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Dan Mielke: Quarantined for Christmas?

As we enter the Christmas season it is common to look at Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”  The name Immanuel means, “God with us.”  This concept sets Christianity apart from all other religions in that God is not simply above us or around us, but came to be with us.  The passage raises an interesting question.  Does that mean that Jesus was quarantined for Christmas?

When God became Immanuel, the Lord of creation was quarantined for Christmas.  The God who is outside of space and time, quarantined Himself in the stuffy walls of a womb for 9 months.  After He was born, His quarantine continued.  He was wrapped in immovable swaddling bands; He was confined to a manger.  The Lord of creation had to wait for His motor skills and brain to develop, and it was likely that by Jesus’ second Christmas He was still unable to walk and was carried around by His mother.

When God became Immanuel, the Creator of family didn’t go home for Christmas.  By His second or third Christmas, Jesus was a refugee in Egypt.  Even after the family returned to Israel, they had to move to an unfamiliar place in Nazareth.  Even more shocking is the fact that Jesus lived apart from His Heavenly home for over 30 Christmases.   

When God became Immanuel, He was quarantined for life.  Immanuel chose to imprison Himself in a bag of flesh made from the dirt which He created.  He willingly submitted Himself to the pain of hunger, thirst, fatigue, and even had to walk across the molecules that He sustained.  For Jesus, the whole earth was an awfully small home when the universe cannot contain you.

The question that must be raised is, “Why did Jesus quarantine Himself?”  We find the answer to Immanuel at the angel’s announcement to Joseph in Matthew 1:21, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”  The name Jesus means,

“Salvation of God.”  Jesus became ‘God with us’ that we might be with God.

Jesus came that He might remove the quarantine of humanity brought about by the sinful rejection of God.  In our natural state, all of humanity is infected by the disease of sin.  Because of our sin, we must be separated (quarantined) from a Holy God and His Holy Heaven.  Jesus became Immanuel, so that He might end the quarantine of humanity brought about by sin.

Immanuel took upon Himself the sin of humanity.  He lived life in quarantine so that He could save His people from their sins.  As Immanuel, Jesus bore the sin of humanity at the cross, and paid for the cure with His life’s blood.  Jesus was again quarantined in the grave for three days, before He was raised to life.  Jesus offers the ability to be right with God and end our self-inflicted quarantine.   The Bible says that “Whoseover shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Act 2:21)

Do you feel isolated or quarantined this Holiday season?  If so, I would invite you to consider that Immanuel quarantined Himself on earth, so that you can live with Him in Heaven.  Immanuel separated Himself from His home, that you might have a home in Heaven and be together for all eternity.  Have you allowed the knowledge of Immanuel (God with us) to mature into the recognition of Jesus (Salvation from your sins)? 

“That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10)