Immanuel, meaning “God with us,” is a Hebrew name first appearing in Scripture in the book of Isaiah. In Isaiah chapter seven we read of God instructing Ahaz, king of Judah, to ask Him for a sign. Ahaz refuses. Isaiah 7:14 is God’s response to King Ahaz, as Jehovah God reveals to the king that He Himself will give His people a sign. This prophesy of the birth of the Messiah was over seven hundred years before this One called Immanuel would appear.
In the gospel of Matthew, Immanuel is specifically applied to Jesus before His birth. Mary, who is betrothed to Joseph, is with child, and Joseph knows the child is not his. He is about to quietly break the betrothal, when an angel comes to him in a dream and says to him,
“Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).” Matthew 1:20-23 ESV
Key to the understanding of the name Immanuel is the doctrine of the virgin birth. The Messiah was to be conceived in the womb of a single young woman, a virgin, without the involvement of a biological father. The conception was by the Holy Spirit, which means Immanuel is the Son of God in a fleshly, bodily form.
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 1:18-20
So why is this important? Because Jesus was God incarnate, the Son of God in human flesh, and not conceived by a human biological father, the sin nature passed on from Adam to all mankind was not in Jesus. He was the only One qualified as the perfect, spotless Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world by dying on the Cross of Calvary for us. And for that, I am eternally grateful.