Matthew 1:18-25 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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They Will Call Him Immanuel
Comments for Study 2

Matthew 1:18-25
Memory Verse: 23


I. Joseph, A Son of David (18-20, 24-25)

>1. According to verse 18, what is this story about? What is Joseph's place in the genealogy of Jesus (16)? Why is he referred to as Joseph son of David (20b)?

Matthew 1:18a "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..."

* "This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about" -Matthew wasn't an eye witness to Jesus birth, nor the events that took place around it. Instead, he reported it as a fact of history as it was told to him. Most likely Matthew learned about the events of Jesus' birth from Mary, after Jesus' ascension into heaven. In his writing of Jesus birth, Matthew focus' on Joseph point of view, while Luke focus on Mary's point of view.
According to 1:16, Joseph is the step-father of Jesus. Thus, from some Jewish points of view, because Jesus was not a physical son of Joseph, legally Jesus was not the son of David. That is, they often did not consider a women's genealogy as important in son's lineage. (Mary was a daughter of David, he was her ancestor, as told by Luke.) However, an adapted son was often considered a son who not only gained a father, but also his ancestors. Thus, from this point of view, Jesus was the adapted son of Joseph, and the son of David from not only Mary's lineage, but Joseph's as well.

* "Jesus Christ" -Jesus Christ is his name and title. Jesus is a Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua. Christ is Jesus title, not his name. Much like President is a title and Clinton is the man's name.

>2. How is Mary identified? What was her relationship to Joseph (18)? Before the problem arose, what might have been their hopes and dreams? What kind of lifestyle did they evidently maintain?

* "His mother Mary" -Jesus, who is God, had to be born of a woman so that he could be both fully man and fully God. Thus, he was the second Adam.
The first Adam had no father and was without sin when God created him. Later, however the first Adam sinned. Jesus, as the second Adam, had no father and was without sin when he was born, even before he was born. So, unlike all humans after the first Adam, Jesus did not inherit the sinful nature. The sinful nature came into existence when the first Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden. But Jesus was without this sinful nature for he did not have a human father. And so, Jesus was both fully man and fully God. I discuss the nature of his perfect blood coming only from his Father in heaven in my manuscript The Believer's Future - Hope that Inspires.
For more on Jesus unique existence see Romans 5:12-21 and 1 Cor. 15:20-22.

* "pledged" -In the Jewish society of Jesus' day, the parents of two young adults would give mutual consent to a marriage. Then the young couple would be engaged for one year. This one year engagement was as legal as a married couples' bond. In fact, the only way to get out of this engagement was a legal document of divorce. The event Matthew accounts at this time in Joseph's and Mary's life was during the one year period.

* "His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph" -In his youth, Jesus grew up in a nice family life and home, even though they were poor. They lived a pure, simple, and humble lifestyle. They were typical Jews living in Galilee. (Luke 2:39) They had a fear of God and studied the word of God. (Luke 2:22,23) (Deuteronomy 24:5)

>3. Before they had any physical union, what happened to Mary (18b)? How was God keeping his promises and working out his purpose through this (Genesis 3:15; Luke 1:32-35; Hebrews 4:14,15)?

Matthew 1:18b "...she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit."

* This is the birth of Christ, the Savior that Genesis 3:15 tells of when it says, "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." ("offspring" is singular in Genesis 3:15 so it only talks of one person, who is Jesus.)
Luke 1:32-35 says of him, "He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God." Hebrews 4:14-15 also says of Jesus, "Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin."

* When Mary became pregnant her mind might have spun with all kinds of thoughts. One line of thinking could have been about what other people were going to think about her sudden pregnancy. Perhaps she thought, "What will Joseph do once he finds out? What will my parents think? What will my neighbors say?"
Another line of thought must have revolved around the Baby Jesus who was to be born. New mothers often think about the coming baby. Mary especially must have thought about the Baby because of the circumstances around his conception. She must have thought about the angle's message and its meaning.
Perhaps Mary also worried about her life, for Deuteronomy 22:20-21 says, "If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the girl's virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father's house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done a disgraceful thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father's house. You must purge the evil from among you."

>4. Read verse 19. When Joseph found his fiancee pregnant--not by him--what would be his natural response? What was evidently the custom and law (Deuteronomy 22:20,21)? What was his dilemma as a righteous man?

Matthew 1:19 "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."

* "righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace" -The Bible didn't say that Joseph was right with the Law. By the letter of the Law, Joseph was guilty, he should have had Mary stoned. Yet Matthew, inspired by the Holy Spirit, does not say he broke the law. In fact, it says that he was a righteous man. The legalistic would say, "How can this be so?" The answer is that often in the Bible there are accounts of people who broke the letter of the law, but were not condemned because they followed the spirit of the law.
King David broke the letter of the law, but was not condemned for his actions. He ate the consecrated bread which was unlawful for non-priests to eat. Yet, Jesus said in Matthew 12:3-4, "Haven't you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread--which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. " Jesus did not condemn David's actions, but used them to justify his disciples seeming breaking the law. Jesus blessed David's action and used it to explain to the Pharisees that he, Jesus, like David was doing what was right even though it was against the letter of the law. Thus, Joseph's actions (or lack of action against Mary) was not breaking the spirit of the law. The spirit of the law is more important than the letter of the law.

