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Daily Devotional | God with us: The Gospel of Matthew | Man fishing with a net. Daily Devotional | God with us: The Gospel of Matthew | Man fishing with a net.

God With Us | Practical Theology

  • June 2024 Issue
Practical Theology

“Even sin and judgment did not change the purposeful path of God’s love.”

Matthew’s Gospel begins with the startling revelation that Mary became pregnant through the Holy Spirit while engaged to Joseph—“but before the two came together” (Matt. 1:18). To explain the significance of this miraculous conception, Matthew points to Immanuel, the name given to Jesus in Isaiah 7:14. Immanuel means “God with us” (Matt. 1:23).

“God with us” reflects Christ’s unique nature as God in the flesh. But it also describes the direction of all God’s acts from Genesis to Revelation. God’s movement toward us is seen from Creation. The Lord placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to do more than act as caretakers of what He had created. In Eden, God drew near to them, “walking in the garden in the cool of the day” (Gen. 3:8). When Adam and Eve sinned, the resulting breach radically altered this relationship. Yet even sin and judgment did not change the purposeful path of God’s love.

The Bible describes God’s pursuit of sinners. From the sound of His approach in the Garden of Eden all the way to the glorious vision of New Jerusalem and the restored paradise (Rev. 21:1–4), we see God’s active presence. Again and again God repeatedly draws near to humanity in a series of redemptive acts that culminate in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Jesus is worthy of a name that means “God with us.” He is the God who draws near to us and the only One through whom we are able to draw near to God: “Christ also suffered once for bring you to God.” (1 Peter 3:18). Because Jesus is Immanuel, He “came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).

John Ker, the 19th-century Scottish preacher, observed: “The history of all God’s dealings with man is the record of an approach nearer still, and nearer, until, in the incarnate Son, He shares all our sorrows, and carries our sins,—till faith puts its fingers into the print of the nails, its hands into the wounded side, and constrains us to cry, ‘My Lord, and my God.’” Jesus is God with us!

For Further Study

To learn more, read The Gospel of Matthew: God With Us by Matt Woodley (InterVarsity).

BY Dr. John Koessler

John Koessler is Professor Emeritus of Applied Theology and Church Ministries at Moody Bible Institute. John authors the “Practical Theology” column for Today in the Word of which he is also a contributing writer and theological editor. An award-winning author, John’s newest title is When God is Silent: Let the Bible Teach You to Pray (Kirkdale). Prior to joining the Moody faculty, he served as a pastor of Valley Chapel in Green Valley, Illinois, for nine years. He and his wife, Jane, now enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan.

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