Matthew 1:18-25 Immanuel – God With Us

18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[d]: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet[e] did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[f] because he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[g] (which means “God with us”).

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

Immanuel – God With Us

If we are reading Matthew as a ‘How To’ book, we can often look first to Mary and her obedience and then to Joseph and see how we should behave.  This is Jesus’ biography, though.  Our first look is to what it tells us about Jesus.  Jesus is the Son of Man and he is the Son of God.  Jesus is the product of a divine overshadowing of Mary, but she carries her child in such a normal way, Joseph suspects adultery.  God’s presence through the Holy Spirit creates a new life in Mary.  The son who will be born will be like God in the Garden of Eden, He will be like the pillar of cloud or fire in Exodus, he will be like the Ark of The Covenant.  God will walk with the people, and the wise will walk with him.  Mary submits to this call.  Joseph is reluctant because he lacks understanding, but he submits to the plan once he understands.  It is the combination of the divine and the human that enables those on earth to walk with God with an intimate nearness.  This is what the name Immanuel conveys.  The question becomes for us, “Do we wish to walk with God?”  God is with us, and he has given us a choice.


  1. Of what is this section the account?
  2. If Joseph and Mary were only engaged, why was divorce necessary?
  3. If Joseph had been harsh and legalistic, what was the potential outcome for Mary and her baby?
  4. What would it have been like to crawl with God?  Babble with God?  Toddle with God?  Change God’s diaper?
  5. How can you develop a more complete picture of Jesus both as God and man?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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3 Responses to Matthew 1:18-25 Immanuel – God With Us

  1. Jonna Leshock says:

    1. This section is the account of Jesus’ birth.
    2. Mary was “pledged to be married to Joseph” which we would consider engaged. However, when one was pledged in marriage to another in those times, it was a more binding relationship than our modern day engagement. This pledge could only be broken by divorce.
    3. If Joseph were harsh and legalistic, he would have divorced Mary, and she would have been publicly judged and stoned. She and the baby may not have survived.
    4. I cannot imagine what it would have been like to crawl, toddle, or babble with God. That is me considering Jesus as God. However, I would assume for Mary, she was more inline with having a complete picture of Jesus (as God AND human) and therefore related to Jesus as any mother does.
    5. I think rereading the account of Jesus’ birth and really putting myself in Mary’s shoes helps in formulating a more complete picture of Jesus as God and man. It’s much easier for me to focus on the Jesus is God side, forgetting that he began with a human birth. It’s important to reflect on this passage often – to remember that Jesus really did go through all the stages of growth – from baby to toddler to young child to adolescent to adult – as we all do. Crazy to recognize that, but true none the less.

  2. Kristen Patush says:

    Of what is this section the account?

    This section is the account of Jesus’ birth.

    If Joseph and Mary were only engaged, why was divorce necessary?

    Because we was pregnant with a child that was not Joseph’s.

    If Joseph had been harsh and legalistic, what was the potential outcome for Mary and her baby?

    She would have been stoned for getting pregnant without being married. The baby and Mary would have been killed.

    What would it have been like to crawl with God? Babble with God? Toddle with God? Change God’s diaper?

    It is so phenomenal to think that God was both human and deity. He willingly choose to grow in every way and develop like anyone else, like Luke 2:52 says. He went through all the sam developmental patterns we do. He could have come as a mighty king, not having to come as a baby, choosing to make himself completely dependent as a baby would be, and grow up as a little boy, teen, and adult. He experienced everything we do, and he remained sinless. This gives me hope when I am tempted to give into my sinful and awful ways. “If Jesus can do it, He lives in me, so I surely can fight this.” =)

  3. Kelli says:

    This passage and question 4 bring to mind a scene from last year’s Candlelight Carols (Moody’s annual Christmas program). We had an actual toddler on stage during the scene with the Wise Men. Risky move! But by the grace of God, he did amazingly well in all three performances. He walked on stage with Mary and Joseph. And every time the audience of 4000 gave a collective “Awww.” He toddled across the stage to the table and picked up the toy hammer and started pounding on the table, which always got a big chuckle from the crowd. Then when the Wise Men appeared with presents, he ran up to them, took each gift, and brought it back to Mary. A very simple scene. But it sticks with me. I’ve had several other people bring it up to me since then as well because it brought Jesus the human toddler to life.

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