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First Word – Immanuel

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And, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (KJV). 

With these words from Jesus, we conclude our Resurrection Commission theme, even if Christ’s Great Commission is just beginning for us (Matthew 28:20b). I do hope that you’ve been challenged and inspired by this yearlong journey. I have.

 “I am with you.” Let these words sink deep into your heart. Oh how we need them in this hour when so many voices of distraction and doubt attach themselves to us. As we’ve seen throughout our study in 2019, the Great Commission is about Jesus from start to finish. He calls us to Him. We see Him and worship. All authority is in Him. We go make disciples in His name. We teach all to obey Him. And now Jesus promises His presence. He does not send us alone; He goes with us.

This is Immanuel, “God with us.” One of the great themes of Scripture, this Name is a good summary of the Gospel of Matthew. Not only does Immanuel conclude it, His Name introduces it: “‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us’” (1:23). In your doubts and distractions, stop and look; Jesus is there. This is Matthew’s gospel and is essential to our mission. Because the Risen walks with us, we have all we need. 

Our mission together with God in Christ continues in our focus next year, with the Ministry of Reconciliation as our theme. Building on the Great Commission, we hope to explore the amazing details of our mission and ministry. I can’t think of a better theme for 2020 than reconciliation. With relationships fraying and breaking at every level all around us — and often our own — what better time than now to look to the source of all relationships and their restoration: Jesus!

Read 2 Corinthians 5:14 — 6:2 for a taste of what’s to come, and we’ll see you in this space next time as we begin to examine our profound relationship with God as ambassadors for Christ. See page 13 or the theme flyer at for more details. 

Remember: Immanuel!

— Jason Overman

Jason Overman
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Jason Overman is Editor of Publications of the Bible Advocate Press. After 24 years in the publishing industry (in sales and management) with the Harrison Daily Times, Jason left his general manager’s position to join the BAP family in 2015. He has served in ministry for 30 years and currently pastors the Church of God (Seventh Day) in Jasper, Arkansas, with his wife, Stephanie, and two children, Tabitha and Isaac. Jason enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, reading theology, playing his guitar, and taking in the beautiful Ozark Mountains he calls home.