“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).” Matthew 1:22-23
Secular singer Joan Osborne sang a song that caused a stir in its day, called “What if God was one of us.” Christians protested because it was seen as blasphemous. While I personally don’t much like the song, I have to admit that it asks valid questions. Questions that many, many people ask. Tragically, what the songwriter failed to realise is that the questions have already been answered.
The first line of two of the verses start with the words:
“If God had a name what would it be?”
“If God had a face what would it look like?”
And the chorus’ first line is, “What if God was one of us?”
If God Had a Name, What Would it Be?
God, who is often addressed and referred to as simply “God,” has many names! Names that describe His character and attributes, names that explain what He does. I would be here all day if I were to start listing them all and attempt in my inadequacy to expound on them! Most Christians (rightly) call Him Father, or “Father God”, or more familiar derivatives of that.
Here are just a few of His names:
El Shaddai (Lord God Almighty)
El Elyon (The Most High God)
Adonai (Lord, Master)
Yahweh (Lord, Jehovah)
Jehovah Nissi (The Lord My Banner)
Jehovah Raah (The Lord My Shepherd)
Jehovah Rapha (The Lord That Heals)
Jehovah Shammah (The Lord Is There)
Jehovah Tsidkenu (The Lord Our Righteousness)
Jehovah Mekoddishkem (The Lord Who Sanctifies You)
El Olam (The Everlasting God)
Jehovah Jireh (The Lord Will Provide)
Jehovah Shalom (The Lord Is Peace)
Jehovah Sabaoth (The Lord of Hosts)
If God Had a Face, What Would it Look Like?
It seems Philip had a similar question, and asked Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” John 14:8-9
The thing is, Jesus had only just explained this, very clearly, but Philip still hadn’t grasped it. Have a look at the preceding verse, just before Philip’s question: “If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” John 14:7
If you want to know what God is like, just look at the life of His son, Jesus. Those who lived and walked alongside Him were looking, literally, at the face of God!
What if God Was One of Us
God did become one of us, in the person of Jesus Christ. Almighty God left the throne of Heaven, wrapped himself in human flesh and became a man! He could have chosen royalty and a palace, noble, rich parents, but instead He chose an ordinary young woman, and an ordinary, common carpenter. He chose to be born in a humble animal shed.
We opened this blog post with Matthew 1:22-23. The angel’s words to Joseph were “That it might be fulfilled.” “It” being the prophesy in Isaiah 7:14 where the supernatural conception of Jesus was prophesied: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
Immanuel – Lets just think and meditate on that beautiful name for a few moments. Immanuel refers to both the deity of Jesus and the wonderful truth of His identification with, and nearness to, mankind. It shows how low God, in His great love, stooped down to save us.
God. With. Us. This is the promise of Immanuel to us. He is with us. True, He is no longer with us in the flesh, but He is with us in an even more special way today, through His Spirit, just as He promised us in John 14:16-18.
He will be with us forever. In the tough times & trials of life, He is with us. In the joys and triumphs, He is with us. He will never leave us nor forsake us. Immanuel is God’s promise to always be with us. (See Matthew 28:20)
The gospel is the story of God becoming one of us. He came to live among us in order that we might one day live with Him. How incredible, and wonderful that is!