Friday, December 20, 2013

December 21, 2013

“This is how the birth of Jesus came to about; 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. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 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 as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ”The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him “Immanuel” (which means “God with us”) When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.” Matthew 1:18-25

When you read this at first glance it appears to be a story about the birth of Jesus, but take a closer look – a second look and you will see it focuses on the immaculate conception of Jesus.

V. 18 – “but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant”

Matthew wanted to make it clear to his Jewish audience that this child conceived in Mary could not have been Joseph’s.

In the Jewish custom of arranged marriage it is possible that Mary and Joseph did not know each other well. Perhaps they had never met face to face. That would make it impossible for this pregnancy to be traced to Joseph.

V. 18b – “by the Holy Spirit”

After establishing this could not be Joseph’s child it is made clear how the conception happened and who the child belonged to – God!

The Spirit of God had melded with human cells to create a God-man who would be called Jesus.

V. 20“do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.”

For the third time in three verses the angel emphasizes that Mary's pregnancy had nothing to do with Joseph or any man. The child growing in her womb was the offspring of God's Spirit.

V. 21“and you shall call His name Jesus for He shall save His people from their sins.”

Were this child the offspring of the man, Joseph, there would be no way he could have saved people from their sins for he would need a Savior himself.

So once again, the angel emphasizes the divine origin of this pregnancy.

V. 23 – “Behold a virgin shall be with child….”

Quoting from the Prophet Isaiah, the angel stresses for the fifth time that Mary will be a virgin when she conceives this child and still a virgin when she gives birth to the child.

V. 25 – “and did not know her until she had brought for her firstborn Son.”

Just in case you missed it the first five times, Mary is a virgin and has had no sexual relations with Joseph or any other man.

It seems to me that Matthew is trying to make a point here. What do you think?

Oh, Baby! You bet he is!  God’s plan of redemption and the hope of every man rested on this child being the child of God born of a woman. There are three great doctrines wrapped up in this wondrous event!

The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception which declares Mary conceived her Son  by the power of the Holy Spirit not the seed of man.

The doctrine of the Incarnation states that in the womb of the Hebrew virgin named Mary, God united His Spirit with human flesh and God became a man to dwell among us.

When we share these two truths we are talking about two foundational tenets of the doctrine of salvation! Without these two doctrinal truths Jesus couldn't have come to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins!

Now God desires to birth new life in your spirit by the power of His Spirit! His Word wants to be fleshed out in your life.

Will you respond to His calling on your life with the same faith and obedience demonstrated by Mary?

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