Immanuel

David Bast

READ : Matthew 1:18-23

“They shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us). (v. 23 ESV)

China was the scene of one of the most intensive missionary efforts in history. And then with the victory of Mao and the communists in 1949, all the Christian missionaries were expelled. The small Chinese church became the object of intense persecution: many Christians were killed or imprisoned, some went underground, some fell away. Chinese believers were effectively cut off from the rest of the church. For many years almost the only contact they had was through radio broadcasts of the gospel sent out faithfully by several Christian organizations, including Words of Hope. And we could not even be sure people were listening; there was no way for anyone to respond.

During the time of harshest persecution, a letter was received by some Christians in the West from representatives of the Chinese church. Reading it, you could understand why the Communist authorities had allowed it to be sent. It went something like this:

We are good Communists here. We don’t need your western religion. We don’t agree with your Christianity anymore. Please leave us alone.

But below the signature was a P.S., just a single word: Immanuel. And that one word changed everything.

One word does change everything. Because in Jesus, God is with us.

PRAYER

Pleased as man with us to dwell, Jesus, our Immanuel; Hark, the herald angels sing, Glory to the newborn King!