Summary: Jesus/ Immanuel is God’s promise to never leave us nor forsake us; to be with us always!
There are many names given to Jesus in the Bible– each one gives us a fuller and clearer picture of who
He is and What He means for us...
And so, as we are unpacking the various names of Jesus we are asking ourselves “Who IS this man that
we have put our hope in?” The very name Jesus means “God saves!” He is God’s promise to deliver us!
He is Messiah, the Christ... “the anointed one”, our KING and we are his subjects! This morning, I want us
to look at another name of Jesus found in the text read a moment ago: Immanuel.
Any time is a great time to look at the person of Jesus, but it seems especially appropriate this time of year as millions the world over pause to think about the Christ. And yet, I wonder amidst all the pomp & circumstance of the season .. how many truly understand the importance of the story. We put on those old records of Bing Crosby singing “O Holy Night” or Perry Como “Away in a Manger” and our mind’s eye is filled with the image of the baby Jesus nestled in that manger in that stable in Bethlehem. The shepherds are there adoring the newborn king...”no crying he makes”. But do we really grasp the significance of that event? In the text, we have Matthew’s beautiful account of how the angel of the Lord prepared Joseph and Mary for what was about to take place. Even though we read this text a couple of weeks ago, I selected it this morning because of the
significance Matthew sees in the story.
“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’-- which means, ‘God with us.’”
Do we understand the significance of that? ...that Jesus is “God with us.” He is God-in-the-flesh!
A couple of years ago there was a popular song out by Joan Osborne that caused a good deal of stir ...
one of the lyrics posed the question: “What if God were one of us?” Okay, while I don’t make a habit of
listening to Joan Osborne, her question isn’t a bad one, and the good news is: It has been answered!
God did become ONE OF US! In the person of Jesus Christ, God Almighty left the throne of Heaven,
wrapped himself up in human flesh and became a man! And he did it in the most unflattering of
circumstances... by being born as an infant (a completely dependent child) to a young woman who was
pledged to be married to a common carpenter (certainly no royalty); and on that first night, placed in an
animal’s feeding trough because there was no room for them in the inn. How much more humble of
circumstances could God have entered into our world? But that’s what he did, and that’s what is implicit in
the name: Immanuel!
To understand what Matthew intended by using the name, we’ve got to go back to the O.T. book of Isaiah to see the original prophecy in its context...
The word Matthew interprets to mean “God with us” appears three times in two O.T. passages; both in
Isaiah. Both are set in the context of God’s promised deliverance of the Kingdom of Judah at time of great
national peril. The Northern Kingdom (Israel) was in league with Syria to capture Judah (Southern
Kingdom). Judah’s king at the time was Ahaz, and he was frightened about his prospects against the
mighty Northern Kingdom. He was a wicked king, and he knew that he was in no position to claim God’s
presence or power for deliverance. Nevertheless, Isaiah was sent by God and gave assurance that God
would deliver the people, not for Ahaz’s sake, but for the sake of the Lord’s own faithfulness to his people.
So, when Isaiah was sent to Ahaz, God offered the king a “sign” that the message was authentic.
13 Then Isaiah said, "Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of men? Will you try the
patience of my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and
will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (NIV)
In the very next chapter, the name Immanuel occurs twice more. Although the Southern Kingdom would
be spared at the hands of the Syria-Israel coalition, it was foretold that Immanuel’s land, Judah, would
nevertheless one day be conquered by Assyria. (8:8) Then, only two verses later, the name is repeated
as an assurance that even so mighty a power as Assyria would not thwart God’s sovereign purposes for