Heroes of the Bible

Immanuel: Jesus

On the Day of Pentecost—the day the Church was born about 50 days after his crucifixion and resurrection—Jesus sent fire down from heaven. Jesus sent the fire of the Holy Spirit! (Luke 24:49; John 15:26; 20:22). “Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where [the disciples] were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit . . ..” (Acts 2:1-4). And so, even though Jesus ascended to heaven after his resurrection, he remained Immanuel through the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:20).

The conception and birth of Jesus “took place to fulfill what the [LORD] had said through the prophet [Isaiah]: ‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God with us’)” (Matthew 1:22-23, paraphrasing Isaiah 7:14).

The name “Immanuel” can also be translated “with us is God” (Isaiah 7:14 translator’s note JSB).

Whether you think about it as “God with us” or “with us is God”, the name “Immanuel” expresses the universal desire to have “God with us” so that “with us is God”.

Throughout the ages, people have marveled and rejoiced that Jesus is Immanuel—“the true light that gives light to everyone . . . . [who] became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” (John 1:9,14).

This true light manifested itself when the Virgin Mary became pregnant “through the Holy Spirit” so that “what [was] conceived in her [was] from the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1:18,20). The Holy Spirit came on Mary, and the power of the Most High overshadowed her. (Luke 1:35).

Jesus was called the Anointed One because he was anointed by the Holy Spirit. In Hebrew, the term “Anointed One” is translated as “Messiah”. In Greek, the term “Anointed One” is translated as “Christ”.

And so, Jesus became known as the Messiah and the Christ.

His anointing by the Holy Spirit manifested itself when Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. “As Jesus was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’” (Luke 3:21-22).

His anointing by the Holy Spirit manifested itself when Jesus overcame temptations.

For example, after his baptism, “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.” (Luke 4:1-2).

These temptations that Jesus endured for forty days in the wilderness echoed the temptations that Israel endured for forty years in the wilderness. Indeed, to resist temptations for forty days, Jesus quoted Scriptures arising from the temptations that Israel endured for forty years.

His anointing by the Holy Spirit manifested itself when Jesus proved that he did “not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD” (Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4; Luke 4:4).

His anointing by the Holy Spirit manifested itself when Jesus proved that he honored the LORD his God and served him only (Deuteronomy 6:13; Matthew 4:10; Luke 4:8).

His anointing by the Holy Spirit manifested itself when Jesus proved that he did not try to manipulate the LORD his God by testing God’s faithfulness. (Deuteronomy 6:16; Matthew 4:7; Luke 4:12).

His anointing by the Holy Spirit manifested itself when Jesus spoke in his hometown synagogue in Nazareth. Jesus quoted from passages in Isaiah to proclaim:

The Spirit of the LORD is on me,

   because he has anointed me

   to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners

   and recovery of sight for the blind,

to set the oppressed free,

   to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor.”

     (Luke 4:17; Isaiah 61:1,2 (LXX); Isaiah 58:6 (emphasis added))

His anointing by the Holy Spirit manifested itself when Jesus “healed all who were ill” (Matthew 12:15) to show that God desires “mercy, not sacrifice” (Matthew 12:7; Hosea 6:6).

His anointing by the Holy Spirit manifested itself when Jesus comforted people by assuring them: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28; echoing Isaiah 40:1).

As the Gospel of Matthew explains, “[t]his was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

‘Here is my servant whom I have chosen,

   the one I love, in whom I delight;

I will put my Spirit on him,

   and he will proclaim justice to the nations. . . . .

In his name the nations will put their hope.’”

(Matthew 12:17-21, quoting Isaiah 42:1-4 (emphasis added))

His anointing by the Holy Spirit manifested itself by fulfilling what was spoken about Jesus by John the Baptist: “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” (Luke 3:16-17).

Jesus made clear that he would not use literal fire to baptize people.

Exactly the opposite!

Jesus rebuked his disciples when they asked him whether he wanted them to call down fire from heaven to destroy a Samaritan village that refused to welcome Jesus. (Luke 9:51-56).

Samaritans were hated by Jews for reasons of religion, ethnicity and nationalism. Hence, shortly after rebuking his disciples for wanting to rain fire down on Samaritans, Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan to stress that his disciples must love ALL people—including people who they had hated because of their religion, ethnicity or nationality.

The only fire that Jesus wanted to bring down from heaven was the fire of the Holy Spirit.

And so, on the Day of Pentecost—the day the Church was born about 50 days after his crucifixion and resurrection—Jesus sent fire down from heaven.

Jesus sent the fire of the Holy Spirit! (Luke 24:49; John 15:26; 20:22).

“Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where [the disciples] were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit . . ..” (Acts 2:1-4).

And so, even though Jesus ascended to heaven after his resurrection, he remained Immanuel through the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:20).

This is the same Spirit of God—the same Immanuel—who manifested his Presence with Moses when God showed him all the goodness of the LORD. (Exodus 33:19).

This is the same Spirit of God—the same Immanuel—who gave Moses the Law, including the Ten Commandments, manifesting the Presence of “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness” (Exodus 33:19).

This is the same Spirit of God—the same Immanuel—who spoke to Elijah in a still small voice, manifesting his Presence by encouraging us to overcome exploitations and evils.

This is the same Spirit of God—the same Immanuel—who fulfilled the Law of Moses and the teachings of Prophets such as Elijah and Isaiah by the Way that Jesus lived and taught. (Matthew 5:17-19; 17:1-5).

This is the same Spirit of God—the same Immanuel—who is with us so that we may have life and so that we may enjoy life to the full. (John 10:10).

This is the same Spirit of God—the same Immanuel—whose crucifixion and resurrection manifest that Jesus is our Good Shepherd (Luke 15:3-7; Psalm 23:1-6):

     —the Good Shepherd who uses all his heart to search for us when we go astray;

     —the Good Shepherd who uses all his mind to find us wherever we are lost; and

     —the Good Shepherd who sacrifices all his strength to carry us home.

Why?

Jesus loves us with all his heart and with all his mind and with all his strength.

Jesus is our Christ and our Messiah—the One anointed by the Spirit of God to manifest love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Jesus loves being with us and we love being with Jesus. Our Good Shepherd! Our Immanuel!

READ MORE

To read more about Immanuel, please read my blogs “Immanuel”, “Immanuel: Moses”, and “Immanuel: Elijah”.

To read more about the Day of Pentecost, please read my blog “The Birth of the Church”.

To read how the LORD God uses the Way of Jesus and the Holy Spirit to make a civilization that is good, that is very good, please read my blog “Establishing Peace Without Limit”.

As you may be aware, the exact relationships among the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have been the source of a controversy among Christians which has continued for 1,500 years and which still divides the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. The controversy centers upon the Filioque clause added to the Nicene Creed by the Roman Catholic Church to state that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son as well as from the Father. Obviously, an explanation and resolution of this controversy is far beyond the scope of this blog.