Matthew 1:18-25

Sunday Morning Bible Study

December 24, 2000


Don’t say you never learned anything practical at church.  Some of you STILL have some shopping to do.  For you gals looking for that perfect gift for your man, I have some suggestions:

A Woman’s Guide to Men’s Gifts

Rule #1:  When in doubt - buy him a cordless drill. It does not matter if he already has one. I have a friend who owns 17 and he has yet to  complain. As a man, you can never have too many cordless drills. No one knows why.

Rule #2:  If you cannot afford a cordless drill, buy him anything with the word  ratchet or socket in it. Men love saying those two words. “Hey George, can I borrow your ratchet?” “OK. “By-the-way, are you through with my 3/8-inch socket yet?” Again, no one knows why.

Rule #3:  If you are really, really broke, buy him anything for his car. A  99-cent ice scraper, or something to hang from his rear view mirror. Men love gifts for their cars. No one knows why.

Rule #4:  Do not buy men socks. Do not buy men ties. And never buy men  bathrobes. I was told that if God had wanted men to wear bathrobes, he wouldn’t have invented Jockey shorts.

Rule #5:  You can buy men new remote controls to replace the ones they have worn  out. If you have a lot of money buy your man a big-screen TV with the little picture in the corner. Watch him go wild as he flips, and  flips, and flips.

Rule #6:  Buy men label makers. Almost as good as cordless drills.  Within a couple of weeks there will be labels absolutely everywhere.  Socks. Shorts. Cups. Saucers. Door. Lock. Sink. You get the idea.  No one knows why.

Rule #7:  Men love chainsaws. Never, ever, buy a man you love a chainsaw. If  you don’t know why - please refer to Rule #6 and what happens when he gets a label maker.

For some of us, we will soon be facing that moment when we receive Christmas presents and need to respond with the proper appreciation.  It’s hardest when the gift is something you really didn’t want.  Take notes.


10. Hey! There’s a gift!

9. Well, well, well ...

8. Boy, if I had not recently shot up 4 sizes that would’ve fit.

7. This is perfect for wearing around the basement.

6. Gosh. I hope this never catches fire! It is fire season though. There are lots of unexplained fires.

5. If the dog buries it, I’ll be furious!

4. I love it—but I fear the jealousy it will inspire.

3. Sadly, tomorrow I enter the Federal Witness Protection Program.

2. To think—I got this the year I vowed to give all my gifts to charity.

1. “I really don’t deserve this.”

Matthew 1:18-25

:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

birthgennesis – begat, engendering; nativity, birth

espousedmnesteuo – to woo her and ask her in marriage; to be promised in marriage, be betrothed; from mnaomai – to remind; probably the idea of “remember we’re going to be married one day”.

We have a tradition of a couple being engaged, and then married.  The Jews in Jesus’ day had a tradition of three stages:  Engagement, espousal, and marriage.  Children as young as three or four years old might be promised to each other in engagement by their parents.  About a year before the wedding, a couple would enter the second phase, espousal.  This was as good as being married, but without having the physical relationship.  If you wanted to break up from an espousal, you had to actually get a divorce.  The espousal was then followed by marriage, when the couple’s physical relationship would be complete.

MaryMaria – Mary or Miriam = “their rebellion”

JosephIoseph – “let him add”

came togethersunerchomai – to come together; to assemble; of conjugal cohabitation

with childgaster – the belly; the womb; the stomach

Literally, “she was found in the womb to have out of the Holy Spirit”.  This is a Greek way of saying that she was found to be pregnant by the Holy Spirit.


The Virgin Birth

Some people have a problem with this.  But I think the real problem is that their concept of God is simply too small.  If God can create the heavens and the earth by speaking them into existence, couldn’t a virgin become pregnant?
The very first prophecy concerning the coming Savior hints at this when God warns the serpent in the garden:
(Gen 3:15 KJV)  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.

The one who would bruise Satan’s head was Jesus.  And He would be of the seed of the woman.  It doesn’t say that He would be of the seed of the man, just the woman.

Jesus was fully God.  He existed before He was born in Bethlehem.  Yet somehow, through the work of the Holy Spirit, Jesus put on human flesh inside the womb of this young girl.


