Most people have heard the name Immanuel because of either the Christmas story or a song. Most everyone would recognize it spelled Emmanuel. My middle name is Immanuel. I was named after my Grandfather, Immanuel Petersen. I have always liked that name and it stumps almost everyone who tries to figure out what the “I” stands for in David I. Petersen.
The first place in the Bible we hear the name Immanuel is in the Old Testament book of Isaiah (Isa 7:14). We don’t see the name again until Jesus’ disciple, Matthew refers to the Isaiah verse when describing the birth of Jesus. In his gospel, Matthew tells us that Joseph was visited by an angel who told him that Mary became pregnant because of the Holy Spirit and that she would have a son and that they should name him Jesus. Matthew then refers to the prophecy in Isaiah to show how it had been fulfilled. Isaiah says that she will give birth to a son and call him Immanuel, God with us.
What Is His Name?
So what is his name? Jesus or Immanuel? Jesus means – God’s salvation. Immanuel means – God with us.
Here’s an explanation. If I were to talk about the Home Run King, you would naturally assume that I was talking about Babe Ruth. If I were talking about the greatest evangelist of the twentieth century, you would most likely think, Billy Graham. If you were listening to Matthew talking about God with us (Immanuel) you would assume that he was talking about Jesus. You see, Jesus is Immanuel.
Jesus was not just a sign of God with us. Jesus was God become flesh and blood. God incarnate. God with us in person. Jesus was man and God at the same time.
So the next time you hear the name Immanuel, let it remind you that Jesus came to this earth to be God with us.
You can listen to my friend Steve’s audio commentary on Immanuel at Lifespring!