God with Us
Lord, thank You for revealing to us how God became a human, one of us.
Read MATTHEW 1:18–25
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isa. 7:14).
We’re so used to hearing this astonishing story that we may miss its world-upturning significance. Understanding the essence of this, Matthew wants to make sure that his Jewish readers get the message. Through his narrative he sprinkles references designed to grab their attention, so that they would understand that the writer is demonstrating that this Jesus is the fulfillment of the messianic hopes of the Scriptures.
Matthew has already given the genealogy leading to the Christ who is the Son of David. Now he builds the picture. Jesus Christ is the Messiah (18); his girl-mother is “The virgin … [who] will conceive” (23; Isa. 7:14), prophesied by Isaiah—no doubt about it (18,20,23,24). He is to be named “Jesus,” recalling Joshua who saved his people, but also meaning “savior.” This Savior will “save his people from their sins” (21; Isa. 53:5), recalling Isaiah’s life-giving Servant King. There is more! Matthew drives his message home: as the prophet has said, this child will be “God with us” (23, Isa. 7:14).
There is also the human side of this story. Luke gives us Mary’s perspective, along with that of Joseph in his star supporting role. Betrothal (“pledging”), a binding contract before marriage, can end only by divorce. “Found to be pregnant” (18) probably means that Mary’s pregnancy is beginning to show, generating questions among the nosey neighbors and heartache for Joseph. He is a good man (19), unwilling to throw stones at those whom others consider guilty. Then the angel reassures him with refreshing news of the nature of Mary’s mysterious pregnancy. With obedient courage, this son of David (20) whom God has chosen to be the adoptive parent of his Son, takes Mary as his wife and later, as commanded, names him (the work of a legal parent) “Jesus” (25)—Savior.
Praise God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit who so loved the world that he gave himself for us.
Lord, we rejoice in the knowledge that You were born into the world the same way as the rest of us, albeit in supernatural fashion.
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