“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us” (Matthew 1:23).
In 1995 Joan Osborne released the song “One of Us.” Catchy tune. Provocative lyrics. A repeated question: “What if God was one of us … just a slob like one of us?”
I don’t know the songwriter’s intent in asking the question. Was there a searching desire to know the answer? Or was it a commentary on God as he is often portrayed and perceived—a distant god who doesn’t care about the human condition? I don’t know. However, I do know that in the Bible God gives an answer to the song’s question.
God is one of us. Come again? It’s true! God is one of us. In the Bible we are told of a promise God made to become one with the human race: …they will call him Immanuel—which means, God with us. Those words are spoken of Jesus Christ at the time of his birth. The Bible teaches that Jesus is true God and true man at the same time! This is the mystery and miracle of Christmas. This is the mystery and meaning of the special name for Jesus, Immanuel.
Let that thought sink in. God is one of us! Think about it when you’re having a rough day and it seems like nobody cares. Jesus knows and cares because he once lived in our world. In fact, he had it much worse than we do. He was perfectly innocent of all wrongdoing, and yet he suffered humiliation and scorn. He hadn’t hurt anyone or broken a law of God and yet he was sentenced to death.
Jesus died…for no fault of his own. But that’s what he came to do. He was born to die, because our relationship with God is totally messed up otherwise. We have been slobs in the way we’ve lived before God. We deserve his anger for disobeying his commands and living according to our own standards. But Jesus became, not a slob like one of us, but a slob instead of us! He died on the cross in our place. He rose from the dead…in victory.
What if God was one of us? In Christ Jesus he was and truly still is! Through faith in Jesus Christ we have what he came into our world to win—complete forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Look to Immanuel who promises to be your compassionate and powerful companion in this life…and the next!