Last week we looked at the name Bethlehem. (See “House of Bread“) We discovered that “beth” means “house of.”
Today, consider the word Immnauel. We see the two letters at the end, “el” meaning God. Turn it around and we have “God – with us.”
“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.” Matthew 1:23
Let’s look at Mary and Joseph’s story before this great declaration is given. The angel Gabriel appears to Mary and reveals;
“You have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.” Luke 1:30-31
“How can this be,” she asks. The answer? “By the Holy Spirit.”
Later, Joseph discovers that she is “with child” and knows he is not the father. Joseph doesn’t buy the story and is ready to divorce her quietly. As he sleeps, an angel appears to him in a dream and assures Joseph that this is all in God’s plan.
“Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, for what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:20-21
I can imagine that once Mary and Joseph are together, they surely share their stories of the two angel visitations. One may say to the other, “I was told to name the child Jesus.” Wide-eyed, the other might say, “I was told the very same thing.” Tears must have come to their eyes with this realization that they have had yet another confirmation of the God’s work in their lives.
We refer to Jesus by many names – Savior, King of Kings, Son of God to name a few. Matthew reminds us of another—Immanuel. Remember the “el” at the end which means God. Look at the verse again.
“…and they [the people] will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.” Matthew 1:23
“God with us.” Can anything be better than that? Not God up in heaven. Not God out there somewhere, but God with us.
In Joseph and Mary’s day, the name would be synonymous with Messiah or the Promised One. The promise is quoted in Matthew, but comes straight out of Isaiah. We recognize it as God Himself coming in the earthly form of his Son, Jesus. Think how profound that would be to have God visible, audible, in the flesh.
We don’t have Jesus audible or visual in the flesh today, but the Holy Spirit ministers to us in similar ways. Look for Him. Listen for Him as you move toward the remembrance of His coming into our world to save us.
~ Joyce ~