This week we will take another look at Matthew’s account of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.  We will look at the two names of the Lord we find in the passage. In our day we may name a child without knowing the meaning of the name. It might be a family name, or a popular name at the time, or we just like the sound of it. In Biblical times the name given was usually given because of what it meant.

This is the case with the Lord Jesus. An angel appears to Joseph and directs him to take Mary as his wife and to name the child she will give birth to Jesus, “For he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew then directs us to the prophet Isaiah who wrote about the child’s birth long ago and called his name Immanuel, “…which means God with us.”

Therefore, especially with respect to the Lord Jesus Christ, we are to take note that when he is called this or that; it means he really is so. He is literally Savior and literally God with us. Since these are staggering claims, we will examine these names more closely.

The apostles do not use the name Immanuel for Jesus outside of Matthew’s gospel. The substance of the name, however, is found throughout their writings. John says, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory.” Paul says of the Lord Jesus, “By him all things were created - all things were created through him and for him.”

Christ is no subordinate being or subordinate deity. Rather he is one with the Father. He is clothed with infinite glory. He who filled heaven and earth was also cradled in a manger. He who made the heavens and earth also took up a trade as a carpenter.  It is a glorious fact that when God sent Christ into the world, God is with us.

This phrase God with us does not simply mean that God was in our midst walking around with human nature, though this is true. It means God, in taking our nature, is a brother, a relative, a friend who is our advocate. All this is incredible enough, but the Lord Jesus came to us this way while we were yet sinners.

The value God attaches to men is not simply measured by his creating man, which is reason enough for a human to rejoice in the Lord. The real value is measured by what God has been willing to do in order to redeem rebellious, fallen man back to a right relationship with God.  He has permanently attached the name “Jesus” to the eternal Son of God because he suffered and died that men might live with God.

Jesus means Savior. He alone is the Savior of men. There is no other name under heaven whereby men may be saved. This means he is a necessary Savior. He did not come to condemn the world; the world was condemned already. If he had come in judgment, there would be no salvation. Man’s condition was and is such that it is impossible for someone to extract themselves from it and be accepted by God.

It is very difficult for us to come to terms with what the Bible says our predicament really is. We are under the power of the devil, the power of death, and guilt and power of sin. We cannot imagine how bad that really is. However, if we can direct our minds toward Jesus, the sinless Son of God, and realize he is named this for a reason, we can begin to see how our world is condemned and our nature exposed.

He is the light of the world. Outside of knowing him, we cannot see the light. We must consider death, and then see he is life; guilt, and he is forgiveness. Paul calls the gift of God the unsearchable riches of Christ. Who can measure such a thing? The promise is freedom from guilt and death. We have both of them by nature. We know this by looking within and around.

The Lord Jesus, Immanuel, came to become one of us, to take it away. And that is what he did… for whoever believes.