He Shall Be Called Emmanuel

Key Verse: “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”
—Matthew 1:23

Selected Scripture:
Matthew 1:18-25

JESUS’ BIRTH WAS AN outstanding development in the outworking of God’s plan of salvation. Since the time of mankind’s fall into sin and death, and continuing throughout the Old Testament period, God gave various promises concerning the sending of a Savior and Deliverer. In the Garden of Eden, God referred to this Deliverer as the “seed” of the woman. Later, God promised that through this “seed,” all the families of the earth would be blessed.—Gen. 3:15; 12:3; 22:18

The Prophet Isaiah foretold the birth of this great one, assigning to him various titles, such as “The Prince of Peace,” and explained that “of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end.” Isaiah also foretold that this Savior of the people would be born of a virgin. (Isa. 9:6,7; 7:14) The angel’s announcement of Jesus’ birth emphasized the fulfillment of these promises: “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”—Luke 2:10,11

Jesus’ birth was miraculous. He was not the son of Joseph, but rather the Son of God. In Jesus’ pre-human existence, he was a spirit being and known as the “Logos”—the Word, or representative, of God. (John 1:1-5) In order to be the Redeemer and Savior of the world it was necessary for the Logos to become a human being. He did not materialize into a body of flesh. Instead, God transformed his Son’s spirit nature to that of a perfect human embryo and implanted it in the womb of Mary. Thus, “the Word was made flesh.”—vs. 14

Paul states that “the man Christ Jesus” gave himself a “ransom for all.” (I Tim. 2:4-6) The word translated “ransom” is from the Greek word antilutron and means “corresponding price.” It was essential that Jesus be the exact equivalent of Adam prior to his disobedience. Jesus willingly gave his perfect human life for the forfeited perfect human life of Adam, and through Adam, the entire human race.—Rom. 5:18,19

The psalmist records that man was created “a little lower than the angels.” (Ps. 8:5) Likewise, we are told that Jesus “was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death,” in order that “he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” (Heb. 2:9) Elsewhere Paul explains, “Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”—I Cor. 15:21,22

Isaiah prophesied that Messiah would be called “Immanuel,” meaning “God with us.” (Isa. 7:14) This does not mean that Jesus was God in the flesh. Instead, it denotes that his birth and ministry manifested the presence and favor of the Heavenly Father with his people, and that the promises which had been made concerning the birth of Messiah were being fulfilled. The name “Immanuel” is one of the many titles which help us to realize more fully the purpose and scope of Jesus’ ministry. “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.”—I John 4:9