Journey Through Matthew: Jesus is Born
Good morning and welcome back!
If you would, start turning in your Bibles to .
In just a moment we will be reading from .
This morning we are going to start a new series that I’v called the Journey Through Matthew.
In this series we are not going to be going super deep into any one subject, but sort of skimming the surface of several of the major themes presented in the Gospel of Matthew concerning Jesus.
Matthew in itself is a very unique book in that it serves as a transition between the Old and New Testament.
It’s primary audience were the Jewish people and its purpose was to reveal Jesus Christ as the Messiah to the Jewish people using the historical facts and evidence that they had available.
All throughout Matthew, he is giving a history lesson about the life of Jesus but he also ties the lesson back to many of the different prophecies about the Messiah.
And where we are going this morning is just the first of many prophecies fulfilled concerning Jesus Christ.
One thing that I think we miss many times is just how important it is that Jesus fulfilled the prophecies about him.
We often hear “take it by faith” or “just believe,” which is very important, but if Jesus was not the fulfillment of the prophecies about the Messiah, then all we are believing is would be a lie.
And the thing about these prophecies was that they were written hundreds of years before Jesus was ever born.
For instance, Isaiah wrote the most about the Messiah and his writings were over 800 years before Christ.
But the fact is Jesus fulfilled every one of his prophecies.
In fact, Jesus fulfilled over 300 prophecies concerning the Messiah.
And mathematicians and statisticians have done a lot of research and the probability of Jesus fulfilling just 8 prophecies in his lifetime would have been 10 to the 17th power.
They didn’t go any further because the number was too big.
And I was trying to put that in perspective and watched a short little video that tried to explain it.
And in the video it said 10 to the 17th power would be like taking thin mint cookies and covering the entire state of Texas with them. Not only would the state be covered but covered two feet deep.
Now, to demonstrate the fulfillment of prophecy take one thin mint and make it vanilla instead of chocolate and bury it somewhere.
Then take someone and blindfold them and send them out walking the state of Texas and they can only stop one time and pick up one cookie while blindfolded.
The odds of them finding the cookie would be the same as Jesus fulfilling just one prophecy, but he did it over 300 times.
Proving that all the things about Jesus were not just coincidence ,but rather they were written about Him because he is the Messiah.
He is the Christ.
And we can put our faith and our hope in Him because of it.
And like I said in the beginning, Matthew is going to be our bridge from the past, into the present, and pointing toward the future.
So, if you have found in your Bible, I’d invite you to stand with me this morning, as the journey begins, Matthew writes . . .
18 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, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 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. 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. 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.” 22 All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.” 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
It Has To Start Somewhere
It Has To Start Somewhere
So, if we are going to engage in any study about Jesus and the life of Jesus, we have to start somewhere and there is no better place to start than with the birth of the Messiah.
Now, if you noticed we picked up in the last half of this first chapter, where Matthew begins to record the account of Mary’s pregnancy with Jesus.
However, if you look back the first part of the chapter, you will find there is a lot of genealogical information about Jesus’ family.
The chapter actually starts with . . .
1 A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:
And the next 16 verses outline that family tree all the way from Abraham through Joseph, naming every generation in between.
And that section ends with . . .
17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ.
If you are keeping track that is 42 generations between Abraham and Jesus.
And just so you know, that is a long time.
A very long time to be keeping up with who is who.
In fact, can anyone here trace their family back 42 generations?
Most of us can go three, maybe four, but that’s about it.
In fact, generations are so long a time period, as an example, if we go back 4-5 generations, the vast majority if not all in this room’s ancestors would not even be here in the United States.
Because at that point we are getting back to the 1600-1700s.
But people were talking about Jesus 42 generations before he was ever born.
People were talking about who he was and what he would be like 42 generations before his birth.
It is hard to wrap our head around that this morning.
But here we are in our study, roughly 51-52 generations AFTER Jesus looking into his life, showing how He IS the Messiah.
How He IS our hope and our salvation.
And it all starts with his birth, but even those events were not smooth sailing.
Again, Matthew writes this . . .
18 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, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 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.
Now, in order to fully understand the concept here we have to understand some things about Jewish customs and traditions.
You will notice that the Scripture tells us that Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, in the first part but in the last part it says he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
Now, things in the Jewish culture were not like we do today.
Today when people get married, they exchange their vows and start living together immediately. It is all a one and done deal at one time.
The Jews did things sort of in stages.
If a man and woman were to be married, usually an arranged marriage by the parents, then the first part would be the pledge where the man would pay the father of the bride a down-payment of sorts, usually in livestock for the right to marry his daughter.
