You Shall Call His Name Jesus and They Shall Call Him Immanuel

     As I continued to read in the first chapter of Matthew, I was struck by two more ways Jesus is described in the Gospel.  The Angel appears to Joseph and tells him that Mary is pregnant by the Holy Spirit.  The Angel then tells him to name the child Jesus, because he will save his people for his sins.  Jesus is a Greek translation of the Jewish name Joshua or Yeshua.  The name means Yahweh is salvation.  Yahweh is the personal name given to Moses by God at the burning bush.  So Jesus' name means that God is salvation. 
     The world is not the way it ought to be.  We are surrounded by brokenness and no mater what we do we cannot put things right again.  Our hearts feel all of this and ache for an answer to it all.  We need rescued and we could never rescue ourselves.  Jesus comes and God announces with his birth, that he is going to rescue us.  We could not do for ourselves what God has done for us through Jesus. 
     We are also told that "they shall call him Immanuel".  Immanuel means God with us.  Jesus as Immanuel is important for us in several ways.  First, God with us means that he is familiar with our experience.  There is a infinite distance between Creator and creature, and God has chosen to close the gap.  God has made his dwelling place among his people.  In the incarnation, God has put flesh on.  Jesus has walked the human existence.  He is acquainted with our sorrow.  Later when we are promised that God will wipe the tears from our eyes, Jesus has felt all of those same emotions.
     The second way Immanuel should strike us, is when we put both of these ideas together.  Jesus' name means God saves.  How does God save?  Immanuel!  God saves by pitching his tent among his people.  So God is salvation by coming among us. 
     I have barely begun to read through the gospel of Matthew, and yet this first chapter is packed full of meaning.  The rest of the gospel is going to flesh out the realities that have been shown in this first chapter.  As we read on we will see how God is going to bring his salvation and how he will make his dwelling among us.


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