“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign:
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son,
and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14, NKJV.)
This prophecy was given through the prophet about seven centuries before its fulfillment in Bethlehem. The New Testament recorded,
“Then Joseph, …[Mary’s bethrothed] husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things [the crisis pregnancy], behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. ‘And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.’ So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us” (Matt.1:19-23).
Although the Messiah’s personal name is Jesus [meaning ‘Yahweh is Salvation’], He was given many titles. The one mentioned above is Immanuel [Hebrew for ‘God with us’].
How amazing that Jesus was–and is–fully divine, and fully human! John 1:1-14 describes both dimensions of Christ:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made … He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Because of Christ’s divinity, He was able to redeem us. Because of Christ’s sinless humanity, He would qualify as our perfect substitute to pay for our sins on the Cross ( 2 Cor. 5:21). As the one and only God/Man, the Son reveals the Creator to us in a supreme, personal way. The writer of Hebrews declared,
“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:1-3).
“…I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). Therefore, Jesus is more than a great prophet, a matchless example, or a history-changing reformer. He is “God with Us”! A hymn composed over 100 years ago celebrates this revelation:
Waiting sages, through the ages,
Of His coming told;
God with us—Emmanuel,
Now with sinful man doth dwell;
High and holy, meek and lowly,
God and man is He,
Born today with power divine our souls to free.
Guiding star, O shine upon our path today,
As of old, still lead us with thy beauteous ray;
By thy light reveal to us the King of love,
Till at last we sing His praise above.
God With Us, Kate Ulmer, 1903
Part 1 of 2. Copyright 2011 by John B. Woodward. Permission is granted to reprint this article in its entirety for non-commercial use with credit given. Bible quotations are from the New King James Version (Thomas Nelson copyright).
For a Bible study outline on the person and work of Christ, see the Thompson Chain Reference section: http://www.studylight.org/con/tcr/view.cgi?number=T537