We live in an age of promiscuity! Wait! Let me rather put it like this … the race has always lived in promiscuity. Without consulting far-ancient to modern historians, we find the Bible filled with illustrations of this to teach how God does not want us to live. Not only is promiscuity alive and well, we have single mothers by the millions, we have substitute mothers deputizing for others in surrogacy, we have adoptions, we have infanticide and we have parents treating new born babies and children very badly.
Some of these things might be acceptable to our Twenty-First Century society, but to God it is a deviance from His requirements in the Scriptures for children and parents. How many women have tricked men into believing their pregnancy is this man’s doing? On the same count, how many men have impregnated woman and then deserted? What about those who find the girlfriend pregnant and save face by marrying only to divorce soon thereafter.
How would you say God views the promiscuity in our age? We have seen God prepared a people, protecting them in Egypt to deliver them to their own place called Canaan to live under His rule as He lived amongst His people in the Holy of Holies in the Temple. We have already see that this was temporal, for in the Lord Jesus, God is making an eternal people to be with Him in His eternal place under His eternal rule. So far we have moved from Tragedy to Promise to Method to Person and then to Deed. Today we want to consider “incarnation”. Our passage is the well-known one from Matthew 1:
Mt 1:18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and 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, 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 be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—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 had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
This passage, read so often is a very important passage with reference to prophecy, especially that of Messiah. We have seen that Messiah would be God Incarnate … and under inspiration Matthew explains the miracle of the Incarnation … the miracle of Messiah coming to planet earth.
1) A young lady. Mary was either in early teenage years of perhaps a year younger. This was the normal age for a marriage pledge to be entered into. She was a virgin. This not only fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah, it reveals the impossible, that is, the impossible for man. A virgin falling pregnant? Fables and mythology might have such stories but this is real life! Yes she is pledged which is far more binding that today’s engagement. It was almost marriage but without intimacy. Mary was a godly young lady (see Luke’s account), of sexual purity.
2) Joseph was consider Mary’s husband. This is how binding a marriage pledge was. Once entered into there was no way out. Commentators believe he was much older than Mary (he seems to have already died by the time Jesus entered His ministry). Not only was he a righteous man … he was a decent man. In his shock, once finding out Mary was pregnant, his plan was to marry her and then quietly divorce her. He could not understand what was happening but he still wanted to protect Mary. If you are a man, what would you have done?
3) Joseph has a dream. Whilst he sleeps God sends an angel in a dream to him to explain what was happening to Mary. The angel calms Joseph explaining that Mary’s pregnancy is not from some man … it is actually God the Holy Spirit that caused the pregnancy! This is the miracle of the Incarnation. It’s hard for us humans to grasp, yet easy for God to perform. In some mystical way we shall never understand, the Holy Spirit causes Mary’s pregnancy. Let us stop awhile. What happened here? The Messiah, who is God the Son, fully Divine is found within the womb of a virgin as a baby. He grows and develops in the womb and is born human of Mary whilst still virginal! He retains His Divinity and will be Godman. There are many things at play here, one is, no human father, therefore no sinful disposition is transferred with the baby being born without sin. This was the great need, a Messiah to be sinless to deal with man’s sin. As Isaiah said … the child is born … but the son is given. God the Son has an eternal existence.
4) The fulfilment of prophecy. Matthew draws from Isaiah chapter 7:14 … repeating that the virgin will be with child. She shall birth a son into the world who would be called “Immanuel”. Let’s stop and consider the two names used here.
(1) Jesus means “God saved”.
(2) Immanuel means “God with us”. This child who was be born on that first Christmas Day, was born to save people from sin … and He could because He was and is God with us! The great unraveling of prophecy over all the years from Genesis 3:15, to this child being born shows the enormous love of God in action. He knew man could not pay his way out of sin, so He came on a Rescue Mission to save lost, sinful man. As a parting point today, Joseph did four things.
(i) He obeyed because he understood this to be a command from God. Do we obey God’s command in the Bible?
(ii) He took Mary home as his wife. He did the right thing. Do we?
(iii) He had no union with her. He protected the Messiah. Do we?
(iv) He named Him Jesus.
Thank You, Lord Jesus, for leaving Your Glory to come to our world to save us from eternal separation as our only Messiah. Amen.