The Bible refers to Jesus Christ as ‘Immanuel’. For example, we read in Matthew’s gospel that Jesus was the fulfilment of a prophecy by Isaiah: ‘All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”)’ (Matthew 1:22-23).
But what does it mean that Jesus was ‘Immanuel’. The word ‘Immanuel’ is a Hebrew word that is translated ‘God with us’ (as shown in the above passage from Matthew). So when the Bible calls Jesus ‘Immanuel’, the Bible is saying that Jesus is God on earth. He is God, living as a human being.
But is there any evidence that Jesus was God living on earth? Yes. On a number of occasions, Jesus claimed to be God. For example, Jesus said: ‘I and the Father are one’ (John 10:30). Now, this might not sound like Jesus is calling himself God, but that was the understanding of his listeners at the time. We read in the next verses: ‘…his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God”‘ (John 10:31-33).
Jesus also made a claim to be God in his interactions with a paralysed man. We read: ‘Some men came, bringing to him a paralysed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralysed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to this paralysed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”‘ (Mark 2:3-12). Jesus claimed to be God by doing something that only God can do: forgive sins. And to prove that he can forgive sins, Jesus healed a paralysed man. If he was not God, then the paralysed man would not have been healed.
So Jesus is indeed ‘Immanuel’. God lived with humans on earth for a time, and gave evidence of his divinity.
Why is that important? Well if Jesus is God then he can forgive us for our sins. And as we’ve seen, forgiving sins is something he does do. So how can you have Jesus forgive your sins? The apostle Peter says: ‘everyone who believes in him [Jesus] receives forgiveness of sins through his name’ (Acts 10:43).
Do you want forgiveness of sins from Immanuel? Trust Jesus without delay.