A friend of mine who is a pastor sometimes says that he has no problem thinking that God has included him as part of the group plan, but he does have a hard time connecting with the thought that God has loved and included him as an individual.
I can very much relate to this sentiment. There are times when I wonder how God could love me as an individual since I know how far short of anyone’s standard I fall.
Reflecting on this brings back memories of lining up to get picked for kickball in elementary school. Since every kid got put on a team there was no question about whether I would be included, but there were huge questions about whether I was wanted by the captain who chose me.
Yet, one of the names associated with Jesus is Immanuel which is translated as “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). Jesus himself promised to be with us until the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). There are no qualifications to this bold statement. Jesus gives us no indication that we can mess this up in any way.
Jesus is with us no matter what.
Now, the grammarians in the group might look at Matthew 28:20 and point out that the “you” is plural, so we still have the issue of whether I am accepted as part of the group or as an individual.
To answer that question, I point to Matthew 11:29 where Jesus says, “take My yoke upon you.” The “you” in this command is also plural. Thinking about this for a few moments will cause us to realize that we cannot collectively take up Jesus’ yoke, taking up Jesus’ yoke is an individual decision. We individually come into relationship with Jesus and follow his commands.
So, Jesus is “God with us” as individuals. He is with me, he is with you and he is with every other believer. And because he is with us, he understands the joys and the difficulties we face. Furthermore, he promises to see us through until the end. If you doubt this, see Philippians 1:6 where Paul tells us:
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.Philippians 1:6 (ESV)
So, Jesus is with us:
- When we succeed
- When we fail
- When we are joyful
- When we are sorrowful
- When life is good
- When life is difficult
- When we feel loved
- When we feel rejected
The bottom line is that Jesus is God with us at all times.
We are never alone, even when it feels like it.
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