Jesus is given many names throughout Scripture, and each gives us a glimpse into the deity and character of who Jesus is. Each name invites us to discover Jesus one piece of understanding at a time. The name Immanuel is of paramount importance. It connects many other pieces together, because Immanuel means, “God with us.” Immanuel captures the essence of the deity of God becoming a person who walked alongside men on earth.
The virgin will be pregnant. She will have a son, and they will name him Immanuel, which means “God is with us.” (Matthew 1:23)
Jesus’s birth brought a physical closeness to us and God. God could no longer be seen as a God who was “somewhere out there,” ready to bless and guide us from a distance. Jesus brought with him the availability of a personal relationship. God’s help, protection, provision and guidance became touchable. Those who stood in the presence of Jesus stood in the presence of God. Those who have a personal relationship with Jesus have a personal relationship with God. There is no far-off, long-distance relationship with an unseen, unfamiliar, unrevealed God. Jesus came to earth as the incarnate God, and he provides a way to authentic, significant, purposeful, eternal faith.
In the beginning there was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were made by him, and nothing was made without him. The Word became a human and lived among us. We saw his glory—the glory that belongs to the only Son of the Father—and he was full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-3, 14)
Why do we need Immanuel, “God with Us”? Because our sin—yes, that three-letter word that we don’t want to acknowledge we have in our lives—has separated us from God. Without Immanuel, we’re incomplete at best. No matter what we imagine in our arrogance, we are creatures. We did not imagine or will ourselves into existence. We can come up with all kinds of flattering explanations as to how and why we’re here, but we often do so without evidence of truth.
We are beautiful, complicated, and intricate creations fashioned in the image of God, and we are created for the purpose of knowing and loving him. He are intended to have the most intimate relationship imaginable with him, depending on him for all things, daily walking in his light, love, joy, and power.
With man’s rebellion, or sin, we set aside our intimate relationship with God. We need God, because it is at the core of our nature to know him, and without him, we are incomplete, empty, unfulfilled, restless, because we are living life contrary to the purpose for which we are made.
We need “God with us” because without him we are incomplete. Only Jesus can undo what we have done. Only the one who created us in the first place can restore us again. Only he can give our lives the meaning and completeness we are supposed to have. In this one name—Immanuel—everything we need, the entire plan of God’s salvation is fulfilled. We are blessed that Jesus is Immanuel.