How many sins do we commit in a single day, much more a lifetime?  We’re woefully inadequate to pay the price!

That takes us to the idea of a substitute.  If something or someone was to die in our place, at that point we’d have a chance to live.  It would be as if we were standing in front of a judge, and someone offered to pay our fine on our behalf.  At that point, the debt would be satisfied.  That sounds great, but who can pay the price of death?

In the OT sacrificial system, this was the whole purpose of bringing the animals to the tabernacle/temple.  They served as the substitute for the person who had sinned.  The problem is that they were an imperfect substitute.  Animals are of course without sin (they have no human free will), but they also have less value than people.  We may love our pets as members of our family, but there is no question that given a choice between a child dying and livestock dying, we’ll choose the livestock every time.  So although animal sacrifice is what was provided by God through the law, animals are insufficient substitutes.  It would be like owing a $1 million fine, and paying a payment of $100 on it.  It addresses the fact that a fine is owed, but never comes close to paying it off.  And this is the reason that animals had to be sacrificed constantly in the OT system – as the Bible says, “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.” (Heb 10:4)

“OK – so we know that animals aren’t good enough, but what about people?  What if I loved my child enough that I was willing to die on his/her behalf for their sins so that they wouldn’t be eternally doomed?”  It’s a good question & an incredible act and demonstration of love.  After all, there is no greater act of love than when a man would lay down his life for his friends (Jn 15:13).

Even here, the problem is the lack of an acceptable sacrifice.  How can we lay down our life for someone else when we have our own sins for which we’re responsible?  After all, we cannot pay a fine for someone else if it’s already going to take all our money (and more) to pay for a fine that we ourselves owe.  We might have the desire to give & sacrifice, but we simply have nothing to offer.  It’s true that only a man is an acceptable substitute for men – but the problem is that there are no acceptable men.

THAT’s where the incarnation comes in.  THAT is the point of Immanuel.

The incarnation is our only option.  God alone is without sin, and God became a Man.

This isn’t like an insufficient animal sacrifice – when God became a man, God became a real human.  He wasn’t a partial man or some kind of angelic being that just looked like a man.  The eternal Son of God became 100% Man.  Just like any human, He was physically born from a mother, raised as a child, and experienced all of the exact same thing that we experience.  God the Son never lost His divinity – He merely chose not to exercise it for a time.  Instead, He chose to live as a normal human male, fully human in every respect, to the extent that He was even tempted in all ways like we are (though without sin).  Fully human, fully God, walking among us, living among us…Immanuel!

But simply coming as a Man is not enough.  Immanuel comes to be Jesus.  This Man has the purpose of serving as our substitute.  IOW, He has to die.  As Man, only Immanuel is capable of serving as a true substitute for mankind.  As God, only Immanuel has the ability to fully conquer death through His blood.  But if He did not take it all the way through to the cross & resurrection, none of that would have mattered.

Praise God that Jesus did come as God in the flesh, go to the cross on our behalf, and rise again form the grave in victory over death!  But imagine for a moment that He did not.  Imagine if God still came as Immanuel – if He lived and dwelt among us, still showing compassion, still healing & working miracles, still teaching all of the things that He did.  Imagine that He did it all except for the cross.  He wouldn’t be Jesus.  He wouldn’t be God-who-saves.  We would still be hopeless!  No matter how compassionate Immanuel would have been, we would still be lost in our sins, destined for hell.

God-with-us apart from the God-who-saves may still be God, but He is a God from whom we are eternally and hopelessly separated.  There is compassion, but there is no justice…and thus there is no salvation.

All the time (especially this time of year), people try to take Jesus without the cross.  They are fine as seeing Him as a babe in a manger – they fine to see Him as a wonderful compassionate person without sin who loved the outcasts.  They may even want His teaching (at least some of it, from which they pick and choose), but they don’t want anything else from Him.  They don’t want to consider the fact that He is still God, and God exacts punishment for sin.

And that is exactly what the cross declares.  The cross (more clearly than anything else imaginable) is the demonstration of wrath and anger that God has upon sin.  It is God’s punishment – the visual declaration that the wages of sin is death, and it was Jesus who paid it.  Jesus had no reason to die.  He had no sin – He had committed no crime.  Apart from serving as the substitute sacrifice for you & men, there was absolutely no reason for Him to die at all.  But yet He did die – and that was God’s very plan for Him from His birth.

“Immanuel” is wonderful, but the name is most wonderful when we realize that dwelling among us was not the Son of God’s only purpose.  He had something far better in mind than merely living in our neighborhood and walking in our shoes.  God-with-us came to save us!  God-with-us came with the specific purpose of being God-is-salvation.  IOW, He was born precisely so He could die as our substitute.  Jesus did not come merely to seek the lost; He came to seek and to save that which was lost (Lk 19:10).  Without the first, the second would happen – without the second, the first is ineffective.

He is Immanuel – He is Jesus – praise the Lord!

This is why the Son was given through the virgin – this is why God used Mary & Joseph in His eternal sovereign plan.  There was indeed a crisis at work, but it wasn’t the crisis that Joseph originally imagined.  The crisis was the fall of mankind.  At the dawn of history, man sinned against God, and humans have been dying as a result ever since.  Our sin brings forth the wage of death, and we are doomed and lost in it without hope – unless God Himself intervenes.

And He did.  He sent Immanuel – He sent Jesus.  As our Lord Himself said: John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." []  God’s only/uniquely begotten Son = Immanuel, God with us.  God in the flesh – fully God & fully human in every respect.  “Should not perish” = Jesus, God-is-salvation.  That same Immanuel served as the perfect substitute sacrifice on our behalf in order that we might be saved from our sins – that we might be saved from death. 

This is the wonderfully good news of Christmas!  This is what we celebrate when we sing of the Babe in a manger.  It’s more than a crèche – it’s more than a nice nativity scene with sheep & manger troughs & a star.  It is the eternal plan of God for our salvation at work.  It is the infinite almighty God come as Man in order that He might seek and save that which was lost.

Christmas is indeed a time of celebration & a time in which we give gifts to one another.  Each and every gift we exchange is a slight shadow of the ultimate gift that was given from God to us: Immanuel, Jesus.

So celebrate with joy!  But celebrate also with worship – in awe of the God who gave His Son for you.

Perhaps you’re not sure how exactly to do that.  How does someone celebrate the gift of salvation through Jesus?  Like any present, the first step is to receive it and open it.  If you were handed a gift by a family member & just set it over to the side of the room, never opening it, then you never truly received the gift.  Even if you knew exactly what the present contained, it wouldn’t make a difference if you never took it out of the box, to receive it and use it.  Likewise with the gift of salvation offered through Jesus.  You can know all about it, and you can see it offered every year at Christmas – but if you never take it to yourself personally, then you’ve never received the gift.

Today, receive the gift!  Look to Jesus in faith, believing Him to be Immanuel: God in the flesh, God-with-us.  See Him as the Almighty God that He truly is, and the true substitute for your sin upon the cross.  And then respond Him as Jesus: God-who-saves.  Believe upon His saving work, and then consciously ask Him for His forgiveness and salvation.  Tell Jesus that you want to turn away from your sin & to receive Him as your Lord & Savior.  Receive the gift of life by receiving Jesus as your King.

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