Call the Baby “IMMANUEL”
Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.
Mary and Joseph knew that her baby was God. Before Jesus’ birth, an angel told Mary the child would be called the son of God. (Luke 1:35) That’s a father-son relationship. But the angel speaking to Joseph was more explicit. He told Joseph that the child would be called Immanuel. That’s significant. Matthew explains why: Immanuel means “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23) This baby is not just related to God. This baby is God.
Call the Baby “GOD”
The prophet Isaiah describes the child born to Mary in vivid detail:
Isaiah 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah wrote these words 700 years before Jesus was born. Many have recognized that Jesus brought wise counsel and provided for peace. But not many have noticed that Isaiah also calls the child God. Take a look at Isaiah’s names for this prophesied child:
- WONDERFUL COUNSELOR – This Son born to Mary will counsel with expertise.
- MIGHTY GOD – This Son born to Mary will be called God. Wait. Isn’t the name “God” restricted to the Father? Apparently not.
- ETERNAL FATHER – This Son born to Mary will be called God the Father. Wait. How can Jesus be Son and Father? We think of God the Father as separate from God the Son. Isaiah blends the two.
- PRINCE OF PEACE – This Son born to Mary will reign over peace.
Later in his book Isaiah gave an uncannily accurate prophecy of the child’s future. You can have some very interesting conversations if you read the prophet’s words to someone who doesn’t place much stock in the Old Testament. Tell them you’re going to read something written around 700 B.C. Read them the following quote. Then ask them whom it describes.
Isaiah 53:3-12 3He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. 4Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. 6All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. 7He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth. 8By oppression and judgment He was taken away; and as for His generation, who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living, for the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due? 9His grave was assigned with wicked men, yet He was with a rich man in His death, because He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth. 10But the LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand. 11As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; by His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities. 12Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, and He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors.
Pretty much everyone will respond that Isaiah’s words describe Jesus. What do you think?
Call the Baby “JESUS”
Angels also told Mary and Joseph to call the baby Jesus. You may not know the significance of that name. The word Jesus means savior, and the child Mary is carrying in her belly will save his people from their sins. (See Luke 1:26-35 and Matthew 1:19-25.)
Jesus Calls Himself “GOD”
Jesus answered to the name “Jesus,” but He also claimed the name “God.” He made His claim most obvious. He told His disciples, “If you’ve seen me you’ve seen the Father.” (John 14:5-9.) He also called Himself the name the Jews reserved for God and God alone: “I am” (Compare Exodus 3:13-14 and John 8:58-59.)
How do you react to Jesus’ claim? Is He telling the truth? C.S. Lewis says we have only three possible conclusions: Jesus is crazy; Jesus is lying; or Jesus is indeed the Lord God. Here’s what Lewis wrote:
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about [Jesus]: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” (Quoted from the end of chapter 3 in Lewis’s book: Mere Christianity.)
A Single Question
You probably call the baby, “Jesus,” but do you also call Him “God”?
What to Call the Baby (Some of His Names May Surprise You)
© Lynne Fox, 2017