WHAT KIND OF GOD IS IMMANUEL?
Any Christian will tell you that in Jesus Christ alone as much of God as can be seen and known in a human life is seen and known. As a Christian I hold that to be something beyond dispute!
But that doesn't mean and we're not to believe it means that the character and will of God is seen in no other human.
Jesus saw the love and righteousness and glory of God everywhere he looked. He stopped one day at a field of beautiful flowers and said, "Look at that! That's my Father's work. Solomon in all his glory never looked that good!"
The writer of Ecclesiastes looked at the sun coming up and going down, up and down, up and down and he said, "Pointless. Pointless I tell you." Jesus saw the same thing and said, "Isn't my Father wonderful! He makes his sun to shine on the thankless and the righteous and he sends his rain on the fields of the atheists as well as the fields of devoted believers." He saw God's generosity where the cynic saw boredom and nothing.
He watched a woman putting yeast into the bread she was making and he said, "Remind me to stop here later and tell you about how my Father's kingdom works." The casual observer saw rising bread and Jesus saw the invisible throbbing rise and spread of God's reign.
He saw God reflected in people as well. Caring fathers who would feed their hungry children good food reminded him of his caring Father. He met a Roman centurion whose faith astonished him and he turned and told the crowd he hadn't seen anything like it. He spoke praise of the heart of Abraham who because he trusted the faithful God was able to see the day when God's promises would be fulfilled in Jesus and so he lived in the joy of it. A non-Jewish mother, because she believed that a God worthy of this Jewish Messiah must be generous to more than his own people Jesus said, "O woman, what great faith you have!" And despite their bickering and their flaws Jesus saw his apostolic group as friends given to him by his Father.
This is "Immanuel"!
On a hill he sat sobbing over the coming war that would bury a million and a half of his people in 70 AD, he got angry with religious leaders who misrepresented his Holy Father and created doubt in the hearts of people and if they made a disciple they made him in their own hellish image [he said]. And as he sat on that hill sobbing over what Rome would do to his wayward nation--with the innocent as well as the guilty--he would have tuirned and looked eastward toward the capital of the evil empire and whispered, "Your day's coming! You and I will meet again; you and all kingoms like you."
Look around you and believe! You see God everywhere and in all kinds of people. You will if you begin to see as Jesus saw.
Bearing in mind that in Jesus we are seeing as much of God as a human can show we gladly acknowledge that are getting a clear picture of the Holy One in his unfathomable generosity in relentless and loving pursuit of us that he might give us life!
But when we remember that even Jesus can only show us something of God we are thrilled even more to hear Jesus say in John 14.28, "You think I'm wonderful, you think I'm worthy of following and worthy of being worshiped? And I am! But I wish you could fully know my Father. He's greater than I am."
That is the God who in and as Jesus is with us. That is "Immanuel"!
©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.
Many thanks to brother Ed Healy, for allowing me to post from his website, theabidingword.com.