Matthew 1:18–25 Obedience of Joseph and Promise of God
Story : In 1990, at the age of five, Luo Gang was kidnapped and sold to a family in another part of China. Unable to remember his parents’ names or the village they lived in, he stood little chance of ever going home. But 23 years later he did.
- Desire to see his real family – Find the truth
- Determination to persevere in his attempt to achieve his goal (Decided not to get married before he find his parents)
- Knew that there was more to him than what he knew about himself
- With help from the web sight set up to reunite kidnapped children with his parents he was guided (Given help) to the exact place of his birth and was reunited with his birth parents
ABOUT MARY AND JOSEPH
Mary would have probably been a teenager (some suggest sixteen at the oldest),
Joseph perhaps between eighteen and twenty; their parents likely arranged their marriage, with Mary and Joseph’s consent.
woman with a child, divorced / infidelity, would be hard pressed to find another husband, leaving her without means of support if her parents died.
Much later rabbinic tradition charges that Mary slept with another man, some have insinuated that she was violated by Roman solder.
JOSEPH: A HUMBLE MAN FOR A HEAVENLY MISSION
1:18. Betrothal (erusin) more binding than most engagements are today and was normally accompanied by the groom’s payment of at least part of the bride price.
Just like a marriage, except for the fact that the couple did not live together and did not engage in physical relations.
Betrothal, commonly lasted a year, (bride and groom were officially pledged to each other) but had not yet consummated the marriage;
B. v. 18-19 The Tragedy Of Shattered Dreams – Joseph was looking forward to the day when he and Mary came together to share their lives.
– He was probably preparing the home where they would live together.
– Then, came the news that Mary is pregnant and Joseph is not the father.
Mary probably tried to share her side of the story – this could be why he reacted the way he did.
Either a massive lie or a miracle “she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” !
The Tragedy Of difficult Sorrowful Decisions –
Bible says that Joseph was a “just” man. “righteous and one who kept the divine laws.”
- If woman is found guilty of adultery, she is to be stoned to death, Deut. 22:20-22!
- Another option. Deut. 24:1 he can give her a bill of divorcement and send her away.
- Joseph did not want to embarrass Mary publicly; or see her stoned. Divorce her quietly
- Another Joseph (Old Testament) – His path lead him from the place of prominence in his father’s house, through a pit, into Potipher’s house and though a prison. In the end, he would sit in the place of power on the throne of Egypt.
- It would never have happened had God not first shattered his dreams and broken his heart, Gen. 50:20!
THE TASK THAT MARKED HIS LIFE
VS. 20 The Task Involved Divine Revelations –
“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Ghost before Pentecost. – Joseph did not have same understanding we have today
Vs. 20-21 The Task Involved Definite Requirements – Joseph is instructed that
- he is not to divorce Mary
- he is not to have her stoned;
- he is to take her to himself as his wife,
- he is to embrace her child as if He was his own Son.
Vs. 21-23 The Task Involved Realizations –Joseph learns the amazing truth.
The baby Mary carries is a fulfilment of greatest promise God gave to man, Gen. 3:15.
- For generations, faithful were waiting for promise when God would send His Redeemer.
- Angel told him child to be named “Jesus.” He will save His people from their sins.
- His name will define His mission, “Jehovah is Salvation.”
- Joseph did not understand that God was entering humanity through the womb of a virgin.
To us it today this genealogy of “Son of David” certifies his Messiahship.
(1) The patriarchs from David onwards were common ancestors of Joseph and Mary.
(2) Jesus was also the Son of David in blood as well as in law / genealogy in Luke, which carries his line up through Mary.
Vs 24-25 Joseph- THE TESTIMONY THAT MEASURED HIS LIFE
The real evidence of the depth of a person’s character and maturity is seen in what they do with what they have and how they deal with circumstances that surrounds them. And should not be measured with their ambitions and their desires which may go on being unfulfilled.
v. 24 A Testimony Of Unconditional Compliance – Many men would have walked away from the Lord and from Mary at that moment. Not Joseph!
- As soon as he awoke, he rose and carried out the command of the Lord.
- Joseph not interested in what the community thought about him; (Gossip)
v. 25 A Testimony Of Unwavering Commitment –
When he took Mary into his home, he refrained himself from physical contact with her.
- He obeyed the Lord and preserved her virginity until after Jesus had been born.
- Willing to bear the shame and reproach from the community,
- He is also willing to place his own desires, needs and rights on the back burner.
v. 25 A Testimony Of continuous obedience –
- When the child was born, Joseph took the next step of faith and named the child Jesus,
Joseph was CALLED / to believe the impossible / do the incredible,
God is still looking for special people He can use to carry out His will in the world today
- God is looking for people who will follow him in spite of the tragedies of life.
- God is looking for people who will take of the tasks He give them and go for God.
- God is looking for people who are willing to give their testimony.
