How Did the Birth of Jesus Christ Come About? (Matthew 1:18-25)
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Last time, we saw the genealogy of Jesus – the son of David, son of Abraham. His genealogy goes like this Abraham – Isaac – Jacob – Judah… “begot” being the keyword. In this story, mother did not begot sons, but father.
The bottom line is different in the case of Jesus – it does not say “Joseph begot Jesus” – it says, “Joseph, the husband of Mary, mother of Jesus.”
In the history of the world, only two men had no human fathers – Adam and Jesus. In the future, there are no more like that. In the future, if a girl becomes pregnant and says, “Oh, it’s the Holy Spirit!” Don’t believe her. One is enough.
If you see carefully, verse 18 says “Mary was pledged” = engaged, not yet married. Verse 19 says, “Joseph planned to divorce her” – they were already called husband and wife.
What was the process for marriage in Judaism at that time? 3 steps:
- Engagement stage (made while the couple was young – only children – by their parents or professional match maker – regardless of the couple’s choice – they didn’t even see each other) In Korea, even up to the previous generation, they did this as well.
- Betrothal (ratification – legal approval of engagement – this stage lasted for one year. During this period, they didn’t live together, lived separately in body. During this time, they should keep their virginity and purity to prepare to be husband and wife – but legally they were already called “husband and wife” with legal binding. During this period, if a wife committed adultery, she was to be stoned. If a husband died, the wife would be called a virgin widow.)
- Proper Marriage (at the end of the year, live together in one house)
In this story, they were in the second stage when Mary got pregnant.
Brothers, if you were Joseph, what would you do?
Joseph was a “righteous man” (even though before God, no one is righteous, not even one). But humanly speaking, he was zealous to keep the Law. So, in this way, he should have divorced her – but he was also a gentleman, didn’t want her to be killed – so he was studying quietly, secretly to keep her alive. During this time, an angel appeared to him, and said, “Don’t be afraid to make her your wife. This child is of the Holy Spirit.”
If you see the book of Luke, an angel – Gabriel – appeared to Mary and said, “You will be with child and will give birth to a son – you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the son of the Most High and he will be given the throne of David and will rule over the house of Jacob, and his kingdom will never end.”
Mary said, “How? I’m a virgin.”
The angel said, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you.”
At that time, Mary responded “I’m a servant of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said.”
Both Joseph and Mary obeyed fully.
Humanly speaking, Joseph was a gentleman. Let us also be gentle men.
All this took place to fulfill the prophecy (Isaiah).
- Immanuel “God with us”
- El = “God”
He had no union with her UNTIL she gave birth. But after that…
If we summarize the whole Old Testament in one sentence: It is the bundle of prophecies concerning the Messiah and his substitutionary death and his victorious reign.
Since Matthew is the Book of the King, it has many more quotations from the Old Testament than any of the other gospels.
It has 130 quotations and allusions to the OT.
Another key of Matthew, “King” and “Kingdom of Heaven” – that’s why we should repent. More than 32 times, we can see “The Kingdom of Heaven.” No other book has that.
All the story, all the genealogy:
- Old Testament = prophecy
- New Testament = fulfillment
OT – born of woman (not father), through the seed of Abraham, the tribe of Judah, the son of David, through the virgin.
- Genesis 3:13? – this is a curse from God to the serpent “I will put enmity between you and the woman – you will strike his heel and he will crush your head.” Ancient serpent = Satan. Woman’s offspring = Jesus – Galatians 4:14 “When the time had come, God sent his son, born of a woman.”
- Genesis 18 – to Abraham – “through your offspring, all nations on Earth will be blessed.” – fulfilled through Jesus.
- Genesis 44? – “The scepter will never depart from Judah”
- 2 Samuel – to David “I will establish your kingdom forever and ever.” – fulfilled in Jesus
- “The virgin will be with child and give birth to a son.” Isaiah 7:14 – almost the same sentence.
- “The Lord himself will give a sign – the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and they will call him Immanuel.”
- Isaiah 9:6 “To us a child is born, a son is given, and the government shall be on his shoulders (kingship) – and he shall be called Wonderful Counsel, Everlasting Father, Mighty God, King of Peace.”
The name (word) Jesus = savior – comes from Joshua. Jesus = Greek, Joshua = Hebrew. The name Joshua = “God’s salvation”
- Joshua = Jesus = Jehovah is my salvation
- Christ (Greek) = Messiah (Hebrew)
- Jesus = human name
- Christ = official title
- Immanuel = describes his character
He was not a phantom, he was fully man – physically touchable. He was also fully God – sinless, born of a virgin, without original sin – because he wasn’t born of a father.
So, what is the purpose of the virgin birth? Why through the virgin?
5 purposes for this:
#1: To fulfill God’s promise – to keep his promise.
God is not a man, he is God, so he is very faithful in keeping his promises.
#2: To reveal God
Can you see God? You can in Jesus. We cannot see God – but God can show himself to us. John 1:18 “No one has ever seen God, but he has made him known. God is spirit, but can show something of himself to us through nature, history, conscious, dreams, visions, prophets. But God has shown ALL of himself through Jesus.”
Hebrews 1:1 “ In the past, God spoke to prophets, but in these last days, through Jesus.”
Colossians 2 “In Christ, all the fulness of the Trinity, divinity dwells in Jesus.”
Jesus = God’s final self revelation
#3: To bridge the gap between God and man
Like Matthew, the bridge between OT and NT, Jesus came to bridge the gap between God and man.
1 Timothy 5 “There is one God and one mediator between God and man – Jesus Christ.”
If I want to be a mediator to the Japanese, I can’t do it by speaking Chinese. If I speak English, it also doesn’t work. But, if I speak Japanese fluently, I can be a mediator to them.
Jesus is fully God and fully man, he speaks both languages fluently. “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
#4: Through virgin birth to save us from our sins
Think about this: to get forgiveness is very essential – what should you do? From God? Repent. Confess our sins to receive forgiveness from God – it is necessary, essential, absolute to receive forgiveness.
But remember, confession is not enough.
First, the penalty of sin must be paid – the wages of sin = death.
So, to be a perfect Savior, he must be God to save us, he must be REAL man to die and pay our penalty, he must be sinless for his sacrifice to be effective.
Who is there in this world/life like that? Only Jesus.
#5: To show us the example of a sinless, holy life.
“Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. You will find rest for your souls.”
Who can say, “I’m gentle, I’m humble, you will find rest”? Jesus, he is holy and sinless.
1 Peter 2 “You are called to follow the example set before you by Jesus.”
Q: Is Jesus your Savior?
If True, he is our example, model, of what kind of people we should be in this world.
In the Bible, there are many human writers (40) – all the writers of the Word are PERFECT in their writings (only) but they are NOT perfect in their character. Only Jesus is infallible in his teaching and character.
There are 2 steps:
- Non-believer: Believe in Jesus and live.
- Believer: Follow Jesus’ example
For us the most important thing is Jesus’ example.
In Exodus, when Moses came down from the mountain, his face shown (glowed) – if we are real Christians, we are being transformed into that kind of person more and more as we walk with Jesus and follow his example.
If you “like” Christ, you should be LIKE Christ.