They called him Immanuel, which means “God With Us.”
For me, that has always meant the wonder of the incarnation — of God humbling himself into human form in Jesus in order to draw near, to be with us in our human experience of life, and to then die in order to draw us even nearer to himself.
But this year, I’m thinking about the way Jesus is still, right now, with us.
He is always Immanuel.
Matthew records these last words of Jesus to his followers after the resurrection, just as he ascended into heaven:
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
— Matthew 28:20
He is with us always. Even to the end of the age.
Just as he was ascending into heaven, he tells his disciples he is with them always. It’s a physical impossibility for someone to be in heaven but also here on earth.
Unless you are God. Unless you have a Spirit by whom you come and dwell inside of man. Unless you have a Spirit whose role it is to remind humanity of all your words and teachings and to teach them even more truth — all things — than you taught while walking the earth. This is what Jesus says is true of the Holy Spirit:
“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. … But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”
— John 14:23, 26
We have Jesus now, here. He comes and dwells with us. And we learn, through the agency of His Holy Spirit, all that is true and real in this life that God created.
He is risen from the dead, and he is here with us now. Praise be to God!