Welcome to A Journey Through the Book of Matthew. The newest post will be shown just below this entry. At the top of the page on the tab Journey Through the Book of Matthew will have a list of the other posts in this series starting with the oldest at the top and going toward the newest at the bottom. I hope you will enjoy learning about Christ through the inspired teachings of Matthew. Blessings Pastor Lester
22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” 24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did and the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.
The prophet Isaiah in verse 7:14 says; “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” Immanuel, meaning “God with us.” God the creator of the universe was foretold of His coming and that this would be of no ordinary event. Why the difference. As the prophet Isaiah foretold, He would be born of a virgin.
Luke, the other writer of the Christmas story, puts it this way. “Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be for I do not known a man’” Luke 1:34. The Bible often uses code words to help us understand. In Genesis 4:1 says, “And Adam knew his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore a son.” The words “know,” “knew” and “known” are often used as code words to help us understand that a physical union has or has not taken place between a man and a woman or between husband and wife. Both Matthew and Luke make it very clear that this type of union has not taken place between Joseph and Mary and even after their marriage, this continued to be true until after Jesus was born.
How then did this come about? Scripture makes it clear. And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Luke 1:35 and Matthew 1:18 in less dramatic style says; 18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.
A virgin. Literally, “the virgin.” Directly and indirectly Matthew and Luke supply evidence to confirm the truth of the virgin birth.
1. Both affirm that Jesus was born of the Holy Ghost (Matt. 1:18, 20; Luke 1:35).
2. They declare that Mary was to “bring forth a son” who was not to be the son of Joseph
(see on Matt. 1:21) but the Son of God (Luke 1:35).
3. Mary remained a virgin “till she had brought forth” Jesus (Matt. 1:25)
- Mary affirmed her virginity to the angel (Luke 1:34). Thus the virgin birth of Jesus is fully attested, even apart from the word “virgin” itself, and would stand even if Matthew had never used that word in this setting.
Matthew and Luke, writing as they did under divine direction, would not have related the story of the virgin birth if it had not been true. They knew well how the Jewish leaders had taunted Jesus because of the mysterious circumstances surrounding His birth, and that they were giving critics further opportunity for ridicule by repeating the story.
There can be no doubt that Matthew here uses “virgin” in the strict sense of the word, in reference to Mary as a chaste, unmarried young woman. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Matthew applies Isaiah’s prediction to Christ, and in doing so uses the word parthenos, which strictly means “virgin” and nothing else.
As we close this first chapter of Matthew it should be noted that mythology also talks about a virgin birth. Alexander, Pythagoras, Plato, and Augustus Caesar are said to have descended from the gods and by supposed virgin birth. Is it just possible that there is one hoping to discredit the birth of Christ? Is it possible there is one hoping to counterfeit the genuine article? By these tales and fables he seeks to disprove the validity of the virgin birth of Christ.
But this is no more valid an argument than to say that the existence of spurious money and the counterfeits of the great masterpieces of art proves that there are no genuine ones. This only proves that there is something genuine that causes others to want to counterfeit the genuine. So it is with him who caused our first parents to fall. As we shall see, he seeks to counterfeit the teaching of God to lessen their meaning upon the hearts of men.
And when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son.
A Journey Through the Book of Matthew
Matthew 1:20, 21
20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Joseph, a just man being upright and a keeper of God’s law was faced with a difficult decision. Mary, a young woman from Nazareth was betrothed to Joseph. Yet she was found to be with child. And as we saw in our last post, there was more than one way for Joseph to deal with this situation. It would appear he had decided not to marry her.
Now as Joseph slept, an angel of the Lord came to him in a dream. Luke tells us two other times that an angel of the Lord came to visit with first Zacharias (Luke 1:11, 19) and then to Mary (Luke 1:19). With both Mary and Zacharias, it is stated that the Angel came visibly appeared to them. With Joseph, the Angel came to him in a dream.
Why the difference. Mary and Zacharias were given good news. Zacharias that a son would be born who would be the cousin of Mary’s baby. Zacharias and his wife were old, past the age of giving birth so the angel would be more likely to appear to give legitimacy to the message.
The same with Mary. She had no idea she would have been chosen to become the mother of Jesus. So the message given by the angel had more meaning coming from the visible angel.
Although each Jewish girl as she grew up would ask herself the same question, “Is it I that will deliver the promised messiah to our people. To Mary the answer was given, it is you Mary that the Holy Spirit will come unto you and you shall conceive and bring froth a child and you shall call his name Immanuel. Meaning God with us.
As Joseph slept the angel gave him the promise that he should name this child Jesus. Jesus a name that meant, Jehovah is salvation. The original Greek comes across as saying. “For He it is who shall save.”
The angel encouraged Joseph to marry and to not waste time and do not question Mary’s virtue. As a just man the angel reassured Joseph that taking Mary he would not forfeit righteousness. In fact for Joseph it became an act of faith that God required of Joseph.
He shall save. What a promise was given to Joseph and Mary. Jesus was to be the savior of the world. When Adam and Eve had eaten of the tree, God had promised them in verse 15 of Genesis 3. I will put enmity between you (the devil, Satan, that old serpent) and the woman, (God people) and between your seed and her seed: He (Jesus) shall bruise your head and you shall bruise His (Jesus’ death on the cross) heal.
He was sent to save us from sin. Sin that bound men (Romans 6:16; II Peter 2:19) in its prison house (Isaiah 42:7). Christ came that He might loose the bonds, open the prison door, and deliver the captives from the sentence of death (Isaiah 61:1; Romans 7:24, 25; Hebrews 2:15). He came to save us from our sins, not in our sins. He came, not only to save us from sins actually committed, but from our potential tendencies that head to sin (Romans 7:35-25; I John 1:7, 9). He came to redeem us from “all iniquity” (Titus 2:14), including every hereditary and cultivated tendency to evil.
Christ did not come to save His people from the power of Rome, as the Jews fondly hoped. But from the power of a far more formidable foe. He did not come to “restore again the kingdom of Israel” (Acts 1:6), but to restore the dominion of God in the hearts of men (Luke 17:20, 21). Christ did not come primarily to save men from poverty and social injustice (Luke 12:13-15) as many apostles of the social gospel claim today, but from sin, and fundamental cause of poverty and injustice.
All this was done for you and me. Why? Because God created us and he loves us. He wants to redeem us unto himself. He wants to restore us.
One final little point. The angel says to Joseph, Thou son of David. Matthew is helping us to realize that Jesus is of Royal lineage.
Thank you for reading this blog. I hope you will continue to be blessed in the reading of God’s Word.