Jesus’ birth was completely natural; there was nothing supernatural about it. His conception was the miracle. The human DNA that would have come from Joseph in a natural conception came from the Holy Spirit instead. Matthew tells the story by emphasizing four names:
- Joseph knew that the child would not be his, so at first he was determined not to finalize the marriage. An angel revealed to him by a dream that this even would not bring shame to his good name. This was the work of God’s Holy Spirit.
- Mary’s good name was at stake as well. The LORD did this not to shame her, but to give her the honor of bringing heaven’s king into the world.
- The child’s name would be Jesus, a variant of Joshua, meaning the LORD’s salvation. He would deliver his people from their sins. He can deliver us from our sins as well.
- His nickname will be Immanuel – from the Hebrew IM (with) ANU (us) and EL (God). God himself visiting the planet he created in the form of heaven’s king, Jesus. Isaiah (7:14) had predicted that the Messiah would be called by this name. The deliverance he would offer would be much more than any earthly king could accomplish.
The glory of God’s only begotten was masked by the shame of rumors that his birth was illegitimate. Jesus lived his entire earthly life under that veil of suspicion. That was only a small part of the shame he endured so that you and I mught inherit his glory.
LORD, we cling to the old rugged cross, so despised by the world. We accept gladly the shame associated with calling ourselves by your glorious name. We know the truth. You are Immanuel. You are Jesus.