I was reading the Gospel of Matthew again at Christmas and I wanted to ask why “Emmanuel” is mentioned in the prophecy as a name for Jesus?
The text of the Gospel of Matthew
says this …
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has beenconceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for Hewill save His people from their sins.” Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.” (Matthew 1:18-23)(NASB)
The importance and meaning of names
Names in the Bible and in earlier times had a greater significance than they do nowadays. Nowadays, people choose names for their children by the way a certain name sounds, or in honor of their parents, or according to the names of books or movies characters. It was not so before. The name reflected a desire of parents, a fact, an event from their lives or a quality that they wanted for their child, etc. Each name has a meaning. For example, my name, Vasile, means “royal, regal”. But nobody in my family knew it when they chose my name. My sisters proposed to name me as one of our cousins was named, Vasile, because as they were children, they were playing all together and maybe my sisters wanted that I would be a good child to play with, as my cousin was. I hope I did not disappoint them in this regard. My father, whose name was also Vasile, liked the proposal of my sisters and so, I was called Vasile. They told me that they also thought to call me “Sergiu” because it seemed that it sounded good. But I think that they did not know the meaning of the name Sergiu, as well. Praise God who took care of me to not remain with the royal name only, but He showed the way of salvation to me and through faith in Jesus Christ I became royal, because I am the son of the King of Kings, who gave me the right to be called a child of God. Even more, I am now part of a royal priesthood, of a holy nation chosen by God to proclaim His great powers. Praise His name.
The significance of the name of the Savior
We have seen in the biblical passage that the angel told Joseph to call the baby to be born “Jesus” because He will save His people from their sins. This is the meaning of the name Jesus – Savior. Matthew, the Evangelist shows throughout the Gospel that bear his name how the prophecies of the Old Testament were fulfilled in the Lord Jesus.
The prophet Isaiah prophesied about the Lord Jesus and called the Savior “Immanuel”, which means – God with us. In his first prophecy he says:
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His nameImmanuel (Isaiah 7:14)(NASB)
The names Emmanuel and Jesus do not contradict but complement each other
Through these two names, God wanted to communicate to the world that in the person of His Son, God is with us (Emmanuel) and came to save His people from their sins (Jesus).
Praise God who made this great work of salvation of the souls of all people through His Son Jesus Christ.
Translated by Felicia Rotaru