So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23”Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” 24Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.
The prophet Isaiah said that Jesus would be called Immanuel, which means literally God with us! (Isaiah 7:14). The prophet goes on in the next chapter to explain how the people of Israel were not to fear their earthly enemies. Rather he tells them,” Jehovah of hosts, Him you shall hallow; let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread. He will be as a sanctuary, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, as a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem” (Isaiah 8:13-14).
We see that the God, who is now with us, is to be our dread and our sanctuary. This baby would not grow up to be the wimpy Jesus that is often pictured. Rather He would grow in stature with God and men to become the Savior of the world who we are to properly fear and dread. The one to whom we must flee for sanctuary from the wrath of God (a wrath that is due to us because of our sins), calling only on the name of Jesus to be saved.
The prophet also warns us that we must not allow Jesus to be a stumbling block through unbelief. We must come to Him believing that He is Immanuel, God with us, or else we too will fall and stumble as did many of the inhabitants of Jerusalem in that day.
We see this proper fear and obedience in Joseph who when he awoke “did as the angel of the Lord commanded him.” No doubting or demanding, just simple obedience! Doing what would ruin his “reputation” and be hard to explain to all of his friends, but doing what needed to be done so God’s great plan of salvation would move forward.
This Advent season may we truly see Jesus as Immanuel who has come to save His people from their sins, and may we respond with the faithful and simple obedience of that simple carpenter Joseph. We must remember the promise of Romans 10:13: “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
—Pastor John Stoos, Church of the King, Sacramento, California
Father, we thank you for the gift of your Son Jesus! We thank You that when the time had come you brought Him forth from a virgin to be the Savior of the world. We thank You for His great name Immanuel, reminding us that God has truly visited His people. By your grace, may we live our lives in such a way that we show forth His love to a needy world. AMEN.
Discuss with your family the significance of names. Discuss some of your family names and perhaps share the stories of how some of these names were chosen. You could even look up the meaning of your names. But, most importantly, discuss how we get a new name when we are baptized into the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The world now calls us Christians. We are saved because we have called upon the name of Jesus! What does this mean for how we should live our lives?