When you have a tickly throat that is liable to send you into a coughing fit, it is not a good idea to try to sing, so I have spent this week listening to worship songs and joining in in my spirit. That has given me a good opportunity to focus in greater depth on the words of the different songs – one of which included the words: “Emmanuel, God is with us”, and I began to think what this truly means. As I worshipped, the enormity of our God actually coming to spend time with us here on earth began to sink in in a new way. So often we know these truths in our heads and accept them, but every so often God gives us a fresh revelation of what they really mean.
How astonishing it is that we, as Christians, have the unique experience of the God we worship, actually coming to earth share our lives and experience for Himself all the petty difficulties and problems, the awkward relationships and the pain – and the joy – that is part of our human condition. No other religion claims that for their god, and I do not think that any other faith would claim that their god cares for us as our God does.
The fact that Jesus came as an ordinary man (though of course He was God too), must have been what confused the Pharisees and teachers of the Law. Jesus told them plainly, “I AM”, (John 8: 58) the very words God used to Moses (Exodus 3: 14), and yet they did not believe Him. Perhaps if He had appeared as a burning bush again or walked six inches above the ground with a halo on His head they might have recognised Him, but Jesus was so ordinary – just a simple carpenter, not the king they were expecting.
In our ministry, time and time again, we are thankful that Jesus knows how we feel and can empathise with someone who is going through pain and hurt. Whatever it is, He knows and understands. No pain is too big for Him and no life too messy for Him. He is not embarrassed by our sin and He knows what it is to feel fear and shame. Ultimately, of course, He took it all with Him on the cross in a way that I don’t think we shall ever truly understand. He did away with it, enabling us to walk free. Jesus came to set captives free. It may take a big act of courage on our part for us to allow Him to come into the deep areas of our lives, but we can be set free to enjoy the abundant life He speaks of in John 10: 10.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You so much that You cared enough about me to come and share my life here on earth. Lord, I am so amazed and grateful that You understand all about me and have already carried all my pain and hurt and sin to the cross and have done away with it. Please help me to learn to walk in Your freedom each day. In Your precious name I pray, Amen.
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