Joseph was given a difficult pill to swallow. His fiancé was pregnant. In those days this was incredibly embarrassing socially as well as repugnant personally to believe that the woman he loved had slept with another man. But the Lord spoke to Him in a dream and told him that he should put all these things aside and trust that God himself had impregnated her. Mary certainly didn’t have it easy because everyone in town would have assumed she slept around which would have been humiliating, but to me it seems Joseph had to live and choose even more by faith.
I’m sure that the angel of the Lord was quite powerful in this dream. However, Joseph had to have an amazing faith and obedience to God’s will in his life in order to swallow his pride and go forward with this marriage. But because he was willing to go against what his flesh desired, humble his pride, and obey what God had planned for him, he was given the incredible blessing of raising the Son of God. He could not have dreamed of a more blessed life than what He was given. We are told Joseph was righteous, and so we know that he sought the will of God and then he followed it. And in this, he found the richest of blessings.
In later chapters and books, scripture will reveal how to follow the will of God, but I love how it starts off with two people who are young, scared nobodies just trying to live a good life. God gives them the impossible task of raising the Son of God. But of course, He didn’t really expect them to know how to do the things He gave them to do. He was with them the whole time and took care of anything they couldn’t handle. It is the same with us, when we follow God, He will lead us to a life of rich blessing which is far beyond our means. All He asks is that we love Him and do our best to follow, knowing all the while that we will screw up again and again. Even so, He will take our efforts and transform us and the world around us if we are willing.
In verse 22, Matthew refers to the birth of Jesus fulfilling Jewish scripture. He quotes Isaiah 7:14, who wrote 700 years before Jesus that, “..the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and give birth to a son..” Immanuel means “God with us”. It had been thousands of years since Adam and Eve had truly known God, and here he declared that He would come and live among us so that we could truly know Him.
There were hundreds of scriptures like this fulfilled and Matthew more than any gospel writer sought to draw these connections. He wrote this gospel to the Jews and took great pains to show again and again through this work that the life of Jesus had been foretold in great detail. Each gospel had a different audience and this one spoke to those who best knew what God had previously said about the coming Messiah. It was also foretold that most of the Jews would not accept Him until the end, but the early church was made up entirely of Jews who pleaded with the brothers and sisters they loved so dearly to hear the Truth. And so Matthew continued to show what God had spoken, pleading that they look into these things deeply to find the Truth.
This also reveals to us that there is much spiritual Truth in life that is hidden from our natural senses. These things can be sought out and known as Jesus taught and the Holy Spirit assists.
What do you see in this text that I am missing?