Jesus is reachable

Jesus was fully God, the Son of God, yet He was also fully human, the Son of Mary.
(Heb 2:14-18 NLT)  Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death. {15} Only in this way could he deliver those who have lived all their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. {16} We all know that Jesus came to help the descendants of Abraham, not to help the angels. {17} Therefore, it was necessary for Jesus to be in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. He then could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. {18} Since he himself has gone through suffering and temptation, he is able to help us when we are being tempted.

Jesus knows what you’re going through.  He understands.  He as God is strong enough to be able to help us, but He as man is close enough that we can grab hold of Him.

Now the man to whom I’m going to introduce you was not a scrooge, he was a  kind, decent, mostly good man. Generous to his family, upright in his  dealings with other men. But he just didn’t believe all that incarnation  stuff which the churches proclaim at Christmas Time. It just didn’t make  sense and he was too honest to pretend otherwise. He just couldn’t swallow  the Jesus Story, about God coming to Earth as a man.
“I’m truly sorry to distress you,” he told his wife, “but I’m not going  with you to church this Christmas Eve.” He said he’d feel like a hypocrite.  That he’d much rather just stay at home, but that he would wait up for  them. And so he stayed and they went to the midnight service.
Shortly after the family drove away in the car, snow began to fall. He went  to the window to watch the flurries getting heavier and heavier and then  went back to his fireside chair and began to read his newspaper. Minutes  later he was startled by a thudding sound. Then another, and then another.  Sort of a thump or a thud. At first he thought someone must be throwing  snowballs against his living room window.
But when he went to the front door to investigate he found a flock of birds  huddled miserably in the snow. They’d been caught in the storm and, in a  desperate search for shelter, had tried to fly through his large landscape  window. Well, he couldn’t let the poor creatures lie there and freeze, so  he remembered the barn where his children stabled their pony. That would  provide a warm shelter, if he could direct the birds to it.
Quickly he put on a coat, galoshes, tramped through the deepening snow to  the barn. He opened the doors wide and turned on a light, but the birds did  not come in. He figured food would entice them in. So he hurried back to  the house, fetched bread crumbs, sprinkled them on the snow, making a trail  to the yellow-lighted wide open doorway of the stable. But to his dismay,  the birds ignored the bread crumbs, and continued to flap around helplessly  in the snow.
He tried catching them. He tried shooing them into the barn by walking  around them waving his arms. Instead, they scattered in every direction,  except into the warm, lighted barn. And then, he realized, that they were  afraid of him. To them, he reasoned, I am a strange and terrifying creature. If only I could think of some way to let them know that they can trust me. That I am not trying to hurt them, but to help them. But how?  Because any move he made tended to frighten them, confuse them. They just  would not follow. They would not be led or shooed because they feared him.
“If only I could be a bird,” he thought to himself, “and mingle with them  and speak their language. Then I could tell them not to be afraid. Then I  could show them the way to safe, warm ... ... ... to the safe warm barn. But I would have to be one of them so they  could see, and hear and understand.”
At that moment the church bells began to ring. The sound reached his ears  above the sounds of the wind. And he stood there listening to the bells -  “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” - listening to the bells pealing the glad tidings of  Christmas. And he sank to his knees in the snow.

:19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.

justdikaios – righteous, doing things that please God, obeying the commands of God.

willingthelo – to will, have in mind, intend; to be resolved or determined, to purpose; to desire, to wish

make her a public exampleparadeigmatizo – to set forth as a public example, make an example of; in a bad sense; to hold up to infamy; to expose to public disgrace

The Law was clear, Joseph could have taken Mary to court and had her executed for being unfaithful.

(Deu 22:23-24 KJV)  If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; {24} Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour’s wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.

was mindedboulomai – to will deliberately, have a purpose, be minded; of willing as an affection, to desire

privilylathra – secretly ; from lanthano – to be hidden, to be hidden from one, secretly, unawares, without knowing

to put … awayapoluo – to set free; to let go, dismiss; used of divorce

Frankly, Joseph didn’t believe her.  He, being “just”, had stayed pure himself.  But what’s a guy to say when his girlfriend tells him she’s pregnant, and then blames it on God?  He didn’t believe her.  He was going to “put her away”.

