Christmas Reflections: Immanuel

Isaiah said, “Listen, house of David! Is it not enough for you to try the patience of men? Will you  also try the patience of my God? Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name Him Immanuel.”

Isaiah 7:13-14

For years, I have been taught that the name used for Jesus by Isaiah means “God with us.” I hear it every single year. But only in the last week has the significance of this name really sunk in. Isaiah used a term familiar to the Hebrew people, a term that spoke volumes about their God. Why is this name so significant?

The Hebrew people had always thought of God as a deity that was above them, superior to them, and in no way equal. And they were exactly right. Man cannot count God as equal to us, nor we to Him. But for God to give Isaiah this name to use gave more than just the prophecy of a Messiah. This particular name for Christ is significant because Jesus would literally dwell among us. This was a foreign idea to the Hebrew people; to think that God would be in our physical presence just seemed too great to imagine, almost blasphemous even. But Isaiah’s prophecy put God in a new light, even though a vast majority (if not, all of them) couldn’t comprehend what he was talking about.

The coming of Christ as a man was not for Him. He didn’t need to become a man. But we needed Him. He came to show us how it’s done. He came to set an example. But more than that, He came to provide the ultimate sacrifice for the redemption of sins. Christ didn’t come as we expected, but He came just as promised. He came and dwelt among us. Our Immanuel…God with us.

 

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