A grandfather was visiting his six-year-old grandson when his mother called, “Tommy, it’s time for your shower!” Grandfather asked, “Do you use the shower downstairs or the one upstairs?” Tommy replied, “Momma says that I can’t take a shower upstairs, and when Momma says no, we’d better do no!”
Joseph’s testimony. – Joseph is a credible witness.
1. He was a righteous man.
Statement made by Matthew if inaccurate would have been challenged; Joseph was well known (see ch. 13:55; Luke 4:22; John 6:42).
According to Eusebius, this Gospel was written in the third year of Caligula, i.e. a.d. 41, when many of Joseph’s contemporaries were still living.
As a righteous man Joseph could not be a liar. (That is contradiction)
There is no mention here of Gabriel’s message to Mary (see Luke 1:26–38). It could be because Matthew’s goal was to share what Joseph had to say on this matter.
Mary may have communicated her encounter with Angel to Joseph. (see Luke 1:46–55).
- Is this why he initially plans to break engagement from Mary without punishing her.
Joseph later had the testimony of:
- Elisabeth (see Luke 1:39–56), John Baptist jumping when hearing Mary
- Vision of Zacharias, the remarkable event of the Baptist’s birth,
- Zacharias’s prophecy (Luke 1:68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people)
Never was mother so honored and so tried as Mary. If you aspire for honors be prepared for trials.
It is from our greatest hurts that God often builds for us the greatest of blessings!
Josephs testimony is very IMPORTANT. Personal experience testimony.
Because of the importance of the subject.
The subject is unbelievable. The incarnation of Deity in human nature. “Immanuel.”
- Wonderful news for sinners. Bible says we all are sinners.
- An angel appeared to Joseph. Superhuman intelligence alone could reveal the subject.
For us to understand God, he had to enter into humanity in order for us to benefit from his revelation. We could not invent these ourselves!
(a) He had the “sign” that Mary should “bring forth a Son.” God alone could certainly predict this. (Prophecy – they had no ultra-scans then)
(b) Only God could have foreseen that this Child would ever claim to be a Savior, and perform miracles as signs to his generation?
(c) Criteria of imbursement shows that this was accurate as no one would want whole world to know about this unless this information was 100% accurate.
We trust his testimony Because of its consistency with Scripture.
The miracle of the virgin-mother was a prominent subject of ancient prophecy.
(Gen. 3:15), that the “Seed of the woman,” without the man / virgin—should “bruise the serpent’s head.”
The hand of God is evident in the history. The mystery of the Incarnation.
Christianity starts with a miracle.
A revelation it rests upon the principle that man can only be taught the truth concerning God, and saved from his sins, by a revelation.
God did not put on the mere appearance of humanity. Jesus was fully human
God did not find a human body, and come into it, as the hermit-crab will find, and enter into, an empty shell. Scripture says he was made man.
3. He experienced everything we do & knew hardship /was not born in privileged family.
“YOU SHALL CALL HIS NAME JESUS” / HISTORICAL relevance of the name..
The name Jesus (Aramaic Yēshua˓, Greek Iēsous) means “God is salvation”
Compare these two figures of history
a. Joshua led the nation of Israel into the promised land (Canaan)
b. Jesus leads the people of God into the Promised Land (Heaven)
SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS NAME… “God is Savior”
a. From the GUILT of sin
1) By offering His blood as the atonement for their sins – cf. Ro 5:8-9a
2) When one is washed by the blood of Jesus, He truly is their Savior
b. From the POWER of sin
1) By sending His sanctifying Spirit to help His people break sin’s dominion
c. From the CONSEQUENCE of sin / the wrath of God to come /not allowed in heaven
It is His OFFICE (function, work) to show mercy – Jn 3:17
- He continues to negotiate / represent us on our behalf, to save us from our sins
II. "THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL" A. HISTORICAL ASSOCIATIONS OF THIS NAME... 1. Isaiah's prophecy concerning this name is found in Isa 7:14 2. In which a virgin would give birth to a child who would be called "Immanuel" B. SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS NAME... 1. Immanuel literally means "God is with us" - cf. Mt 1:23 2. Messiah's NATURE; i.e., He is Deity! A) He was "equal with God" who willingly humbled Himself - cf. Php 2:5-11 B) In Him "dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" - Col 2:9
George Whitefield at the age of 16 became deeply convicted of sin. He tried everything possible to erase his guilt through religious activity. He wrote, “I fasted for 36 hours twice a week.
I prayed formal prayers several times a day and almost starved myself to death during Lent, but only felt more miserable. Then by God’s grace I met Charles Wesley who put a book in my hand which showed me from the Scriptures that I must be “born again” or be eternally lost.”
Finally, by the work of the Holy Spirit in his heart, Whitefield came to understand Jesus’ words in John 3. He believed and was gloriously saved. After he became a preacher, he spoke at least a thousand times on the subject, “Ye must be born again.” He fervently desired that all who heard him might experience the transforming power of God’s grace.