The Scriptorium

Immanuel, at Last

Jesus is God come to be with us. Matthew 1.22-25

Matthew 1: Immanuel (6)

Pray Psalm 23.6.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD
Forever.

Sing joyfully Psalm 23.6.
(Taladh Chriosda: Song of the Christ Child )
Thus goodness e’er shall follow me;
mercy all my path shall see;
Your house shall my dwelling be,
forever after still.
Refrain
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Read Matthew 1.22-25.

Prepare.
1. How do the two names of Mary’s Child summarize His mission?

2. How does Matthew connect the birth of Jesus to the Old Testament?

Meditate.
The birth of Jesus was foretold hundreds of years before the events recorded in our verses for today. Isaiah was not the only one who told of the coming of the Messiah. Dozens of prophecies and types of Jesus are scattered throughout the Old Testament. Faithful Israelites could only glimpse the future, and hope that it might be soon, as they waited for the promised Shiloh/Immanuel/Messiah. God’s promises can take a long time to be fulfilled, but we must never lose hope, nor ever consider that His Word might not be true. In Jesus, Immanuel has come at last, and we say “Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!”

Matthew teaches us how to read this passage, which, in its original context, is a word to the king of Judah (Is. 7.14). In that setting, the Hebrew word for virgin is “young woman”. But the Septuagint (the Greek version of the Old Testament), uses the Greek word for virgin (παρθένος, parthenos), which shows how Jewish scholars before Christ understood this term; and this is the source of Matthew’s quotation.

God’s Word cannot fail. What He has spoken, He will bring to pass. Joseph named Mary’s Son Jesus; Matthew adds Immanuel from Isaiah 7. Jesus is His Name; Immanuel – like Christ – is more like a title or role – even a summary of His mission. Jesus comes as “God with Us”. Matthew’s account of Jesus’ life and ministry begins with the assertion that, in Jesus, God has come to be with us. His gospel ends with the same reminder: “I am with you always” (Matt. 28.20). Keeping this in mind as we work our way through Matthew’s gospel, let us seek to know Jesus with us, as we see Him in this book, in all His holiness, beauty, power, goodness, truth, courage, and love.

Matthew makes the point of reporting that Joseph “did not know” Mary until after Jesus was born. After that, they enjoyed the normal relations of married couples, and Mary gave birth to several other children (cf. Matt. 13.55, 56). There is no Biblical support for the idea of Mary’s perpetual virginity, just as there is no Biblical support for the idea of her “immaculate conception”. We must honor Mary to the full extent that Scripture does, even to acknowledging in her the fulfillment of Israel and the birth of the Christian Church (Rev. 12); but we must not go beyond Scripture in giving Mary more honor or devotion than does the Word.

Luke fills in more of the wondrous and glorious details concerning Jesus’ birth and His early days (Lk. 2). Taken together, these accounts should lead us to rejoice and say, “Hallelujah!”, for God has come to be with us always, and to save us from our sins.

Reflect.
1. What does it mean for you to know Jesus as “God-with-you”?

2. How should Matthew’s use of the Old Testament guide us as we read the Old Testament (cf. Jn. 5.39)?

3. What can you say about Joseph and his faith from what we see in these verses? In what ways is he an example for us?

Why then do they not call him Emmanuel instead of Jesus Christ? Because the text says not “you shall call” but “his name shall be called.” This means that the multitude and the outcome of the events themselves will cause him to be called Emmanuel. For here he puts the event as a name. This is customary in Scripture, to substitute names for the actual events. Therefore to say “they shall call him ‘Emmanuel’ ” means nothing else than that they shall see God among us. Admittedly God has always been among us, but never before so openly.
John Chrysostom (344-407), The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 5.2-3

Jesus, I know that You will be with me throughout this day, so I will...

Pray Psalm 23.1-6.
Give thanks for Immanuel, and seek His Presence with you for the day ahead.

Sing Psalm 23.1-6.
Psalm 23.1-6 (Taladh Chriosda: Song of the Christ Child)
The Lord my Shepherd is, and I
shall not want; He makes me lie
in green pastures, leads me by
 refreshing waters, still.
Refrain
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Restore my soul, Lord, day by day!
Lead me in Your righteous way
for Your Name’s sake, Lord, I pray,
according to Your will.
Refrain

And though through death’s dark vale I go,
I no fear of evil show,
for Your rod and staff, I know,
shall guard and comfort still.
Refrain

A table You before me spread
in the midst of those I dread,
and with oil anoint my head;
my cup You over fill.
Refrain

Thus goodness e’er shall follow me;
mercy all my path shall see;
Your house shall my dwelling be,
forever after still.
Refrain

T. M. Moore

The Gospel of Matthew will help us grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Two companion books can supplement our study of Matthew. To Know Him examines what it means to belong to Jesus and to love and serve Him (click here), while Be Thou My Vision enables us to gain an even larger perspective on Jesus (click here).

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from
The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

 

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore