Monday, 24 December 2012

Jesus our Emmanuel

I remember reading, long ago, that in certain instances where the Scriptures spoke of a person being called by a name, it was not merely an identifying label.  It was a statement of the inmost reality of that person: the purity of his or her identity, known only to God.

In the life of Our Lord Jesus, we know that only one of His given names was His name in the normal earthly sense.  In St Luke's account of the Annunciation, Mary is given three names by the Angel:  "You shall call His name Jesus;" "He will be called the Son of the Most High;" "The child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God."

In St Matthew's account of the revelation to St Joseph, we are told the significance of the names "Jesus" and Emmanuel":  "You shall call His name Jesus, for he will save His people from their sins." ( I understand that the name means "The Lord is salvation".)  Matthew then says, "All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:  'Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and His name shall be called Emmanuel (which means, God with us).' "

In Chapter 6, verse 45 of St John's Gospel, in that extraordinary encounter in which Christ speaks of His flesh as the bread of life, He says
"It is written by the Prophets, 'And they shall all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard and learnt from the Father comes to Me.  Not that anyone has seen the Father except Him Who is from God; He has seen the Father."
I wish all my readers a very happy and blessed Christmas.

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