Matthew 1:22-23 - All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and they shall call His Name Immanuel" (which means, God with us).
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global scale, we have asked the volunteers of our international ministry centers to write our Sunday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through their words.
In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours,
Kenneth R. Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
In the first chapter of Matthew, one can find two names attributed to Jesus.
In today's devotion I would invite you to reflect on the name Immanuel, which is found in Matthew 1:23b, "... and they shall call Him Immanuel, which means God with us." There are three things about that Name I would like to share.
First, the name Immanuel tells us that God is present. Scripture tells us God is in heaven. Moreover, He is beyond the comprehension of human beings. It is this concept that keeps God away from us. However, in the Person of Jesus Christ, God comes near to us. In Jesus, through His life and death of sacrifice we see the love of the Lord in a way no other religion can share. It is that love which brings us to and keeps us with the Lord.
Let us therefore pray that we shall abide in the Lord's presence in the year 2017.
The second thing I would like to share is that God became a true Man person in Jesus Christ. The rationale behind Jesus becoming a Man is to communicate and save the world's lost sinners. This is a great truth of the Gospel narrative.
Since Jesus is a person replete with personal qualities and acts, He is able to act upon our lives. He understands our inner struggles and problems, our confusion and contradictions. In the midst of all these struggles, God's personal care and forgiveness becomes ours through Jesus. The Savior's transforming presence calls believers to a life of gratitude, which ought to inspire our lives in this New Year.
Finally, the name Immanuel brings to the fore the providence of God. The general providence of God tells us the Lord has continued to be involved in the existence and the welfare of the world. All things on earth move and have their being because of this ongoing commitment of God.
At the same time, God's special providence -- His saving providence -- has come to us in the Person of Jesus: Immanuel. The redemptive work of God in Jesus Christ is solid proof of God's love and security for man.
In Jesus we are given divine, blood-bought hope that Jesus is able to keep His people secure and safe from the forces of evil. No matter what this year may bring, we can rejoice knowing our days and our eternity are based on God's faithfulness. It is a faithfulness that will -- because of Immanuel -- always remain unchanged.
I pray the promise of God's preservation will reinvigorate your life in this New Year 2017. Let us therefore rejoice in God who is the Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer and Provider. By the Holy Sprit's power, may your faith grow from strength to strength. May the presence, personality and providence of God be upon you and your family throughout this year.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, because of Jesus, our Immanuel, we can thank You for Your ongoing presence in our lives. Enable us, O Lord, to rely upon Jesus as we journey through this New Year. May He keep us from dangers, ills, and lead us ever closer to You. This we pray in Jesus' Name. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by Rev. Balakrishnan Kathamuthu. Pastor Kathamuthu teaches New Testament at Gurukul Lutheran Theological College in Chennai, India. We thank him for his devotion and support of Lutheran Hour Ministries.
In this country of 1.2 billion people, Lutheran Hour Ministries-India is known as Christian Media Centre and began operations in 1951. Using Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC) in six languages -- Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Hindi Marathi, Gujarati and English, this ministry center in Chennai reaches out with the Gospel. It also utilizes the Internet to broadcast round-the-clock radio messages of love and hope. Beyond this, short dramas, devotional songs, stage plays, and dance convey the Gospel to audiences in remote villages and cities. Twice weekly this ministry center broadcasts television programs to reach out to Tamil-speaking people.
Check out LHM-India's blog and read about its celebration of 65 years of operation in India this past December. There are several great pictures complementing this article. You can check it out by clicking here.
To learn more about our International Ministries, visit www.lhm.org/international.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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