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Summary: Using texts from the prophecies of Isaiah, this is an Advent, Christmas, Epiphany Series on "The Names of Jesus." The theme of this inital sermon is that in the birth of Jesus, God has come to us in human flesh and is our source of strength.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?: HIS NAME IS CALLED IMMANUEL

--ISAIAH 7:10-17, MATTHEW 1:18-23, Hebrews 2:14-18

Everyone is familiar with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet are star crossed lovers. Their families are bitter enemies. In Act II, Scene Two is the famous balcony scene. Juliet laments:

Jul. ‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy;

Thou art thyself though, not a Montague.

What’s a Montague? It is nor hand, nor foot,

Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part

Belonging to a man. O! be some other name:

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet;

So Romeo would, were he not Romeo called,

Retain that dear perfection which he owes

Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name;

And for that name, which is no part of thee,

Take all myself.

[Act II, Scene 2, ll42-53]

In the realm of faith this is not true. Personal names carry much weight and express deep meaning and significance, especially the Names of Jesus.

Even today the name Jewish parents give their baby is vitally important. The infant’s name testifies to the parents’ hope for the child’s future and proclaims and reveals the basic, fundamental character, nature, and destiny of the child. Your name describes who you are.

Robert means “shining with fame” and David “beloved or loving.” Elizabeth means” God has sworn” and Ann “graceful one.” Sheila literally means “blind,” but spiritually “wise.”

Do you know the meaning behind your name? Mike means “Who is like God?”

Jerry means “Strong, powerful.” Janet means “God is gracious”; Linda, “beautiful.” Tom means “twin” and Sue “graceful lily.”

The Names of Jesus are the most significant and meaningful of all. According to one source our Lord and Saviour is given more than 363 names or titles in Scripture. If I preach 45 Sundays per year, taking only one of His names each week, I would have enough material to last eight years and three weeks. Well, we’re not going to go that long in this series entitled “WHAT’S IN A NAME,” but looking in Isaiah, we are going to examine about a half dozen this names of Jesus this Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany.

His Name is called Immanuel. Isaiah spells it with an “I,” Matthew with an “E.” The reason is that Hebrew spells it with an I but Greek with an E.

To fully understand the whole, we need to break it down into its parts. Notice the last two letters of this Divine Name, “E,” “L.” “El” is a name for God meaning “strength” or “might.” It is found both in Hebrew and related languages and may refer to the One true God or to pagan gods. Combined with the name “Shaddai,” the compound name means “God Almighty.” It affirms that God is our source of blessing and was the Name by which God revealed Himself to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as in according to Exodus 6:3, “I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as “God Almighty.” El reminds us of the promise of Psalm 46:1:

God is our refuge and strength,

a very present help in trouble.

Immanuel is “The Lord God Almighty.” He is our source of refuge and strength, our very present help in times of trouble.

Since the birth of Jesus Christ, God has been with us in human flesh. God the Son is fully human, just like you and me. John does not begin his testimony about Jesus with his birth in Bethlehem but goes back to the time of creation: “In the beginning the Word already existed. He was with God, and he was God. He was in the beginning with God. He created everything there is. Nothing exists that He didn’t make. Life itself was in Him, and this life gives light to everyone. . . . So the Word became human and lived here on earth among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen His glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father [John 1:1-4, 14].” John is says that Jesus, Immanuel, the Word, is God in human flesh.

Immanuel is our source of strength no mater how hard the pressures and difficulties of life become. Paul endured pressure and prayed that the Lord would remove his own “thorn in the flesh.” Instead Immanuel answered him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power, my strength, is made perfect in weakness.” We do not know what Paul’s “thorn” was—stuttering, epilepsy, poor eyesight, emotional pain, some continual temptation, or even demonic oppression. Whatever it was, God Almighty’s strength and grace enabled Paul to overcome even though the problem did not go away, and Immanuel will do the same for you and me.

God promised Israel in Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” This promise is ours today in Immanuel. Have you ever felt dismayed? It is the feeling of fear, discouragement, and apprehension. A person who is dismayed has lost all courage and confidence because of some difficulty or problem the individual can not handle. God gives us another wonderful promise we must never forget. We find it once again in the book of Isaiah, Chapter 28, verse sixteen: “So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.’” No one who places their trust in Immanuel “will ever be dismayed.”

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