Miraculous Conception | Christmas Service

Check the Video of this sermon: Miraculous Conception

Matthew 1:18-25

The miraculous conception was a result of God taking the initiative to send his son Jesus into this world to save us from our sins; however, this also involved the obedience of Joseph and Mary.

Read this amazing story of how Jesus calms every storms of our life.

Well, this morning I want to have a closer look at this text and we will derive some application for our life based on the miraculous conception.

Background

Now, Matthew is writing his gospel with an apologetic aim. In Matthew 1, the author is giving defense for the slander that Jesus is an illegitimate son of Mary. Remember, the Pharisees asked the question in Matthew 22:42 What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?” Matthew answers the question: Whose son is Jesus. The author here is giving us an apologetic gospel to prove whose Son is Jesus.

Matthew 1:1-17 shows us that Jesus is the son of David.

Matthew 1:18-25 shows us that Jesus is the son of God.

Joseph’s obedience enabled Jesus to be adopted as the son of David. Mary’s role enabled Jesus to be bon as the Son of God. Both of those are essential to an understanding of the incarnation. Jesus is God in a human body. So Matthew splits his chapter into two parts, dealing with the human and then the divine.

Let us look at the Miraculous Conception of Jesus Christ.

1. MIRACULOUS CONCEPTION CONFIRMED

Matthew 1:18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.

Mary was pregnant by the Holy Spirit.

MARY

We have very little information about Mary in the scripture. Mary is Jesus’ mother. Mary had a sister, the wife of Cleophas, who also was named Mary. John 19:25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleopas…

Luke in his gospel states that Mary’s father’s as Heli. Mary had a cousin, Elizabeth. Luke 3:24, 1:36

Now we don’t know much about Mary other than that. Her early life was spent in Nazareth. Mary was no doubt a very righteous lady. If you want a good character study of Mary, you can see her in Luke 1 where you have a parallel account of the annunciation or the miraculous conception.

Luke 1:35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be calledthe Son of God.

We can find Mary’s character in her response to the angel.Luke 1:38 I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

a. Mary Submitted To God’s Word

Mary obeyed God’s word. The Miraculous Conception is a result of Mary obey God’s word.

Luke 1:45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!

b. Mary Was A Women Of Faith

Now listen, ladies, if an angel came and told you that, would you just say this? Most women would have said, “Joseph, I had this weird dream. I need to go see a counselor.” She believed. Great lady of faith.

c. Mary Knew The Scripture

See the Magnificat. In this you will see the OT scripture quoted. I have placed it after each verse. Luke 1:46-55 46And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord 47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is his name. 50His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. 51He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. 52He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. 53He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. 54He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful 55to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”

Mary was plugged into God’s word.

The word “Mary” in Greek is Miriam. Miriam means sea of bitterness or sea of sorrow, or some say rebellious. Poor lady, badly named. She wasn’t rebellious, she was obedient to God.

Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph.

Now what does this mean? The Old Testament and the rabbinical writings, distinguished two stages in a Hebrew marriage. First the engagement and then the wedding ceremony.

Deuteronomy 20:7 Has anyone become pledged to a woman and not married her? Two families would draw up a contract that promised marriage. If at any time during that contract of betrothal period you violated that marriage vow, you had to be divorced in an official sense. You were constituted legally married, though there were no physical relationships whatever. That is why Joseph decided to divorce Mary.

Any time after 6–12 months the wedding took place. This was a period in which their fidelity was proved. Their weddings lasted approximately seven days. If you are marrying your daughter, you would have friends and relatives over for seven days. You got to feed them, provide drink for them. That’s the marriage at Cana. Remember what happened? They ran out of wine.

So there was a price for the bride those days.

In India the boy’s family demands dowry, demanding dowry is wrong. In the biblical world, money was given to receive a girl in marriage.

Genesis 34:12 Make the price for the bride and the gift I am to bring as great as you like, and I’ll pay whatever you ask me. Only give me the young woman as my wife.

The price for the bride: Firstly, was to compensate the father because the father would have to spend a great amount of money in order to marry his daughter off. Secondly, it was also to act as life insurance for the wife. It also was kind of a divorce insurance. So it tended to keep the marriage together. Thirdly, once couldn’t run around and marry too many people.

