Recently, I was looking up verses about Jesus being with us, and I noticed something really cool. In Matthew’s Gospel—his account of Jesus’s life— Matthew includes two pointed statements about how Jesus is with us, and he places one of these right at the beginning of his account and the other right at the end. It seems like Matthew did this on purpose to sort of bookend the story of Jesus with a key statement about who He is and what this means for us.
The book of Matthew starts with a genealogy, showing Jesus’s lineage all the way from Abraham to Joseph. Matthew writes that Joseph was “the husband of Mary…the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah” (Matthew 1:16). Matthew then explains that Mary and Joseph were engaged to be married, but while Mary was still a virgin, “she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit” (verse 18). Then an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and explained all this, telling him to go forward with his wedding to Mary and to name the baby Jesus, “because he will save his people from their sins” (verse 21). Next, Matthew explains that all this fulfilled an Old Testament prophecy: “‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ (which means ‘God with us’)” (verse 23). Jesus is the promised Immanuel. Just take a second and try to let that sink in. Not only is Jesus human—He is God, and He is with us.
Now let’s jump ahead, all the way to the end of Matthew’s Gospel. After Jesus does many wonderful things, culminating in His death on the cross and resurrection from the grave, He speaks to His disciples on a mountain. Matthew records Jesus’s words: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (28:18-20). And those are the final words of Matthew’s Gospel. Even though Jesus was about to ascend into heaven (as the other Gospel writers tell us), He made sure His followers knew that He was still Immanuel. The deep desire of God’s heart is to be with His people. This is why He came and lived among us, why He died for us, why He rose again, and why He will one day return to fully restore His creation. Jesus is God, and He is with us…always. • Hannah Howe
• Jesus came because God wants to be with us, now and forever. Why do you think this truth was so important to Matthew that he began and ended his Gospel account with it?
“And surely I [Jesus] am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 (NIV)