"The virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name him Immanuel,"
which means "God is with us."
which means "God is with us."
-- Matthew 1:23
Electricity--particularly electric lighting--is perhaps the one convenience that we most take for granted in our modern society. We simply flick a switch and there it is...until a storm rumbles through and plunges us into utter darkness.
How did we ever function before today's literal Age of Enlightenment? For centuries, people used lamps that burned olive oil. (Jesus even told a parable that involved them!) Later, there were candles, whale oil lanterns and coal gas lighting.
The search for something better took a while. And it wasn't easy. Thomas Edison--the world-famous inventor--tried literally thousands of different filament materials for his light bulb before he finally found one that wouldn't burn out in seconds. He eventually solved the dilemma in 1879 with carbon wire. And a few months later, Edison improved his design by using a bamboo-derived filament that could last more than 1,200 hours. The rest, as they say, is history.
Edison's tireless quest for the perfect light bulb filament is a bit like mankind's never-ending search for ultimate meaning, fulfillment and yes...enlightenment. We all have a spiritual hunger that's hard-coded into our DNA. Some try in vain to satisfy this void through negative pursuits involving drugs, alcohol, compulsive spending or questionable relationships. Others attempt to fill it by becoming workaholics or escaping reality through television, online gaming or even travel. But after the thrill is gone, the hunger always returns.
What they really want is to see and experience The Light. Unfortunately, many people find it hard to believe that it's Jesus. After all, how can one person BE everything it entails? It sounds too simple and good to be true.
But true it is. Jesus backed up the Biblical claims of being "God with us" by fulfilling dozens of prophesies written centuries before His birth. And of course, there was His own Resurrection following His death on a cross to pay the death penalty that we all so rightly deserve. This, too, fulfilled Old Testament prophesy about God's plan for saving His people.
But don't be too hard on modern-day skeptics. Even John the Baptist--the one Jesus called the greatest man ever born--once had his doubts.
"Are you the one who was to come," John instructed his followers to ask Jesus, "or should we expect someone else?"
Jesus answered, "Go and tell John what you have heard and seen. The blind are now able to see, and the lame can walk. People with leprosy are being healed, and the deaf can hear. The dead are raised to life, and the poor are hearing the good news. God will bless everyone who doesn't reject me because of what I do."
After weeks of trial and error, Thomas Edison finally discovered a practical source of long-lasting light. But centuries early, John the Baptist had already found The Light. And so has every Believer today. It's through faith in Jesus Christ that God is indeed with us.