So the betrothal period, then the wedding. Mary and Joseph were engaged but not married.

Matthew 1:18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.

Mary was a virgin. She was pure. This virgin is conceived in the Holy Spirit.

GOD LOOKS WITH GREAT CONCERN ON PURITY

Virginity is of high value to God. Virginity is a sacred thing. It not something to be trifled with. We are reminded of how beautiful, lovely, and sacred virginity is when I see in the case of Mary how honored she was because of it.

Luke speaks about the miraculous conception of Mary in his gospel. According to Luke, Mary knew that she became pregnant; however, Joseph didn’t know. When he found out, it was a shock.

He knew Deuteronomy chapter 22 well enough to know that back then when a woman became pregnant with a child outside of wedlock, the punishment was death.

Deuteronomy 22:13-15 13If a man takes a wife and, after sleeping with her, dislikes her 14and slanders her and gives her a bad name, saying, “I married this woman, but when I approached her, I did not find proof of her virginity,” 15then the young woman’s father and mother shall bring to the town elders at the gate proof that she was a virgin.

Deuteronomy 22:20-21 20If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the young woman’s virginity can be found, 21she 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 an outrageous thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father’s house. You must purge the evil from among you.

According to the law, death was the punishment.

The scripture protects Mary

Matthew 1:18-25 18This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yetdid not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20But 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. 21She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Luke 1:35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be calledthe Son of God.”

So Matthew records for us clearly that God entered the flesh by a virgin in which seed was planted by the Holy Spirit. The miraculous conception is the work of God. Holy Spirit Is A Creator God.

So we saw the Miraculous Conception.

2. MIRACULOUS CONCEPTION CONFRONTED

Joseph does not know what’s happening. His little world is just come to an end on hearing the news. He needs to confront this and solve this issue.

Matthew 1:19 Because Joseph her husband (notice he is called the husband) was faithful to the law, and yetdid not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

JOSEPH

Joseph is described by a Greek term that can be translated “carpenter” or “mason.”

a. Joseph Was A Hardworking Man

Joseph was undoubtedly a hardworking man. He worked and provided for his family.

Joseph had to deal this thing. He had to divorce her according to the law in Deuteronomy. By Jesus’ time there were two ways to divorce: Firstly, public divorce which would lead to stoning Mary to death as per the law. But by Jesus’ time the rabbis diluted the law and one could also give a private divorce without any document. Joseph chose the second one. Matthew 1:19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

b. Joseph Was Faithful to the Scripture

He was a true Old Testament saint. Joseph was faithful to the law or is a righteous man. The Bible puts him in equal status with Zachariah and Elisabeth or Simeon, of whom the scripture says he was righteous and devout.

c. Joseph Was Compassionate

Joseph did not want to charge Mary in a public court where she would be shamed and stoned to death. He wanted to put her away quietly. Next, the virgin birth clarified.

3. MIRACULOUS CONCEPTION CLARIFIED

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.

Some things to be noted here:

Firstly, we find an angelic communication here regarding the Miraculous Conception.

Joseph is told by the angel as the son of David.

See the real proof of the virgin birth. Take Mary as your wife, because what is conceived in her is through the Holy Spirit. This is the birth of God in human flesh.

Verse 21 gives him further instruction. 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 in Hebrew is Joshua or Yeshua or Jehoshua, which means “Jehovah shall save.”

Jesus will save his people from their sins.

Matthew is very clear that the deliverance Jesus will bring to his people will be deliverance from their sins. He is silent about their earthly troubles or deliverance from the Romans.

The Primary Reason Jesus Came Is To Save His People From Their Sins

Identity of the people

The identity of the people is not clear. But in the primary sense it is the Jews but Matthew as he writes his gospel develops the identity of the people: Matthew 21:43 Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.

Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations (Ethnic groups), baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Matthew develops the people from Chapter 1 and goes to all people by Chapter 28.

Beloved, that’s the reason he came, isn’t it? Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

Miraculous Conception | She will give birth to a son.

Remember it is not Joseph’s son. Mathew is very careful about never naming Joseph as the father of Jesus.

