Jesus and Immanuel

Matthew 1v18-23

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call His Name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call His Name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). (ESV)


Numerous philosophers were on the scene of history attempting to save humankind, but only two Names stand the test of time: Jesus and Immanuel. One Name describes His Office, and the other His Nature.

  1. His Office (what He does)
    Joshua led the nation into the promised land of Israel and Jesus leads His people into heaven. Jesus’ name means ‘God is Saviour.’ Rom 5:8-9 speaks of His blood that saves us from the guilt of sin and the wrath of God. He saves us from the penalty of sin, from the power of sin (which no worldly legal system can do). See Romans 8.
    The Lord Jesus also saves us from the consequence of sin – the most serious of which is the wrath of God. Do you see God withholding His wrath against your sin? It is because He is the God of grace that He doesn’t obliterate us. Ultimately, He will also save us from the very presence of sin (see Rev. 7:13-17).
    It’s not the presence of sin in the world that troubles me, but the presence of sin within me. I would never be able to stand apart from the power of the Holy Spirit.
    The Lord Jesus, God who is Saviour, saves us from the penalty of sin through Justification, from the power of sin through Sanctification and saves us from the very presence of sin through Glorification. And so the Name of Jesus should be a very encouraging name to heavy-laden sinners – yet in the mouths and the hearts of people in the world it has almost become a kind of an expletive when they’re angry at somebody!
    Souls who desire salvation can draw near to the Father with confidence through the Name of Jesus. It is His office, function, and work to show Mercy, because God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.
    The Name of Jesus is precious to believers because He continues on our behalf to save us from our sins. Look what the writer to the Hebrews says in chapter 4:14-17: “Since then we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

  2. His Nature (who He is)
    As Matthew recounts what the angel told Mary, he adds that the birth of Jesus fulfilled the prophesy of Isaiah in which it is said “they shall call His Name Immanuel” – the Name that indicates who He is – not just what He does (God is with us, Is. 7:14). Jesus is mighty God and everlasting Father (Is. 9:6). He is God, possessing the glory of God – the great I AM who shared in the glory of the Father prior to His incarnation. He is declared the Son of God with power by virtue of His resurrection.
    We read in Philippians 2 something most glorious about this Immanuel:
    “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
    Can we do this during this Advent season?
    4Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
    Do we have that mind? This Advent time – when the world is fighting one another, and everybody wants to be the new Messiah of the world, can we be like our Lord – comfort from love, participating in the Spirit? Do we as Christians think about that during the day, while we’re busy with all the other things, trying to fix the world, our own lives and our city? Are we asking ourselves “what is my participation in the Spirit? Do I have affection and sympathy?” Are we of the same mind – having the same love? Do we do anything from selfish ambition or conceit or do we in humility count others more significant than ourselves? Do we look not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others?
    If we’re honest with ourselves – because if we’re not like the Lord or at least have a desire to be like Him, it makes us phony – we’re not the real deal!

Do we remember who Jesus, our Immanuel, is and do we have it in our hearts to be like Him?