Week 4, Day 3

Day 3: Matthew 1:18-25

The birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant from the Holy Spirit. So her husband, Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly.
But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
See, the virgin will become pregnant
and give birth to a son,
and they will name him Immanuel,
which is translated “God is with us.”
When Joseph woke up, he did as the Lord’s angel had commanded him. He married her but did not have sexual relations with her until she gave birth to a son. And he named him Jesus.

1. Here the gospel writer recounts the birth of Jesus through the lens of the Hebrew Scriptures. The conception of Jesus through the Holy Spirit is more than just a miracle of the conception itself. It is related as the manner in which God fulfilled his greatest of all promises: to be Immanuel: God who is with us. At the same time, we are told that Joseph, the adoptive father of Jesus, is a righteous man. This is foreshadowing the theme of adoption in the life of Jesus: humans adopted God, and God will adopt humans.
2. Jesus is Immanuel, God with us, the God-Man who stands as the eternal mediator. This is how he is able to save the people from their sins.
3. We should learn from Joseph to be careful, merciful, attentive, and accepting of that which God is doing. Joseph took on enormous risk in his choice to accept Mary and the child she carried. His inheritance would now pass to one who was not “his” son. His reputation (and hers) could be sullied. His faith must have been challenged to at least some degree. Yet when God revealed that this thing which was happening was from the Holy Spirit, Joseph set aside his own interests and adopted all the risks.
4. As Athanasius wrote, God became as we are so that we might become as he is. The birth of Jesus as a human being heralds the birth of human beings into the divine nature (John 3:3-8, 2 Peter 1:3-4). The new birth begins with the acceptance of Jesus as Lord, but the birth pangs continue until the new creation.