See in Matthew 2:13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt.” Always ‘the child and his mother,’ not, “Take your child and your wife”? Always Joseph is removed from the actual fatherhood.

Matthew 2:19-20 19After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”

So the miraculous conception confirmed. Miraculous conception Confronted. Miraculous conception clarified.

4. MIRACULOUS CONCEPTION CONNECTED

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

Miraculous conception connected. The virgin birth connected does not come as a last minute afterthought. The angel isn’t speaking anymore. Matthew comes in with a commentary from the OT in verses 22 and 23.

Here Matthew quotes Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give youa sign: The virginwill conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Setting of Isaiah 7

The setting of Isaiah’s prophecy is very simple. Around 735 BC, King Ahaz was terrified that his kingdom of Judah might be destroyed by Syria and Israel. Ahaz is afraid they’re going to come defeat Judah and wipe out the kingly line.

Immediate Fulfilment Of The Prophesy

In its original context, Isaiah 7:13-16 relates to the promise that Judah will be delivered from the threat of Syria and Israel. The immediate sign is that a young woman who was already pregnant  in Judah, will deliver a child and name him symbolically Immanuel, which means God with us. In Isaiah 8:8 the child Immanuel is already born or present. So this promise of Isaiah had an immediate fulfillment.

Future Fulfillment Of The Prophesy In Jesus

However, Matthew comes and says that it also had a long term fulfillment in the Messiah. It is as if God comes along and says, “Let me give you a promise. Nothing’s going to happen to the kingly line. Here’s a sign. A virgin shall be with child and that child will be Immanuel, God with us.” He says, “You look down the corridors of history and there will be a virgin born child and he will guarantee you that David’s line will never be broken.”

And Jesus came into the world as the fulfillment of that prophecy given by Isaiah to Ahaz, to show that God will keep his promise and the throne of David will never be broken forever. So the miraculous conception is connected.

By the way, they shall call his name Immanuel. El, the last two letters of that word, are the name for God, El. El Shaddai (God Almighty), El Elyon (God Most High). Immanu -El means “with us.” God with us.

Immanuel | God With Us

Matthew starts his gospel with the presentation that Jesus is God with us. Then Matthew quotes Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:20 For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them. Matthew ends his gospel in the same way in Matthew 28:20 I am with you always, to the very end of age.

God Is With Us Always.

No matter what phase of life you are going through right now, whether you are helpless like Mary or on the verge of some crucial decisions like Joseph, God is with you. He will help you.

Coming back, Matthew 1:24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.

Note: Joseph has broken the law here by accepting Mary. However, Joseph is declared righteous even though he broke the law to receive Mary as his wife because he acts in supreme love. Jesus was later questioned in Matthew 12 for healing on the sabbath.

Our faith demands that love is the greatest of all commandments.

Well, that was the best nap Joseph ever had. A wonderful dream and he took Mary as his wife, but not consummated the marriage until after Jesus was born. Matthew 1:25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

They had the wedding, but he never had a physical relationship with Mary until after that Jesus was born.

At the start of his life, the Jews said Jesus was the son of a man who seduced Mary. Matthew begins with the answer to the first slander and proves that Jesus is the Son of God.

Miraculous Conception: First Miracle in the New Testament

Remember the first miracle in the NT is not something that Jesus did. It describes the act of God. Jesus as a baby is passive and God is the actor. Even in the passion scene Jesus is passive and God is the player. God is always with us even when we are helpless.

Jesus is Immanuel. God with us, infinitely rich became poor, assumed our human nature, entered our sin-polluted atmosphere without ever being tainted by it, took our guilt, bore our griefs, carried our sorrows, was wounded with our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, went to heaven to prepare a place for us, sent his Spirit to dwell in our hearts, right now makes intercession for us, and will someday come to take us to be with him.

Some Learning From The Miraculous Conception

1. The Primary Reason Jesus Came Is To Save His People From Their Sins.

2. God Uses Righteous People. When God Does His Work, God Will Find Someone Like Mary And Joseph. Are you willing to be used by God.

3. Accept God’s Will Whatever It Might Be. It might be difficult, but accept it.

4. God Looks With Great Concern On Purity.

5. God Is Always With Us.

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