Then they would enter into the marriage contract, where the two were legally married, but they did not live together for about a year.
During that year, the new husband would basically work on getting the home ready, which would usually include building a house of sorts that was typically attached to his father’s house.
Also, during that year there was to be no hanky-panky and it also gave time to make sure there wasn’t any hanky-panky with anyone else either, because brides were to be virgins.
If it was determined that she was not during this year period, then the man could divorce her and cancel the contract.
Then after a year, they would have a huge wedding feast, where the couple would exchange vows and then the marriage was consummated.
So, the whole thing was a very drawn out process and Mary and Joseph were in the very beginning of the process.
They were in the “contract phase” of the marriage and lo and behold Mary was found to be with child.
This is bad, very bad. There had been no hanky-panky with Joseph but Mary was now pregnant.
However, the Scripture tells us that she was with child, through the Holy Spirit.
In other words the Holy Spirit had created life in Mary outside of the natural and biological way.
You see the difference between us and God is even in laboratories and with all our medical advances we cannot circumvent the necessary biological components of life.
We cannot create life, we can only reproduce what God has already created.
In this instance and in many others, God created life.
HOWEVER, as miraculous as that was, how was she going to explain it?
Imagine a teenage girl coming home and saying, “I’m pregnant, but I promise I’ve not been with anyone.”
How do you think that is going to go over?
It is not going to go over well now, and it wouldn’t have then as well.
And it wasn’t settling well with Joseph either . . .
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.
So, Joseph was a good boy. The Bible says he was a righteous man.
And being righteous, he wanted to do the right thing by everybody.
He didn’t want to raise a big stink and did not want to expose her to public disgrace.
However, he couldn’t marry her now, after all she was pregnant and he knew the baby wasn’t his.
So, he decided that he was going to divorce her quietly.
The Bible doesn’t say how he planned to do it, only that he was going to keep things quiet.
So now we have a huge mess on our hands.
But what we see as a mess is really all part of God’s plan.
Because God is setting them up so that He can reveal the first of many prophecies about Jesus Christ to them.
The first person already knew that this was a miracle, because Mary knew she hadn’t been with anybody.
But now it is going to be Joseph’s turn, because it is really through Joseph that the truth spreads.
The Angel Saves the Day
The Angel Saves the Day
So, Joseph is ready for a quiet divorce . . .
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. 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.”
And I will tell you that if it were not for this angel, Joseph would have divorced Mary.
And if he would have divorced Mary, there would have been an unmarried, pregnant, teenage girl.
And as bad as the stigma that society puts on people today, it was 1000 times worse in their day.
No one would have listened to what she had to say, much less what Jesus would have had to say when he did grow up.
And the only way that Joseph was going to believe that Mary was not lying would be if God himself, told Joseph.
So, God sends the Angel of the Lord, to pay a visit to Joseph in a dream.
And the angel reveals to Joseph exactly what is going on . . .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.
No pressure here....Joseph is supposed to go home and raise God’s son, no big deal.
But the angel doesn’t stop there, he also gives Joseph some other instructions . . .
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.”
So, things just got real.
And I can imagine that Joseph was like many of us, his first question was why? Why me? Why now?
Why can’t you use somebody else God?
Why do you have to mess with my plans?
And the reason was, it was the right time, right place, right family.
It had to be in order to fulfill the first prophecy about Jesus.
So, the angel explains to Joseph . . .
22 All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”
Which is directly from . . .
14 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.
This is the reason why.
And I know that much of this morning’s sermon has been more about history, but this is what I want to get across.
God uses specific people at specific times in specific places for a specific reason.
Even if we have no clue or idea as to why, God has known from the creation of the world who we are and what our purpose was.
God has fashioned a plan for all of our lives, carefully crafted and carefully molded.
However, we have to be willing to accept that calling and accept that plan.
We have to be willing to accept what God has for us.
We each have the freedom to choose to walk in God’s plan or reject it.
Joseph could have walked away and said, “no thank you.”
The angel was not going to stop him. . . . he had that choice.
But, remember Joseph was a righteous man, so he chose differently . . .
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
So, Joseph accepted the calling, the challenge that God had placed in his life.
The question this morning though is will you?
Do you have a sense of God calling you this morning?
Maybe God is calling you to enter into a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ, will you?
Maybe God is calling you to a deeper walk by submitting fully to Him, will you?
Maybe God is calling you to a specific area of ministry, will you accept?
There are so many different things that God is calling each of us to, all designed to draw us closer to Him and to help others find Him.
The question is, will we accept the calling or not?
We are going to sing and you have that chance right now.
Will you accept or reject God this morning? You decide.