Mt 1:18 – Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.

  • In that culture, like many cultures today in that part of the world, the families of the bride and groom almost always arranged the marriages, often without consulting them. A contract was made and was sealed by payment of the dowry or bride price, which was paid by the groom or his family to the bride’s father.
  • Espoused is similar to what we call the engagement period in our culture. You and I would say that Joseph and Mary were in the engagement season of their relationship.
  • This espousal period of time was around 1 year, and for all intents and purposes, the couple was legally married. The only part of the marriage that was not upheld was the actual cohabitation and sexual consummation of the union, which would be entered into after the official ceremony.
  • It was during this period of time that you could actually divorce the person you were engaged to if they were found unfaithful during that period of time. So you can see the predicament that Joseph was in. Mary at this time is estimated to be between the ages of 14-16 years old.
  • When Mary tells Joseph that she is pregnant, but do not worry, because she is still a virgin, put yourself in Joseph’s sandals. Imagine one of our 14-16 yr. old high school girls telling their parents, “I’m pregnant, but it’s not what you think, it’s God!”

The gospel of Luke gives us more revelation information about how Mary was found with child of The Holy Ghost.

  • Lu 1:32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
  • Lu 1:34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

Mt 1:19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.

  • Put her away secretly- Adopting the most private form of legal divorce, and handing the letter to her privately in presence of only two witnesses, to whom he need not communicate his reasons (cf. Edersheim, ‘Life,’ 1:154).
  • The penalty for adultery under Old Testament law was death by stoning, and this penalty applied to infidelity during betrothal as well (Deut 22:23-24). The death penalty was rarely if ever executed for this offense.
  • It appears that Joseph was contemplating the custom of which Edersheim writes about. 

Mt 1:20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.

  • As Joseph is pondering what to do, an angel of The Lord tells Joseph that what Mary told him was true. He takes Mary as his lawfully wedded wife. The Incarnation, or Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ, was a miracle that was prophesied right after the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. In fact, God speaks these words of the virgin birth to the serpent!

Ge 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

  • Biologically, the seed belongs to the man, and Mary’s impregnation by the Holy Spirit is the only instance in human history that a woman had a seed within her that did not come from a man.

Mt 1:21 “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”

  • We can compare here Psalms 130:8, where it is said, ‘and He (YHWH) shall redeem Israel from all her iniquities’. So Jesus is to act on behalf of YHWH as a Savior.
  • Here at the very commencement of the Gospel then we have the declared purpose of His coming. It is for the salvation of people from their sins. He was manifested to take away our sins (1 John 3.5).
    • Please note that Jesus came to save His people from their sins. The “He” is here emphatic—His Name implies His mission, and that is that He came to save His people from their sins. Jesus not only came to save us from the debt of sin, but He came to deliver us from the dominion of sin.       
    • Thou shalt call His name Jesus– The name Jesus is Greek for the Hebrew name Joshua, which interpreted means, “God is Salvation.” It is a shortened form of, “Jehovah Shua” which means, “Jehovah is Salvation.” Thus Jesus Christ is the express image of:
      • Jehovah jireh- The Lord will provide.
      • Jehovah tsidekeneu- The Lord our rightousness.
      • Jehovah rophe- The Lord our healer.
      • Jehovah shalom- The Lord is our peace.
      • Jehovah shammah- The ever-present Lord
  • In the OT, who was Joshua? The successor of Moses, the lawgiver. God did not give the law to the nation of Israel through Moses to save them from their sin, but to reveal their sin nature and point them to their need for a sin substitute to atone for their sin. John 1.17 says, The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth comes by Jesus Christ.
  • The book of Hebrews clearly tells us that the entire OT system were types or Jesus Christ, the perfect high priest, the perfect sacrifice for sin, the perfect mediator between fallen man and God. The Holy Ghost tells us in Hebrews that the volume of the book (the entire OT) testifies of Jesus. That is what Jesus told the 2 disciples on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24. That is what Jesus said in John 5.39.

