“They shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” —Matthew 1:23.
Those words, “being interpreted,” salute my ear with much sweetness. Why should the word “Emmanuel” in the Hebrew, be interpreted at all? Was it not to show that it has reference to us Gentiles, and therefore it must needs be interpreted into one of the chief languages of the then existing Gentile world, namely, the Greek. This “being interpreted” at Christ’s birth, and the three languages employed in the inscription upon the cross at his death, show that he is not the Saviour of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles. As I walked along the quay at Marseilles, and marked the ships of all nations gathered in the port, I was very much interested by the inscriptions upon the shops and stores. The announcements of refreshments or of goods to be had within were not only printed in the French language, but in English, in Italian, in German, in Greek, sometimes in Russian and Swedish. Upon the shops of the sail-makers, the boat-builders, the ironmongers, or the dealers in ship stores, you read a polyglot announcement, setting forth the information to men of many lands. This was a clear indication that persons of all nations were invited to come and purchase, that they were expected to come, and that provision was made for their peculiar wants. “Being interpreted” must mean that different nations are addressed. We have the text put first in the Hebrew “Emmanuel,” and afterwards it is translated into the Gentile tongue, “God with us;” “being interpreted,” that we may know that we are invited, that we are welcome, that God has seen our necessities and has provided for us, and that now we may freely come, even we who were sinners of the Gentiles, and far off from God. Let us preserve with reverent love both forms of the precious name and wait the happy day when our Hebrew brethren shall unite their “Emmanuel” with our “God with us.” ―C.H. Spurgeon, sermon: “God With Us”