But he was going to do it secretly.  This tells me that Joseph loved Mary.

He would not be allowed to marry this woman who seems to have been unfaithful to him, yet he wouldn’t expose her to public humiliation either.


Love protects

(1 Pet 4:8 NIV)  Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
Paul wrote that love “beareth all things” (1Cor. 13:7), and the idea there is also that of “covering”.  It’s the idea of protecting.
When you love someone properly, you are kind enough to not be exposing all their faults and weaknesses before the whole world.
This is an area that is awfully important to newlyweds, that as they start to encounter their first big fights, they need to be careful not to run home to mommy and daddy and cry about what a bad wife or husband they’ve married.  What ends up happening is that you will get your argument resolved eventually and go home, but mommy and daddy think you’ve married a jerk.
I’m not saying that you need to ignore problems when you’ve got them.  But you don’t need to be involving too many of the wrong people in the solution.  You’ll only make matters worse.
I remember a situation years ago where one spouse would run to church and ask everyone they met for prayer for their backslidden wife.  When the wife found out, she stopped coming to church because everyone knew she was a “horrible person”.

:20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

he thought onenthumeomai – to bring to mind, revolve in mind, ponder; to think, to deliberate; from thumos – passion, angry, heat, anger forthwith boiling up and soon subsiding again; glow, ardour, the wine of passion, inflaming wine (which either drives the drinker mad or kills him with its strength).  Apparently this was quite an emotional thing for Joseph.  He was definitely all stirred up in finding out that his fiancé was pregnant, and he wasn’t the father.

the angel of the Lord – better, “an angel of the Lord”

a dreamonar – a dream

appearedphaino – to bring forth into the light, cause to shine, shed light; shine; to shine, be bright or resplendent; to become evident, to be brought forth into the light, come to view, appear; to appear, be seen

It’s not unusual for angelic beings to have a shining glow about them.  That seems to be the case in Joseph’s dream.

fearphobeo – to put to flight by terrifying (to scare away); to fear, be afraid; to be struck with fear, to be seized with alarm

to take untoparalambano – to take to, to take with one’s self, to join to one’s self

wifegune – a woman of any age, whether a virgin, or married, or a widow; a wife; of a betrothed woman

conceivedgennao – of men who fathered children; to be born; to be begotten; of women giving birth to children


Can God speak to you?

Is God able to get your attention?  Do you want to hear from Him?  Have you given Him your unlisted phone number?  God spoke to Joseph in a dream through an angel. 
God can speak to you through His Word.  Or can He?  Are you open to Him speaking?

:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

bring forthtikto – to bring forth, bear, produce (fruit from the seed); of a woman giving birth; of the earth bringing forth its fruits

JesusIesous = “Yahweh is salvation”.  This is the Greek form of the Hebrew name “Joshua” (or, “Yah-shoo-ah”).  In the Greek it’s “Iesous” (“Yay-soos”), in English we change it to “Jesus”.

he shall savesozo – to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction

sinshamartia – to be without a share in; to miss the mark; to err, be mistaken; to miss or wander from the path of uprightness and honour, to do or go wrong; to wander from the law of God, violate God’s law, sin


The gospel

His name means “Yahweh is salvation” because He would save us from our sins.
This was the message, even before the Baby was born.
How would He save us from our sins?
First  - you need to understand why we need to be saved from our sins.

Our sins separate us from God.

(Isa 59:1-2 NLT)  Listen! The LORD is not too weak to save you, and he is not becoming deaf. He can hear you when you call. {2} But there is a problem—your sins have cut you off from God. Because of your sin, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.

Our sin cuts off the lines of communication between God and us.

Our sins will bring judgment

(Rom 6:23 KJV)  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Sin comes with a price tag, the price being eternal separation from God.  When the day comes that you have to stand before God to show Him what you’ve done with the life He’s given you, He will be required to send you to hell in order to pay for your sins.  Sound too tough?  That’s only because we don’t have a clue just how bad our sin is.

Second – you need to understand that there is a way out of paying the price.

