Sparta Baptist Church

Advent Day 20

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“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign:  the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and will call Him Immanuel.”  Isaiah 7:14

Read Matthew 1:18-25.  Joseph takes the stage again today, and through his encounter with an angel, we learn a lot about Christ.  You see, Joseph was stuck.  No direction he could take seemed to be the right one.  Even if he was angry with Mary, he was still concerned for her.  A young, unmarried woman like Mary was in danger in their day.  She could have been killed, and Joseph didn’t want that. So, he was going to divorce her “quietly.”  Then the angel appeared, and just like Mary’s, Joseph’s plans changed.

Joseph was given courage because he was given a name.  He was told to name the child Jesus, which is Greek for Joshua and means “the Lord saves.”  He was also told that Jesus would be called Immanuel, which means “God with us.” If Joseph still feared to take Mary as his wife, God with him would take his fears away.

What does it mean to us that Jesus is Immanuel?  For the people of Joseph’s day, it meant that God was walking right in the midst of them.  For us, it means much more.  1 John 4:15 says, “If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.”  Immanuel means He’s IN us!  The God of the universe dwells in us.  Imagine.  Like Joseph, what have we to fear?  “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness.”  (2 Peter 1:3)

Worship: Read Ezekiel 36:25-27.  Today, ask God to renew your spirit and cleanse your heart.  If you never have, ask Him to live in you today.  Pray that God’s spirit in you will move you to follow His ways for “it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13) Ask him to work in you today.

Family Focus: Explain that all of us have a special place inside for God.  Because of sin, the things we do that displease God, that place is empty.  Let children name some things they do that might make God unhappy.  Tell them that if they tell God they know those things are wrong and they ask Him for forgiveness, He will give it.  If they ask Him, He will come fill the empty place inside them.  Give them the opportunity to ask Him to live inside them today.