>5. What did he decide to do? What kind of spiritual and human struggle might be involved in reaching this decision? What does this show about his spiritual priorities?

* "he had in mind to divorce her quietly" -Joseph did not take this lightly. He was going to divorce her.
The Bible does not say how, but somehow Joseph found out about Mary's situation. When he heard the news that Mary was pregnant, Joseph could have, and might have, become hurt, angry, shocked, and confused. According to the Law he might have had her stoned. In his mind, Joseph might have asked questions like, "Was Mary lying or not? Why would Mary cheat on me? If she is pregnant, who is the father? What am I to do?" But, Joseph loved Mary. She was not like the girl who would commit fornication. In short, Joseph must have been confused and probably sought God for guidance.
Joseph had to overcome his feelings to do what was right. He had to be able to come to God to find a solution and direction. And he did overcame his feelings to do what was right before God, but only with the help of God through an angel.

>6. Read verse 20. What word of God came to Joseph as he struggled spiritually about this matter? What did Joseph do (24,25)? How might it cause him some shame and personal difficulty? What shows him to be a godly man (Isaiah 53:4a; Matthew 5:8)? How did God use him?

Matthew 1:20 "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.'"

* "Son of David" -This phrase refers to the Messiah, and the line of the Messiah, for the Lord promise to David that the Messiah would come from his line. Also, it shows that Jesus is of kingly descent. Joseph's genealogy is in the first part of chapter 1.

* "an angle appeared to him" -God understands our troubles and he helps us in them, sometimes through angles.

* "to him" -God gave direction for the family to Joseph not to Mary, even though she was favored by God. God often acts on behalf a family of God through the husband for he is the head of the household.

II. Jesus Saves His People From Their Sins (21)

>7. Read verse 21. What was to be the name of Mary's baby? What does this name mean? How does this fulfill prophecy (Isaiah 53:5)? What does this tell us about God's purpose in sending the Messiah? About mankind's real problem?

Matthew 1:21 "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."

* "Jesus" -Jesus is the Greek form the "Joshua", which means "the Lord saves."

* "you are to give him the name Jesus" -The angle of God gave Jesus' name. This shows that God had planned Jesus to be born in this way, through a virgin, a long time ago.
How would the Lord do this? Isaiah 53:5 says, "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed." God's purpose in sending the Messiah was to make a way through his punishment so that man's sin would be forgiven. Thus, man's real problem is a sin problem and death which Jesus as the Messiah solved.

* "he will save his people from their sins" -Jesus is the only source of salvation from sins.

III. Jesus, The Immanuel God (22-23)

>8. Read verses 22-23. What is Jesus' other name? What does this mean? How does this fulfill prophecy (Isaiah 7:14)? Think about the meaning of "God with us" to one man, Abraham (Ge 12:2,3; Heb 11:11). How did "God with us" give him hope?

>9. Think about the meaning of "God with us" to the people of Israel. What was his purpose (Exodus 19:5,6)? When and how was God with them (Matthew 1:17; Isaiah 43:2)? What did it mean personally to Matthew that Jesus was God with him (Matthew 9:9-13; 6:33)?

>10. Read Isaiah 9:6. What does it mean that Immanuel God came into this world as a baby? What does this verse tell us about the meaning of Immanuel God to each of us?

Matthew 1:22-23 "All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"--which means, "God with us.""

* "through the prophet" -By quoting scripture, the angle help Joseph believe what Mary must have said to him. She may have said, "Jesus was from God, not from man."

* "Immanuel" -Immanuel means "God with us." God humbled himself, becoming man, which is a little lower than the angles. God comes to us where we are, even in our sins. This humbling himself and being one of us shows his love for us.
God is with us through all troubles and tribulations. Isaiah 43:2 says, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."
God goes through all for us. Isaiah 53:4 says, "Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted."

* "The virgin" -The angle's quote comes from Isaiah 7:14 which says, "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel." The prophecies of the Messiah was to plant hope in the Israelites hearts, Jesus completes this hope.
The promise of Isaiah was in its time, of little meaning. It was of little meaning to them because they wanted to be saved from an army of men. Later in history it made sense, through the coming of Jesus, as the angle pointed out to Joseph.
Another prophecy which deals with Jesus born as a infant is Isaiah 9:6, which says, "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Thus, Jesus became like of us in every way, but was so much more. Every man has a need for each aspect of Christ listed in Isaiah 9:6.

Matthew 1:24-25 "When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus."

* "When Joseph woke up" -When Joseph heard the angles message he believed and obeyed even though most likely no one would understand or believe that what was conceived in Mary was of the Holy Spirit not of sin. Gossip would fly, his public reputation would be ruined, and he would lose his standing in the community. But when Joseph was clear in faith, he had no problem taking Mary in and accepted being the human father of Jesus. In the long term, the suffering and grief that he went through at first did not matter. And Joseph was blessed for Matthew 5:8 says, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." Thus, God used him, for Joseph provided for Mary and the baby Jesus. He took care of them. He protected them.