By Ray Luck
Pastor, Oak Grove Baptist Church, Athens
Focal Passage: Matthew 1:18-25
If you watch television any at all you most likely have seen the commercial advertising ancestry.com. The company specializes in helping people trace their ancestors in order to discover their roots. The gospel according to Matthew leaves no doubt as to the earthly lineage of Jesus Christ. He begins in chapter 1, verse 1 with these words, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” Then beginning with Abraham he begins to trace Jesus’ lineage all the way to Joseph the husband of Mary the mother of Jesus. There was a total of 42 generations from Abraham to Jesus.
Following the genealogy listing in verses 1-17 Matthew then proceeds to tell how Jesus’ birth was announced to Mary and Joseph followed by a brief word about His birth in verse 25. Luke is the gospel writer who goes into the most detail about Jesus’ birth and the events surrounding it. Luke 1:26 reads, “Now the sixth month the Angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.”
In Matthew he deals primarily with the announcement of Jesus’ birth to Joseph. Verse 18 shows that before Mary and Joseph had consummated their marriage she was found to be pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Such announcements normally bring joy to parents who are desirous of having children. When we were told that my wife was pregnant with our first child we were overjoyed and immediately began to make plans to receive our first child, this miracle of God, into our home. However, when Joseph heard that Mary was pregnant, and he was not the father, he was greatly troubled. Verse 19 says, he “… being a just man, not wanting to make her a public example, decided to put her away secretly.”
But, in verse 20, as he was considering those things God sent an angel to Joseph in a dream telling him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit.
In verses 22-23 the angel explains that what was transpiring was all spoken of by the prophet and then proceeds to quote Isaiah 7:14, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Matthew noted that Immanuel is translated, “God with us.” Jesus was sent to the earth to bring salvation and eternal life to lost humanity. In Galatians 4:4-5 we read, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, to redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”
The balance of this passage is a beautiful picture of obedience to God as Joseph took Mary as his wife, but did not consummate their marriage until after the promised son was born and they called His name Jesus. The one take away from this passage is, God honors obedience to Him, even when we do not fully understand His ways.