December 6, 2022
Read Matt 1:18-23
Wow, so much happens in these six verses!
Matthew 1:18,19 (NIV):
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.
If I put myself in Joseph’s shoes, I can’t imagine what he was experiencing. He’s a young godly man engaged/pledged to a young woman and looking forward to their life together. I imagine that Mary tried to explain what the angel told her about how she came to be pregnant and who her son would be. But what could Joseph think? While he must have admired and trusted Mary enough to get engaged to her, he doesn’t believe her story and plans to break up with her. I can’t blame him at this point. I doubt I could have really believed Mary was pregnant by the Holy Spirit if I were Joseph.
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.”
So many miracles took place that first Christmas! What else than the miracle of God or an angel talking to Joseph directly would give him the reassurance he needed? It is so impressive that both Mary and Joseph had faith in God to embrace what God had given them and was asking of them. I’m sure some of their friends and family did not believe them. The words of the angel were direct, clear and practical – just what Joseph must have needed. I wonder what Joseph thought the angel meant by the words, “he will save his people from their sins.” Before Jesus is born, Joseph is told about the heart of Easter, but I wonder how much Joseph could have understood.
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”).
This describes the biggest miracle of Christmas. Jesus gave up His position in heaven with God to come to the world as a baby. Jesus came to be “God with us” and to show mankind who God is in a way we could understand. And Jesus came to “save his people from their sins” as the angel told Joseph. God became flesh – and gave up so much, all for our benefit (see also Philippians 2:5-8).
May God and Jesus be praised for all they have done for us!
Written by Ian McHardy