Matthew 1: 18-25

Marriage, Faith, and the Christ. All of them are gifts to you from God through the Word.

The Birth of Christ Jesus

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was like this: After his mother, Mary, was engaged to Joseph, before they came together, she was found pregnant by the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, her husband, being a righteous man, and not willing to make her a public example, intended to put her away secretly. 20 But when he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take to yourself Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 She shall give birth to a son. You shall name him Jesus, for it is he who shall save his people from their sins.”22 Now all this has happened that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying,23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child,and shall give birth to a son.They shall call his name Immanuel,”which is, being interpreted, “God with us.” 24 Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took his wife to himself; 25 and didn’t know her sexually until she had given birth to her firstborn son. He named him Jesus.

Betrothal and Marriage

Many things are different in our current culture than that of the biblical Israelite culture. Our cultures idea of marriage isn’t an arranged marriage, engagement isn’t a contract, and marriage itself is a contract slightly more important than your phone plan contract. As for Christian’s though we take marriage much more seriously yet things for us are different than that of the ancient Israelite culture. A betrothal was considered a marriage contract. It was arranged by the parents, and once both families agreed on the marriage the couple would be betrothed. Even though the wedding day had yet to happen, they were considered married due to the seriousness of the contract. Yet, they lived separate because the wedding day had yet to occure. On that day the bridegroom would be escorted to the bride’s house by his friends and she would come out to meet him. They would then have a procession to the home that the bridegroom would have prepared for them.

Joseph had assumed that Mary was unfaithful. He is called a just or righteousness man and his example of compassion towards Mary reflects his character. The Israelite law would have her stoned to death for being unfaithful, now under the Roman rule this wouldn’t have likely been the case. Nevertheless, she would have at the very least had been ostracized from the Israelites. Joseph, in his compassion for Mary, wanted to divorce her secretly, in hopes that he might spare her life, or reputation. An Angel tells Joseph three things. First that Mary hasn’t been unfaithful, that he shall name the child Jesus, and all this has happened as a fulfillment of prophecy spoken of in the book of Isaiah.

Jesus is Immanuel

God with us shall save people from their sins. What a wonderful statement! This comes right out and tells us that Jesus is God. There are few things to unpack here. One, only God can save/forgive from sin. Two, Jesus being called Immanuel (God with us), directly references His deity by calling Him God. He is the Mighty God spoken of in Isaiah 9:6. As said in the previous post, God in the flesh, is a major importance.

A man cannot attain his own righteousness, if this were possible, there would be no need of a Savior for the propitiation of our sins. God is the only one who could not only live a righteous life under the Law, to fullfil the Laws demands and be without sin, but whose sacrifice would be enough for the whole worlds sin. For if righteousness came by the Law man could only have enough righteousness for himself and not for the whole world.

This is why God in the flesh is so important. Not only to fulfil all righteousness of the Law, but to be able to take the sin of the whole world on himself, and not be tainted by sin. A mere man or created being wouldn’t be able to bear the sin of the world without the sin tainting, infecting, and corrupting his original righteousness. Not to mention to be able to bear the cup of the wrath for the sin of the whole world. No mere created being would be able to fulfil the law, bear the sin of the world, take the cup of wrath, die, and rise leaving that sin swallowed up in the grave.

Joseph’s faith comes by the Word spoken.

The Word, or message, from God came to Joseph and he believes this message, because faith comes as a gift wrapped in that Word, or promise, from God. The angel spoke to Joseph the Word of God and didn’t tell Joseph to search his feelings to know if what is spoken is “his truth” (Enthusiasm) or to tell him that his refusal to take Mary is a social construct and that his morals have no meaning (postmodernism). The angel simply proclaims what God wanted spoken and Joseph believes God because Gods Word is never alone; it always has the Spirit working faith. Theologians for two thousand years have pondered the miracle of God in the flesh. Apart from faith it is impossible to believe. Human reasoning would toss this aside as nonsense.

Yet here we have an example of the gift of faith. Joseph is told that his wife is bearing God in her womb and he believes it. This is faith. This is a gift given by God because it defies all logic and reasoning. Who could believe such a thing? This is why I say that faith is a miracle. Faith is a new creation, a new man, a new life, new desires. Faith creates a love for God and neighbor. Faith is the way things were made before the fall.

Trusting in what God says came naturally before the fall of Adam. Before sin entered the world, before Satan whispered his lies to Eve, faith, a simple childlike trust out of love, was the norm. We were created to be able to fear, love, and trust in God above all things and to love our neighbor without any regards to ourselves.

Jesus makes everything new. Declared justified, forgiven, and holy we will be fully able to fear nothing more than God. Our trust will be in nothing more than God’s word, our love for God and others will be complete and not found lacking. This is what Christ came to do for you. To make things new, to fix what we broke to make sure that it will never be able to happen again. First He had to be born of a Virgin, by the Holy Spirit, to take on our flesh, so that He could die; for you.

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