From the devotional Day by Day in the Gospel of Matthew by Chuck Gianotti.
Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.
Our section includes the first of numerous references to Old Testament (OT) prophecies in Matthew’s gospel. Matthew was intent on demonstrating that Jesus, besides having a Davidic pedigree, also had the messianic pedigree. Isaiah 7:14 foretold a miraculous event: a child born of a virgin, given the name Immanuel, which literally means, “God with us.” In Scripture, names often were descriptions. Jesus had many of them, the most commonly used one, Jesus, means “savior.” Immanuel conveys the idea that God was present in this Child and would take up residence among His people. Nothing more significant could be contemplated than this marvelous truth—to have the God of the universe, the Creator of the cosmos, the Almighty and Eternal and Unique Deity (in theological terms, He who is transcendent) now among us in the person of Jesus (again, in theological terms, now immanent). John’s gospel says He “dwelt among us” (John 1:14). He came down to our level!
How is it possible for God to limit Himself to a mere human body? This comprises one of the great mysteries of the Christian faith. It required an event of unparalleled proportions, namely a virgin birth. Critics are quick to point out that in Isaiah the word translated virgin can be rendered “young marriageable woman.” However, the translators of the Greek Septuagint version of the OT, working about two hundred years before Christ, translated the Hebrew with the Greek word parthenos, clearly carrying our contemporary connotation of “virgin”—not having had sexual intercourse. Matthew makes clear, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that Mary remained a virgin until Jesus was born. That she did not remain a virgin after that is plain from the fact that Jesus had brothers (see Matthew 12:47 and Mark 6:3). Truly, He was not the biological son of Joseph. He was the Son of God.
It is one thing to believe that God is with us, but can I really believe that He is with me? More than just a correct theological belief, this truth is personal—to be experienced individually. Though Jesus is no longer here physically, He promised, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (28:20).
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