Devotion

The Essence of Christianity

by Greg Laurie on Dec 21, 2020
Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’
—Matthew 1:23
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Joseph was heartbroken. He thought Mary had betrayed him.

In those days, betrothals were different from modern-day engagements. A betrothal was almost like being married. And betrothed couples were treated as though they were husband and wife.

So when Mary revealed to Joseph that she supernaturally had the Messiah in her womb, Joseph didn’t know what to do. He didn’t buy it. He loved her, but he didn’t want to go ahead with the marriage.

The Bible tells us that Joseph was a righteous man. He wanted to do the right thing, but he basically had only two options: (1) publicly tell everyone, which meant that Mary could have been executed, or (2) put Mary away privately and terminate their relationship.

Joseph chose the second option, but God had different plans. Matthew’s gospel tells us, “As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. ‘Joseph, son of David,’ the angel said, ‘do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins’” (Matthew 1:20–21 NLT).

In other words, the child in Mary’s womb was the very Messiah. Matthew continues, “All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: ‘Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means “God is with us”’” (verses 22–23 NLT).

This is really the essence of Christianity: God is with us. The Christian faith teaches that God is with us, living inside of us, helping us to be the people He has called to be. Christianity says that we are never alone again.

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