The Birth of Jesus: Matthew 1.18-25

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. 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.
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. 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.”
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

The following verses (1.18-25) function as an extended footnote for verse 16. At the conclusion of the genealogy we are informed of the characters involved in the birth of Jesus. There are three aspects which you should focus your attention toward.

The Holy Spirit Creates Newness
Wherever there is creation, you will find the Holy Spirit. He was at work in the creation of the physical world (Gen. 1.2). He was there at the creation of man (Gen. 1.26; Job 33.4). He was there in the re-creation of man spiritually (Ezek. 27.14; John 3.5). He was there at the creation of the miracle of virgin birth (Matt. 1.18). He was there when you were created into a new person.

God Often Guides One Step at a Time
This is a difficult proposition in our Western church. We tend to think of guidance from only one source—the written Scripture. While God does use Scripture for guidance, he has never stopped guiding people in many different ways through the Holy Spirit.

  • First, Joseph was guided to marry Mary when visited by an angel (1.20-24). The book of Hebrews, written by and to a second generation church, tells us that angels are ministering spirits who are sent to serve the ones who are believers (Heb. 1.14). It is not impossible today for you as the reader to have a visit from an angel to guide yo
  • Second, Joseph was guided to flee to Egypt with Mary and Jesus (2.13-14). This is the second occurrence where Joseph is given guidance by a supernatural-transrational means.
  • Thirdly, Joseph was guided by an angel to leave Egypt. This was not unlike God’s children leaving Egypt (2.19-21).
  • Finally, Joseph was guided to go to Galilee (2.22).

There is supernatural guidance which can and will occur in your life. Be prepared for it!

To help his reader understand how this supernatural guidance occurs in his life, Matthew shares the pattern which the angel used in his communication with Joseph. When he was told to marry Mary (1.20-24), this is the pattern which materialized.

  • First, there was a command (v. 20a): take Mary home as your wife.
  • Second, there was an explanation of the command (20b): what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
  • Third, there was another command (v. 21a): you give him the name Jesus.
  • Fourth, there was another explanation (v. 21b): he will save his people from their sins.
  • Finally, there was a response (v. 24): Joseph did what the angel of the Lord commanded.

When Joseph was told to go to Egypt (2.13-14), you can see the same pattern transpiring.

  • First, there was a command (v. 13a): take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there.
  • Second, an explanation of the command (v. 13b): for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.
  • Finally, there was a response (v. 14): Joseph got up, took the child and his mother during the night, and left for Egypt. In this case there was an immediate response.

In the third illustration there is the same design. Joseph was directed to leave Egypt (2.19-21).

  • First, there was the command (v. 20a): get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel.
  • Second, an explanation of the command (v. 20b): for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.
  • Finally, the response (v. 21): so he got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel.

You can plainly see that the pattern which God used in all three occurrences was the same:

  • He gave a command
  • He gave an explanation for the command
  • There was an expected response.

The biggest downfall of believers in trying to follow God’s supernatural guidance is to move too fast—to hear the command and be on the move before we understand the reason for the command. Beco

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