22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

  • In 200 BC, seventy Jewish scholars translated the Old Testament into Greek and used a Greek word parthenos in Isa 7.14 that could only mean virgin. It describes a woman who has never known a man intimately. It would not be a sign or any miracle if a young woman conceived and bore a son, but a virgin bearing a son is a miracle.
  • There is no human father recorded in any account of the conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary. However, Jesus had to have one human parent or He could not have been human, and thereby a partaker of our flesh. Likewise, He also had to have divine parentage or He could not become a sinless and perfect sacrifice on our behalf.
  • Thus, the virgin birth is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the flesh (1 Timothy 3.16). For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily (Col 2.9). And The Word (being God) was made flesh (became human) and dwelt among us (John 1.14).
    • As the NT life of Jesus develops, we see that during His ministry on earth, The Pharisees, not understanding the prophecies of the Virgin Birth, would accuse Jesus of being born of fornication.
    • Please note that the Name Jesus was given to convey the idea of Emmanuel, which means, God with us. Beloved, God is with you tonight. Another NT mystery is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col 1.27).
    • Oh the incredible humility of God our Savior, Son of God, Son of Man. 2 Sundays ago we saw how Jesus revealed Himself as The Good Shepherd during the Feast of Dedication (John 10.22 Hannukah). The most common Jewish custom on Chanukah is lighting a special nine-branch menorah called a Chanukah.  This special menorah differs from the seven-branch one that was in the Temple and is used only at Chanukah. Another key difference between the menorah and the Chanukah is that the eight candles on the Chanukah are kindled with special candle called a Shamash.  The Shamash is considered the ‘servant candle’ because it is used to light all the others.
      • Jesus Christ, Emmanuel is not only our Savior, but He is Son of Man and Servant of all.
        • Mr 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
        • John 1:4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. It is by grace, through faith in The Lord Jesus Christ, The Light of the world, that we receive the light of life.

        Mt 1:24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.

        • I realize that what these verses say might be considered offensive or even heretical to some of you here today, but what I am telling you is in the Bible.
        • These verses prove that Mary was not a perpetual virgin. The Greek word for know here speaks of sexual intimacy. Joseph did not know Mary physically until she gave birth to her firstborn Son, Jesus. In other words, Mary and Joseph did not officially consummate their marriage until after Jesus is born. The Roman Catholic doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary is not taught by the bible. Had there been any truth in the idea of her perpetual virginity, there can be no doubt that this would have been the point that would have been emphasized.
        • The clear implication of verse 18, before they came together, and verse 25 which tells us that Joseph did not know her till she brought forth her firstborn Son clearly teaches that Mary was a virgin only until the birth of her firstborn Son Jesus.
        • There is a list of Jesus siblings in Matt 13.55; Mark 6.3. It was prophesied that Mary would have other children in Psalms 69.8,9. I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s children. For the zeal of thine house hath eaten Me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon Me.
        • Though Mary was declared by the angel to be highly favored and blessed among women, because she was the chosen vessel of God who would bring forth the miraculous conception; yet, in all other points, Mary stood upon the same footing with every child of GOD in the Covenant. And that Mary herself considered it as such, and looked for salvation, as all others of the redeemed do, in and by CHRIST, is evident from the song she sung upon the occasion: Mary said, My soul doth magnify the LORD, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my SAVIOR.

        According to the totality of Scripture, it is beyond a shadow of a doubt that the divine purpose of the virgin birth of The Lord Jesus Christ was for the express purpose to make His soul an offering for sin?

        • Christ was born to die for sinners is the good news of Christmas. But is not good news for you personally until you turn from your sin and receive Him as Savior and Lord.
          • The Good News of Christmas is that Jesus Christ is Emmanuel Himself, God with us, our Savior and Lord.  The Christmas story is a message of redemption. Emmanuel shall save His people from their sin.
          • It is by coming to Christ that we are given complete atonement, a free pardon, which delivers us from condemnation and the wrath to come and by which we are reconciled to God.
          • The greatest gift that any human being can receive this side of heaven is the miracle of the new birth. You receive that miracle of salvation by grace through faith in coming to Christ as Emmanuel, Savior and Lord. You come to Christ with your heart, for with the heart man believes unto righteousness.