“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us) (Matthew 1:23 ESV)
Matthew quotes the prophet Isaiah’s prophecy about the birth of Jesus here. First, Isaiah prophesied and said, “a virgin shall conceive and bear a son.” He then adds, “and they shall call his name Immanuel.” The surprising element in this prophecy and its fulfillment is that the Name Immanuel was not one of the names or even titles given to Jesus. So was this prophecy fulfilled or not?
The truth is, it is an unusual prophecy with a unique fulfillment. Let us look closer at the prophetic word itself. It says they will call His Name Immanuel. The first question is, who is “they” referring to? The context does not tell us. It is therefore left open to everyone that is present in the days of its fulfillment. The second consideration is what is in a Name. In the OT, God often said He would put His Name in Jerusalem or the Temple. Indeed, He was not referring to writing His Name on the wall, but that He Himself will be there.
Jesus was not given the Name Immanuel at His birth. However, He was Immanuel to the people who interacted with Him, though most of them had no clue Who He was. The people were living in the fulfillment of that Name. Today, you are also calling Jesus “Immanuel” because He is God with you and in you.
God was with the Jews physically as Jesus. How is He with you and me today?
APPLY THE WORD
Immanuel did not pass away with Jesus physically living the earth. Christmas inaugurated God permanently with men and in men! God is still with us but is now with us by being in us as the Holy Spirit! Jesus said, “behold I am WITH YOU always! ( Matt. 28:20). He can still call Him Immanuel!
Bless the Lord for coming to live permanently with us.