The Bible is awesome. It seems no matter how long I study it, read it, memorize it and mediate on it, this book will forever amaze me. One of the most amazing things about the Bible I tend to forget to think about: scripture is filled with prophesies that have already been fulfilled. One of the most beautiful prophetic Scriptures is Isaiah 7:14.
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Emmanuel.”
The name Emmanuel means “God with us.” I don’t feel like this is a totally foreign concept to many people. Regularly we ask that God go with us in our walk with Him or that God would be with someone who is suffering. During these moments I am considering the Holy Spirit to be accompanying me on my walk with Him. But in Isaiah the name Emmanuel, God With Us, is proclaiming something amazing. The God that Israel had worshipped for centuries would take on human flesh and walk on earth among us. Hundreds of years after Isaiah wrote those words, this prophecy was fulfilled when a virgin named Mary gave birth to Jesus. In Matthew’s gospel he retells the series of events that lead to the prophesy being fulfilled and then he points it out to his Jewish brothers and sisters.
Matthew 1:23 says, “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel (which means “God with us).”
There are three things that catch my attention about this name when I think about God being with us. First, God walked on earth during history. We can look up specific dates in history and can identify that the God of the universe was walking on dirt roads, eating fish, laughing, and breathing the air we breathe. Historically speaking, God chose to be with us and intersected our world a little over 2000 years ago.
Second, God was human. God came, not just in the form of the Holy Spirit, to be with us. He took on human flesh, without leaving any of his godliness behind. By becoming a human He experienced so many things we do. He had emotions. He had pain. He got tired. He was tempted. He had human desires to do things his own way. Yet, he did not sin. Jesus was fully God and fully human.
Third, Emmanuel chose out of His love for us to make a sacrifice for us. In fact, God being with us, incarnate, was essential to His redemption plan for all of humanity. There would be no need for Christmas if Easter wasn’t already on the agenda in his plan for our salvation. Jesus, Emmanuel, came and experienced His humanness as He divinely offered Himself as a sacrifice. Simultaneously, out of love for us he died, resurrected and gave us each an opportunity to experience eternal life with Him.
There is a Christmas song that I listen to all year long that carries the name Emmanuel. Below is a link to this song. I love thinking about how amazing it is that the God who created the world, physically came to it in order to provide a way for us to live with Him forever. Hopefully you too will be able to experience the knowledge of God with YOU as you reflect on His name, Emmanuel.