God has allowed in His Law that someone else could pay the price for your sin in your place.  This is called sacrifice.  As long as the person paying doesn’t have to pay for their own sins, they could take your place and spend eternity in hell for you.

So who could pay for you?  Who wouldn’t have to pay for their own sins?  Who would be willing to spend eternity separated from God for you?

Only Jesus.

He had an immortal, eternal life to lay down, so when He died for us on the cross, He could pay for the sins of the whole world for all eternity with one single death.

Third – you need to realize that God now offers you forgiveness.

He offers you the free gift of forgiveness, but you need to receive that gift for it to be of any benefit to you.

This little Baby lying in a manger came for one purpose.  He came to die on a cross.  He came to die for us.

:22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,

fulfilledpleroo – to make full, to fill up, i.e. to fill to the full; of sayings, promises, prophecies, to bring to pass, ratify, accomplish

spoken ofrheo – to pour forth, to utter

:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

a virginparthenos – a virgin; a marriageable maiden; a woman who has never had sexual intercourse with a man; one’s marriageable daughter

with childgaster – the belly; the womb; the stomach

bring forthtikto – to bring forth, bear, produce (fruit from the seed); of a woman giving birth

EmmanuelEmmanouel – “God with us” (a Hebrew word)

being interpretedmethermeneuo – to translate into the language of one with whom I wish to communicate, to interpret

Matthew is saying that the birth of Jesus fulfilled one of Isaiah’s prophecies, Is. 7:14.


Jesus wasn’t an accident.

I think that some people have this idea that perhaps Jesus came along and got to know some of the Old Testament prophecies and decided He might make a good Messiah.
But how can you choose to be born in Bethlehem?  How can you choose to have your mother be a virgin when you are conceived?
Before you reject Jesus as just another “religious” guy, pay attention to the fact that His coming was predicted with over 300 different prophecies in the Old Testament.
Sure, some of the prophecies could be fulfilled by somebody who tried real hard, like staying silent before your accusers, but how do you get a friend to betray you?  How do you become killed with criminals, yet buried with the wealthy?  How do you arrange to have yourself crucified?  How do you manage to come back from the dead?

(Isa 7:14 KJV)  Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

:24-25 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him …, and took unto him his wife:

raised fromdiegeiro – to wake up, awaken, arouse (from sleep)

sleephupnos – sleep

didpoieo – to make; to do; to act rightly, do well; to carry out, to execute

had biddenprostasso – to assign or ascribe to, join to; to enjoin, order, prescribe, command; to appoint, to define

took untoparalambano – to take to, to take with one’s self, to join to one’s self

:25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

knewginosko – to learn to know; Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman

tillheos – till, until

brought forthtikto – to bring forth, bear, produce (fruit from the seed); of a woman giving birth

firstbornprototokos – the firstborn

The Catholic Church teaches that Mary stayed a virgin for the rest of her life.  The Bible teaches that Joseph and Mary had a normal marriage after Jesus was born.


Trust and obey

When you think about it, Joseph was in the middle of a pretty confusing situation.  He was about to get married to a gal who was pregnant, and he knew that HE wasn’t the father.  And now, to make things more confusing, he’s starting to have these dreams.  What was Joseph to do?
He trusted that God knew what He was doing.  He obeyed God.
Grandma and the Cake
A little boy is telling his Grandma how “everything” is going wrong. School, family problems, severe health problems, etc.. Meanwhile, Grandma is baking a cake. She asks her grandson if he would like a snack, which of course he does. “Here, have some cooking oil.” “Yuck” says the boy. “How about a couple raw eggs? “ “Gross, Grandma!” “Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking soda?” “Grandma, those are all yucky!” To which Grandma replies: “Yes, all those things seem bad all by themselves. But when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake! God works the same way. Many times we wonder why he would let us go through such bad and difficult times. But God knows that when He puts these things all in His order, they always work for good! We just have to trust Him and, eventually, they will all make something wonderful!”
You may be wondering about where your life’s circumstances are heading right now.  Things may not be looking too appealing right now.  But could it be that God is cooking up something wonderful?  In Joseph’s life, it was God’s Savior who was “cooking”.  Trust.  Obey.