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