Advent Day 16 – God is With Us

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
Isaiah 7:14 ESV

Jesus was never “called” Immanuel, in the sense that we would use that as a common name.  His name, at the command of God, was Jesus.  So, is there a conflict in Scripture regarding this?

While it seems to be the case, the way the Hebrew language used “name” was different than the way we use them.  We use names to identify us and to stand us apart from others.  Some parents seem determined to name their child in such a way that there is no chance they will be confused with another.

When I was in grade school I remember going to class and, in a room of thirty or more students, would quickly learn I was not the only “Timmy” in the room.  Therefore, I would be set apart by my last name.  I was “Timmy M.”  There were other “Timmys” in the room with me, and each of them would also be set apart by the first letter of their last names.

It was a momentary panic when I learned in a class that some girls were named “Timi,” which while spelled differently sounded much too close to my name!  I certainly did not want to be confused with a girl!  So somewhere in that time, I dropped the ending on my too-familiar name, and told a teacher my name was just “Tim.”

The name “Immanuel” was not for identification purposes, however.  It was to describe what this virgin born child would do.  He would be the reminder of God’s presence among His people!

The name “Jesus” was not uncommon.  It was a Greek pronunciation of the Hebrew name “Joshua,” which meant “Yahweh saves.”  Many Israelite children were named that.  Joshua was a legendary warrior hero.  It was a reminder of God’s saving action as the people of Israel entered the promised land.

Over the next days, we will look deeply into the descriptive terms that distinguish Immanuel and how the name applies to Jesus.  Jesus came to bring the presence of God to earth.  No longer was God just for us.  Now…

…God is with us!

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