Monday, December 7
Read Matthew 1:24-25
As we begin our personal studies this week, let’s review the four main things Matthew wants his readers to know about the birth of the Son of God.
- Vs 18 – “Mary was found with child of the Holy Ghost”.
- Vs 20 – “that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost”.
- Vs 22 – “Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled…behold a virgin shall conceive and shall bring forth a son”.
- Vs 23 – “They shall call His name, Emmanuel…God with us”.
Matthew was not interested in giving a detailed account of Jesus’ birth. His concern was that his readers know and understand, this was no ordinary birth of an ordinary baby boy. This was the birth of the Promised Messiah. The Old Testament prophecies regarding the Messiah’s birth had been fulfilled to the letter. Secondly, the Jews scandalous and slanderous reports that Jesus could not be the Messiah because He was born out of wedlock, only proved their lack of knowledge of Holy Scripture. The central fact that Mary conceived the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit, and not by human means, was the main and essential evidence that Jesus was the Messiah. The word “Emmanuel” is not a name or a title, as we are prone to use it today. It is actually a description of the nature of Christ – He was, and is, God with us – God revealed in human flesh.
While the focus of attention is rightfully upon Mary, the mother of the Lord Jesus, Joseph should also merit our appreciation for his willingness to obey God, despite the appearance of things, including the wagging of tongues. In my opinion, Joseph acted as God would have every man to act in the same or similar situation. Of course he was hurt when he first heard the news, for he had no idea what was going on, until the Angel told him. But when he was convinced that what he and Mary were experiencing was of God, he was merciful, gentle, forgiving, helpful, and he followed through with an attitude of gratitude for the opportunity to be a part of what God was doing in Mary’s life. Joseph was a godly man because of the way he revealed God’s character to Mary.
Sadly, this is not the image of the most men today, even among Christians. Joseph was no more than 17 years of age, but when we compare his ability to accept personal responsibility and handle personal adversity with the majority of 17-year old’s today we must question the methods we are using to turn boys into men. Even as I write this study, college students are protesting against their schools over issues that, compared to what Joseph endured, should make them absolutely ashamed. Are the schools equipping them to handle the issues of life, or are they filling their minds with the false idea the world owes them life? You will find that answer in their life choices.