My wife and I have had five children, all boys. Before each one was born, we had lengthy discussions about their name. For every child, I made an argument to name him MAGNUS. It’s unique. It’s Latin for magnificent. His nickname could be Gnus (pronounced, Guh-nus) and everything would be awesome.
Needless to say, I never got my way.
The angel was clear to Mary: “You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.” (Luke 1:31) Matthew provides the color commentary by reminding us of the promise God made in the Old Testament: “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “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, which includes a quote of Isaiah 7:14)
God with us.
These three words are powerful! Thinking about this truth leads to greater understanding, peace, and comfort. God didn’t need anything from us. No one forced him to come to us. He came because he loves us.
The Bible clearly outlines three different reasons why Jesus, the God-man, came to be with us.
Jesus came to be our FRIEND.
In John 15:15, Jesus makes it clear that the relationship with his disciples transcended master-servant. He calls us “friends” because he reveals everything he’s learned from the Father. Intimacy with God is possible! Hebrews 4:15 teaches that Jesus can sympathize with our weaknesses because he was tempted just like we are—but he didn’t sin. This is good news, in Jesus we can grow closer to God.
Jesus came to be our SAVIOR.
We all need help, even tough we like to pretend we are self-sufficient—it’s hard to admit that we need help! In Matthew 1:21, God tells us why Jesus came to be with us: to save people from their sins. Sin literally means to miss the mark, spiritually, it means we aren’t perfect. I’ve never met anyone who felt like they were perfect. We don’t live up to our own standards, let alone God’s perfect standard. In 1 Timothy 4:10, we are told that we can put our hope in Jesus, because he is the Savior of all people. This is good news, in Jesus we can have help for our biggest problem, separation from God.
Jesus came to be our LORD.
Jesus is more than just a friend and savior, he is also king. This means he ought to be the top priority in our lives. In 2 Peter 3:18, we are called to grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus, to live a life that glorifies him. Let’s return to John 15, where Jesus further describes what it means to be friends with Jesus: “You are my friends if you do what I command” (John 15:14). This is good news, in Jesus we can know our purpose.
Jesus is all of these things – Friend, Savior, and Lord. God came to be with us so that we might accept his invitation to be with him. When we feel alone, we can take comfort that God is with us. When we feel overwhelmed, we can rest because God is with us. When we decide what or who we are going to honor with our lives, we can remember that God is with us.