Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.This time of year has been almost totally corrupted, by both the world and the church. We celebrate the birth of Christ, but in reality we are celebrating the fact that God became a man through the Virgin Mary. Notice what Paul told Timothy:
1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.Yes, we "celebrate" the birth of Christ at this time of year. But more importantly and a fact we must not overlook, we actually celebrate the fact that God the creator of heaven and earth became a man so he could redeem his people, so he could pay the price for their sins.
Let us look for a few moments at Matthew's account.
V. 18, espoused, or pledged. Under Jewish law, betrothal was a legal contract that could only be broken by a bill of divorcement. During this time, the couple was referred to as man and wife. During this time, the girl remained in her parents' home until the actual marriage ceremony, only after which sexual relations could start. Mary was found to be pregnant before the marriage ceremony.
With child of the Holy Ghost. If God can make man out of mud, he can surely make a child of a virgin.
V. 19, Joseph was a righteous man. No doubt, he thought his wife to had been unfaithful to him. So he was not going to marry her. He was going to arrange a quiet divorce, though under the law, he could have taken her to the priest and made her a public example.
Joseph's godly character is shown by preferring mercy over his rights. He was more concerned with Mary's welfare than he was about his rights.
Vv. 20-25. While Joseph thought on these things, the angel of the Lord appeared, and explained what was going on. The angel also told Joseph what the son's name must be.
Thought on these things is an extremely good idea for all of us; before we make decisions, even when our own rights are concerned, we must think on these things. We must consider what course of action will honour Christ more, our rights or mercy in the situations.
The unborn child's name was to be called JESUS, or Jehovah saves. The Old Testament Jehovah God was going to visit his people. The angel promised Jesus, someone to save his people from their sins. The reason for Jehovah God's visit is to deliver his people from sin's pollution, power, guilt, condemnation and punishment.
The Old Testament promised a Messiah-King, and he was fully expected in Christ's day. The nation looked for a Messiah-King who would be born of the line of David. They expected him to reestablish the glorious and prosperous kingdom of Israel as it had been under King David and his son Solomon. They looked for a Saviour to save them from the physical bondage to pagan nations.
Many people still today are looking for a savour to save them from the trials and difficulties of life. They want someone to rescue them from the mess they have made of their lives; they want someone to take them to heaven on "flowery beds of ease." And there are many religious leaders today who try to assure people that Christ will do just that.
However, God's grace given through the new birth is grace to see us through whatever life might hold for us, e.g., Job.
V. 23. The glorious prophecy was given in Isaiah (7:14). Isaiah said that God would visit his people in the form of a natural born man, and that man's name would be Immanuel, meaning, God with us. Isa 9:6
The Creator of heaven and earth revealed himself to his creation in the form of a man, and his name is Jesus, or Emmanuel. God's visit to man had to be through the natural birth process, for he needed a human body.
Why did the Old Testament Jehovah God need a human body without a human father --- Virgin Born? There are a great many reasons that Jehovah God needed a Virgin Born human body, but time restricts us to only a few.
First, to be totally without sin.
The body of God with us had to be totally without sin, including without the sin nature. Therefore, Jehovah God could not be born through natural means --- that is, with a human father. Romans 5:12. For then he would inherit the natural sin nature and death from Adam that passed upon all men. He could not have the sin nature common with every child of Adam.
(Adam's sin nature is passed from father to children.)
Second, to destroy the works and power of the devil. (1 John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.)
The enemy of our souls, the devil, had to be met and conquered on his own ground, if his works were going to be destroyed.
We see from Matthew 4 (The Temptation), that God needed a human body to prove to the Devil that a man empowered by God's Spirit can stand against his best efforts.
In Hebrews 2:14, God had to have a human body to rise from the dead so he could destroy the one who had the power of death.
Third, so he could be a faithful high priest.
God had to have a human body that was made like his people are made so he could experience everything his people experience.
Hebrews 2:16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. 17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.He could not be a proper mediator between God and man without experiencing everything his people go through. He had to have a human body to experience what we experience:
Exhaustion - Hunger - Loneliness - Poverty - Homelessness - Family responsibilities and difficulties (his own half brothers mocked him) - Friends turning against him - The loss of loved ones in death -
Fourth, to reveal God the Father to man in a way that man could see and understand.
John 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.Fifth, to show us how to live. The life that pleases God is clearly shown to us by God in human form:
1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.Certainly, we do not have recorded all of Christ's actions here on earth, but we have far more than we can follow.
Sixth, to be made under and subject to the law.
Galatians 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.He had to be subject to the same laws as are his creatures. He had to keep those laws perfectly, yet die as a sinner. Only through this means could his death be applied to us, those who justly deserve to die as sinners.
Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.Seventh, God had to have a body with blood to offer as the sacrifice for the sins of his people. Hebrews 10:1-6.
Hebrews 9:22 - 10:18 Note 9:22, shed blood was required under the law for remission (forgiveness, deliverance, pardon, release from penalty) to be granted to the sinner. Remission also refers to release from bondage or imprisonment. 10:18, through his physical body, God fulfilled the requirements for remission of sins.
Eighth, he had to have a body with blood in it. Hebrews 10:19, 20. It is through his shed blood that we not only find remission, but through that blood fellowship is restored with the Father. Adam lost that fellowship through disobedience; Christ restores that fellowship through his obedience.
GREAT IS THE MYSTERY OF GODLINESS: GOD WAS MANIFEST IN THE FLESH... It is a mystery that none of us will ever understand. And it is a mystery that each one of us should be overwhelmed with.
It is a mystery that only the Spirit of God can apply to our hearts. Is it applied to yours?