Matthew 1:23 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”–which means, “God with us.”
For centuries before Jesus came, the common thinking said God was at His Temple in Jerusalem. In the Old Testament the power of the Holy Spirit would descend upon people from time to time. Prophets would speak under the power of God’s Spirit. Healings occurred and battles were won through God’s Spirit. But the presence of God’s Spirit in people’s lives was not constant. The Spirit of God appeared as He purposed to accomplish a specific task. The concept of God living among us was foreign to the Jewish mind, until Jesus came.
Jesus walked the earth in a physical body. He was human like you and me. He experienced hunger and thirst and happiness and sadness just like we do. But make no mistake, the Bible clearly declares that Jesus was God in the flesh. God was living among His people every day Jesus walked the earth.
Imagine the shock the disciples went through when Jesus told them He was leaving. He told them He was going to be betrayed, arrested, and killed. You can read about it in chapters 13-17 of the gospel of John. His disciples wondered what would happen to them when Jesus left. In the midst of the discussion, Jesus told them this:
John 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever– 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
Jesus promises His Father will send the Holy Spirit to indwell His followers. Not only does Jesus promise the Holy Spirit, Jesus says He Himself will live within His followers:
John 14:19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”
The followers of Jesus were promised that God would indwell them. His dwelling would not be a building like the Temple in Jerusalem anymore. God promised that He Himself would indwell each and every person who surrendered their lives to Jesus and followed Him.
John 14:23 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
1 Corinthians 3:16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?
The New Testament declares a great change from the Old Testament. Jesus takes “God with us” to a whole new level. Through Jesus’ promise and His Holy Spirit, God now lives in each believer. That means if you have surrendered your life to Jesus and are following Him, God indwells you. Your relationship with God is the most intimate relationship of your life.
Over the next few days we will examine what the Holy Spirit wants to do in our lives and how we can cooperate with Him instead of fight against Him. For today, however, praise God for the fact that God loves every follower of Jesus so much, He is willing to live in each of our hearts!