December 25, 2005


Matthew 1:18-25

"And they will call him Immanuel"--which means, "God with us." Matthew 1:23


In the publishing world, it is sometimes said that a particular book is a definitive work. In other words, the book is a standard by which all future work will be judged or compared. Jesus is the definitive revelation of God, the standard for all time. If someone asks what is revealed in this definitive revelation, we could say, it's all in that little preposition "with." He is God with us. It's more than being simply present. Philosopher Alvin Plantinga quotes a writer who says, "A man looks upon nature, sees its sublimity and beauty, and his spirit gradually rises to the idea of God. He does not see the Divinity, nor does nature prove to him the existence of that Being, but it does excite his mind and imagination until the idea becomes rooted in his heart." But we want to know, Does this Being care that we fall and die? I was once asked to visit a young woman. She was dying of cancer. I asked, "Are you afraid?" And she said, "Of course I'm afraid." Of course. Fear is not irrational. We're under siege. No one gets out of here alive. Yet in Jesus we have a sign, an astonishing reminder, that God is with us. God loves us passionately. It is this love that "drives out fear" (1 John 4:18).

Gracious God, may the love you showed us in sending your Son, Jesus Christ, drive us to our knees and drive out all fear. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Jack Roeda

Rev. Jack Roeda is the senior pastor at Church of the Servant Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and an adjunct professor of preaching at Calvin Theological Seminary. He is married to Carol Sue Kok, and they have three children and two grandchildren. Pastor Roeda has served two previous churches: Exeter (Ont.) Christian Reformed Church and Calvary Christian Reformed Church, Holland, Michigan.

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