Emmanuel, God With Us
Bible Facts Newspaper Article (Ian C. Kurylyk)
"Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us" (Matthew 1:23). This time of the year is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the basics of Christianity. We can start with the very Scripture texts that we are made familiar with in the celebrations of the Christmas season.
This verse begins with the announcement of a miracle. The coming of Jesus Christ was, according to the Bible, a supernatural event. There are those who profess a belief in Christianity and enjoy the respectability and even some of the benefits of Christianity, while they deny its basic truths. This is euphemistically called a "liberal" approach to the Bible and theology. In Bible language it is called unbelief. Why would anyone think God could not perform a miracle? God said He sent His Son down to this world by the virgin birth and He certainly could do it. If a man refuses to believe God did something simply because he himself could not do it he is only denying there is an Almighty Being who has revealed Himself to us in the Bible.
We need to realize also that the Virgin Birth of the Saviour is one of the basics, one of the fundamentals of the Christian faith. It is an absolute necessity for the chosen Saviour to have been born in such a way that He would be free from the cycle of sin that takes place in the generations of humanity. The problem of human sin that began in Adam was not found in Jesus. The miracle of the Virgin Birth and the truth of the sinless humanity of Jesus Christ go hand in hand. It was necessary in God's plan of salvation that God's Saviour come into the human race. It was also necessary that He be a man without the sin of Adam that the rest of humanity is burdened with. This is a miracle worked by God.
The second truth about the Saviour here centers around a special name given to Him hundreds of years before His birth, Emmanuel. In fact this verse in Matthew 1:23 is a quotation from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah. Matthew acknowledges this fact in the previous verse and it is confirmed by reading Isaiah 7:14. This is a name with a meaning as Matthew also interprets for us here to be "God with us". What could be plainer language to show us that both the holy prophets of the Old Testament and the holy apostles of the New Testament agree that the promised Saviour must be God Himself.
God is very protective about His name, so we can be sure His spokesmen meant "God" when they said "God". Some deny this out of hand, but they are only opposing their own opinions and notions against the revealed Word of God. We must always be careful to maintain a Biblical concept of the deity of Jesus Christ. He is not just an ascending or evolving man like some kind of improved version of the rest of us. No, He is the Almighty, the Eternal One, The Creator, Lord and Sovereign of all, God of very God.
We can be saved and brought into God's family by grace and through faith in Him. But we will never be God; we are then only saved creatures. He is the Creator; He always was, and He always will be. This truth of His essential deity is another fundamental teaching of Christianity, and is confirmed over and over in the Scriptures. If He were not God He would not be a sufficient Saviour for man. "There is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else" (Isaiah 45:21b-22).
From this one verse in Matthew's Gospel we have a thumbnail sketch of who the Saviour is that came to this world about 2000 years. God the Son was born into the human family and brought about a union in one person of essential deity and sinless humanity. Let us remember He did this so He could pay for our sins with His own lifeblood and bring salvation to all who believe.