Saturday, December 24, 2011Read | Matthew 1:18-25Throughout ancient human history, heaven was God’s dwelling place, and except for a few personal encounters (as with Abraham, Hagar, and Jacob), He seemed far away to most people. Then He came to be in the Israelites’ midst, first in a pillar of cloud and fire, then in the tabernacle and temple. But now, He was about to do something totally new. His presence would be with them in the form of God’s Son, a man who’d literally live among them.Even before Jesus was born on earth, He was given two names, which both indicated His identity and ministry. Immanuel tells us who He is—“God with us.” Christ took on human flesh while retaining undiminished deity and became the perfect God-Man. He lived on earth, walked among men, and suffered the weaknesses of humanity. Yet He also displayed the power of Almighty God as He healed the sick, cast out demons, calmed the sea, and raised the dead.Jesus means “The Lord is salvation,” which describes what He came to do—to save us from the bondage of sin through His death on our behalf. This explains why He had to become Immanuel. Since the Father is immortal and cannot die, His Son had to take on a human body in order to offer Himself as a substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of mankind.But what do these two names of Christ mean for you today? Through the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit, Jesus still lives with you and has the power to deliver you from the grip of any bondage. No sinful habit, painful past, or present struggle is too difficult for the God-Man to overcome.