Divine Intervention – Matt 1:18-25
Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – Dec. 22nd, 2019
- This morning we are continuing and concluding our Christmas mini-series as we look to the opening chapter in the Gospel of Matthew. The Gospel of Matthew was written with the Jewish reader in mind as the primary recipient. The Holy Spirit guided Matthew in starting this Gospel with the genealogy of Jesus Christ, which showed that He was a physical descendent of both Abraham and David from whom the Messiah would come.
- And hidden in plain sight, God intentionally, through the listing of five women, included those who were disregarded, entrapped, destitute, victimized and common in His family line to show His greatness through His grace and wisdom.
- After giving the lineage of Jesus Christ, Matthew sharpens his focus on the details of how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. Luke gives us insight into the heart and mind of Mary and Matthew gives us insight into the heart of mind of Joseph. God disrupted Joseph’s life with His sovereign plan and Joseph had to wrestle with this situation and choose his course of action. God’s sovereign plan for our lives often comes when He inserts something into the course of our lives, in these times it forces us to wrestle with the situation and to choose how we are to respond. From Joseph and God’s interaction with Him, we can learn and apply the following principles to our situation.
Matt 1:18 ESV
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.
- This was a situation that Joseph did not cause nor was he seeking, even though like the rest of the Jewish community, they were waiting on the messiah to come. He was a normal person, living a normal life, just like us. He learned a trade and was engaged to a girl named Mary. During their engagement, before the wedding, he found out that his fiancé was pregnant, and he knew that he was not the father.
- The angel Gabriel came and spoke to just Mary (he could have talked to both of them – but God did this intentionally so that the character of both of them would be revealed), and Mary then had to explain what had happened to Joseph her fiancé. How do you have that conversation . . .? Joseph had a choice to make: the fact was that she was pregnant and he was not convinced that this indeed was God working.
Matt 1:18 ESV
And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.
- Joseph had a lot to think about, and it upset his present and affected his future. I imagine that he had many restless nights. He was coming to a conclusion as to what he was going to do based on what he knew and who he was. He was a “just” man, which means he tried to live his life according to the law and will of God. According to the Word, he could choose to accuse her of adultery in a public way by bringing her to the elders of the town (Deut. 22:13-21) or he could choose to go to a priest privately (Num. 5:11-31). Joseph wanted to do what was right according to the word and also wanted not to shame her, so he decided to keep it private and divorce her quietly. This must have been an agonizing time for both Joseph and Mary.
- In my life and in your life, there are times in which we have to make choices based upon the will and word of God that cause us to wrestle with what we are to do. Know that in these types of situations, God has not abandoned you, but sees you and allows you to wrestle with these things to show who you are and make you mature. And in Joseph’s careful contemplation, I am sure that he was calling out to God for His wisdom and guidance. After he wrestled with these things, God showed up and communicated with him.
Matt 1:20-23 ESV
But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel”(which means, God with us).
- As Joseph was still considering what to do, at just the right time, God communicated with him. In this communication, God addressed several things that Joseph was dealing with. He addressed his identity: “son of David.” He addresses his main issue: “do not fear.” He gives him direction: “take Mary as your wife.” He confirms what is true: “that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” He tells him what will happen: “she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All these things that were communicated with Joseph were in-line with what was written in the word “all this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet.”
- When we are contemplating what to do with big decisions, God may communicate with us as well and he always does so with what is revealed in His written word. For He says:
Prov 8:17 ESV
I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.
Jer 29:13-14 ESV
You will seek me and find me. When you seek me with all your heart, 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord
- We also have a ton of examples in the Bible of God communicating with people. God communicates in our leisure (Adam and Eve walking with God) and in our working (Gideon), in our sleeping (Joseph) and while we are awake (Peter). God communicates to righteous people (Noah) and to pagans (Belshazzar), to kings (Nebuchadnezzar) and to slaves (Daniel), to His Enemies (Balaam) and to His friends (Moses), to prophets (Jonah) and to persecutors (Saul), to the old (Eli) and to the young (Samuel), to men (Isaiah) and to women (Mary), to groups (shepherds) and to individuals (David).
- God can speak to anyone, anywhere, at any time, through anything, for any reason. Why? because He is God and He is sovereign . . . the question is not does God speak, but are we seeking Him? He rewards those who seek Him (Heb. 11:6).
- After you have sought Him and know what to do, it will still take courage to move forward past your fear along the direction of God’s leading.
Matt 1:24-25 ESV
When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
- Joseph did what the Lord commanded him: he took Mary to be his wife, she did give birth to a son and he called His name Jesus, just as he was instructed. It was indeed a courageous collaboration. God’s will was done, and not everyone believed them, and they were misunderstood, they were marginalized, they had hardships but they moved forward, they persevered because they knew that following the will of the Lord with persecutions was by far better than following their own will with pleasures. The will of the Lord is for us, but it is not about us. It is way bigger than us and it is worth it!
- Know that in your life you will have times in which the Lord brings something about that you have to make a decision as to what you will do. In your considerations, be a person who is just, diligently seek the Lord and trust that He will lead you, and then take courage to follow through on your convictions. God will work His will through it and it will be worth it in the end.
- Jesus Christ came to “save His people from their sins” and in our great darkness, light has come.
Isa 9:2 ESV
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.
- We light the “Christ candle” to signify Immanuel, God with us” who is the light that has come into the world. When we believe in Him, He puts this light into our hearts so the world may know Him and put their hope in Him.
Num 6:24-26 ESV The Lord bless you and keep you; 25 the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; 26 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace