Monday, November 8, 2021
The Birth of Jesus
18-19 The birth of Jesus took place like this. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. Before they enjoyed their wedding night, Joseph discovered she was pregnant. (It was by the Holy Spirit, but he didn’t know that.) Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced.
20-23 While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God’s angel spoke in the dream: “Joseph, son of David, don’t hesitate to get married. Mary’s pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God’s Holy Spirit has made her pregnant. She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus—‘God saves’—because he will save his people from their sins.” This would bring the prophet’s embryonic revelation to full term:
Watch for this—a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son;
They will name him Immanuel (Hebrew for “God is with us”).
24-25 Then Joseph woke up. He did exactly what God’s angel commanded in the dream: He married Mary. But he did not consummate the marriage until she had the baby. He named the baby Jesus.
-Matthew 1:18-25 The Message
Conception and Birth of Jesus
Verse 18: Now, the birth of Jesus the Messiah was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph before they came together, she was found to be pregnant by the Holy Spirit.
Verse 18 study: There are three steps in a Jewish marriage.
- The two families agree on the union.
- A public announcement is made. The couple at this point is “betrothed.” It is similar to engagement today, except the relationship can be broken only through death or divorce. Sexual relations were not yet permitted.
- The couple is married and is living together.
Mary and Joseph were engaged; her apparent unfaithfulness carried on a severe social stigma. Jewish law says that Joseph had the right to divorce her, and Jewish authority could have stoned her to death (Deuteronomy 22:23-24).
What is so important about a virgin birth to the Christian faith? First, Jesus Christ had to be free from the sinful nature passed to all other human beings by Adam. Second, because Jesus was born of a woman, he was a human being. But as a Son of God, Jesus was born both fully human and fully divine. Third, Jesus lived as a man; we should know that he understands our experiences and struggles (Hebrews 4:15-16). Finally, because he is God, he has the power and authority to deliver us from sin (Colossians 2:13-15). He has been where we have been, and he has the qualifications to help.
Verse 19: Her husband Joseph, since he was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly.
Verse 19 study: Joseph believed he only had two options: Divorce Mary or have her stoned. God had a third option: Marry her (1-20-23). Joseph didn’t think anything of it until God mentioned the third option. Thus, God shows us there are more options than we believe it to be. According to the law, Joseph seemed to do the right thing by breaking off the engagement, but God’s guidance helped him make the right decision. Thus, this is why we should always seek God’s wisdom.
Verse 20: But when he had thought this over, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
Verse 20 study: Jesus Christ’s birth is a supernatural event and goes beyond human logic or reasoning. Since it was that way, God sent angels to help people understand the significance of what was happening (2:13, 19: Luke 1:11, 26; 2:9).
Angels are spiritual beings created by God to help carry out his work. They help bring God’s message to people (Luke 1:26), protect God’s people (Daniel 6:22), offer encouragement (Genesis 16:7), give guidance (Exodus 14:19), carry out punishment (2 Samuel 24:16), patrol the earth (Zechariah 1:9-14), and fight the forces of evil (2 Kings 6:16-18; Revelation 20:1-2). Although there are good and bad angels (Revelation 12:7), evil angels are often allied with the devil or satan; they have less power and authority than good angels. The leading role will be to offer continuous praise to God (Revelation 7:11-12).
Verse 21: She will give birth to a Son; and you shall name Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Verse 21 study: “The Lord saves,” is what Jesus means. Jesus came to earth to save us because we can’t save ourselves from sin and the consequences. We can be good, but we can’t eliminate the sinful nature in all of us. Only Jesus can do that. Jesus didn’t come to help people save themselves; he came to be their savior from the power and penalty of sin. So keep thanking Christ of his death on the cross for your sins and then ask him to take control of your life. Your new life begins right at that moment.
Verse 22: Now, all this took place so that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet would be fulfilled:
Verse 23: “Behold, the virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son, and they shall name Him Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.”
Verse 23 study: Immanuel is what Jesus was to be called, also meaning “God with Us,” as predicted by Isaiah the Prophet (Isaiah 7:14). Jesus was God in the flesh: God was literally among us, hence, “with us.” Through the Holy Spirit, Christ is with us today in the life of every believer. Even Isaiah didn’t understand how far-reaching the meaning of “Immanuel” would be.
Verses 20-23 studies: The angel told Joseph that Mary’s child was conceived by the Holy Spirit and would be a son. It reveals an essential truth about Jesus. He is both human and God. God took on the limitations of humanity so he could live and die for the salvation of all who believe in him.
Verse 24: And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife,
Verse 25: but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; he named Him Jesus.
Verse 24 study: Joseph did change his plans quickly after learning Mary had not been unfaithful to him (1:19). He obeyed God and proceeded with marriage. People were disappointed in his decision, but Joseph went ahead with what he knew was right. We tend to avoid doing the right thing because of other people’s thoughts. Like Joseph, we should obey God rather than seek approval from others.
Verses 18-25 studies: Joseph faced a challenging situation after he learned Mary was pregnant. He knew taking Mary would be humiliating, but Joseph decided to follow the angel’s advice to marry her. Four actions revealed his admirable qualities:
- Righteousness (1:19).
- Discretion and sensitivity (1:19).
- Responsiveness to God (1:24).
- Self-discipline (1:25).
Thank you, Father, for sharing your wisdom with us. We will never understand the gravity of our situation unless you are involved. Therefore, let us be humble enough to come to you with our problems and open our hearts to hear you. In Jesus’ name. Amen!