Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-23
Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: when as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 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.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Who would have thought that the prophecy contained in Isaiah 7:14 could have referred to our Lord?
JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): Christ, indeed, was not called by this name Immanuel that we anywhere read of.
C. H. SPURGEON: Scriptural names, as a general rule, contain teaching, and especially is this the case in every name ascribed to the Lord Jesus. With Him names indicate things. “His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace,” because He really is all these.
MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): The design of these words is not so much to relate the [exact] name by which Christ should commonly be called, as to describe His nature and office; as we read that “his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor,” etc., in Isaiah 9:6, and, that “this is” said to be “His name whereby he shall be called, The Lord our Righteousness,” Jeremiah 23:6, although He be never called by these names in any other place of the Old or New Testament.
C. H. SPURGEON: When He is said to be called this or that, it means that He really is so. I am not aware that anywhere in the New Testament our Lord is afterwards called Emmanuel. I do not find His apostles, or any of His disciples, calling Him by that name literally. But we find them all doing so in effect, for they speak of Him as, “God manifest in the flesh,” I Timothy 3:16. And they say, “The word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth,” John 1:14. They do not use the actual word, but they again interpret and give us free and instructive renderings while they proclaim the sense of the august title and inform us in many ways what is meant by God being with us in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a glorious fact of the highest importance that, since Christ was born into the world, God is with us.
JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): The Jews are hard pressed by this passage of Isaiah 7; for it contains an illustrious prediction concerning the Messiah, who is here called Immanuel; and therefore they have laboured, by all possible means, to torture the Prophet’s meaning to another sense.
JOHN GILL (1697-1771): Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son. This is not to be understood of Hezekiah, the son of Ahaz, by his wife, as some Jewish writers interpret it; which interpretation Jarchi refutes, by observing that Hezekiah was nine years old when his father began to reign, and this being, as he says, the fourth year of his reign, Hezekiah must be at this time thirteen years of age; and besides, his mother could not be called a “virgin:” and for the same reason it cannot be understood of any other son of Ahaz, either by his wife, as Kimchi thinks, or by some other young woman; moreover, no other son of his was ever lord of Judea, as this Immanuel is represented to be in Isaiah 8:8―nor can it be interpreted of Isaiah’s wife and son, as Aben Ezra and Jarchi think; since the prophet could never call her a “virgin” who had bore him children.
JOHN CHRYSOSTOM (347-407): If any Jew objects, “How could a virgin bring forth?”―Ask him, How could Sarah, when old and barren, bear a child?
MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Here is a question asked which is enough to answer all the cavils of flesh and blood, Genesis 18:14―Is any thing too hard for the Lord?
J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): Let us observe in these verses from Luke, the two names given to our Lord. One is “Jesus,” the other “Emmanuel;” one describes His office, the other His nature. Both are deeply interesting.
C. H. SPURGEON: His name is called Jesus, but not without a reason.
J. C. RYLE: The name Jesus means “Saviour”―It is given to our Lord because “He saves His people from their sins.” This is His special office. He saves them from the guilt of sin, by washing them in His own atoning blood. He saves them from the dominion of sin, by putting in their hearts the sanctifying Spirit. He saves them from the presence of sin, when He takes them out of this world to rest with Him. He will save them from all the consequences of sin, when He shall give them a glorious body at the last day.
C. H. SPURGEON: By any other name Jesus would not be so sweet, because no other name could fairly describe His great work of saving His people from their sins.
J. C. RYLE: The name “Emmanuel” is scarcely less interesting than the name “Jesus.” It is the name which is given to our Lord from His nature as God-man, as “God manifest in the flesh.”―Let us take care that we clearly understand that there was a union of two natures, the divine and human, in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a point of the deepest importance.
JOHN CALVIN: This name was unquestionably bestowed on Christ on account of the actual fact; for the only-begotten Son of God clothed Himself with our flesh, and united Himself to us by partaking of our nature. He is, therefore, called God with us, or united to us; which cannot apply to a man who is not God.
C. H. SPURGEON: Those words, “being interpreted,” salute my ear with much sweetness. Why should the word, “Emmanuel,” in the Hebrew, be interpreted at all? Was it not to show that it has reference to us Gentiles and therefore it must be interpreted into one of the chief languages of the then existing Gentile world, namely, the Greek? This, “being interpreted,” at Christ’s birth and the three languages employed in the inscription upon the cross at His death, show that He is not the Saviour of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles―Let us preserve with reverent love both forms of the precious name and wait the happy day when our Hebrew brethren shall unite their “Emmanuel,” with our “God with us.”