Lesson Text—Matthew 1:18-20 Matthew 1:18-20 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.
Lesson Text—Matthew 1:18-20 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
Lesson Text—Matthew 1:18-20 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.
Lesson Text—Matthew 1:21-24 Matthew 1:21-24 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. 22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
Lesson Text—Matthew 1:21-24 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. 24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
Lesson Text—Matthew 1:25 Matthew 1:25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
Focus Verse—Matthew 18:11 Matthew 18:11For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.
Focus Thought God entered this world as a baby, God manifested in the flesh of Jesus Christ, for the express purpose of redeeming mankind.
Culture Connection From Broken Promises and Disappointments to Salvation—through a Child I. Birth of Jesus Announced to Joseph In the December 28, 2010, article titled “Saved by a Child,” the unnamed administrator of the New Life Triangle website wrote, “We have all been at the other end of broken promises and know well the great disappointment that ensues. When someone we trust breaks their promises, our heart can hurt for a long time.
Perhaps that is how the people of Israel felt for as they were waiting for God to make them into a great nation through a messiah, all they experienced was one disappointment after another. They continued to be devoured by empires that were beyond their league. They were never an empire let alone a strong and independent nation. . . . I. Birth of Jesus Announced to Joseph
“And in that unmet expectation and disappointments, God comes to save His people in the form of an infant and in it already foreshadowing the way in which God will save His people. In Jesus God saves His people not through power but weakness, not through conquest but abdication, not through divine immortality but human mortality. I. Birth of Jesus Announced to Joseph
I. Birth of Jesus Announced to Joseph It is by the most fundamental fact of human life, birth and death and fragility, that God saves us. . . . We are saved from selfishness, self-importance, and self-preservation by the giving, helpless and absolutely fragile God-infant” (www.brokenlimit.com/newlifetriangle, accessed April 6, 2011).
I. Birth of Jesus Announced to Joseph In spite of the most ardent hurts and disappointments in life, we still can experience the salvation of Jesus Christ—saved through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of the Savior. Truly, we are saved by a child.
Contemplating the Topic I. Birth of Jesus Announced to Joseph The faith of every believer is crucial to his spiritual well-being. Faith that is fragile or weakened loses its ability to sustain in the challenging calamities of life that come to every believer. Usually, the challenges to one’s faith actually strengthen it. As we will discover in this lesson, educators, scientists, entertainers, politicians, and even religious leaders often scoff at the idea God would use a child to save the world.
Their voices virtually question the very truth of the Incarnation. If left unchecked, human wisdom would almost silence the voice of God. Among the prominent dissenting voices are many talk-show hosts. They often speak in unbelief of the idea of the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, and they lead others to question the validity of biblical truths. I. Birth of Jesus Announced to Joseph
The “hath God said” syndrome from the third chapter of Genesis has been around for a long time; what worked on Eve in the Garden of Eden continues even to this day. If the enemy can create doubt about the Word of God, then he has won a major part of the battle. No matter how strong dissenting voices seem to be, their attacks should not diminish our faith in God’s plan to work through a Child to save mankind from sin. I. Birth of Jesus Announced to Joseph
Jude, the Lord’s half-brother, exhorted us to earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints (Jude 3). God had a perfect plan clearly articulated through prophecy. From the birth of Jesus Christ to His sacrificial death on the cross to His resurrection from death—the Incarnation has been the vehicle through which God has saved the world by a Child. I. Birth of Jesus Announced to Joseph
Searching The Scriptures Birth of Jesus Announced to Joseph I. Birth of Jesus Announced to Joseph Appearing to him in a dream, an angel announced the birth of Jesus to Joseph. Whatever his initial reaction was, it quickly became clear that Joseph believed this message and supported Mary in her destined role. He refused to humiliate her publicly and determined he would simply put her away privately. (See Matthew 1:19.)
But the angel let Joseph know this event was divinely inspired and that Mary had conceived by the Holy Ghost. Upon learning this, Joseph humbly accepted his role in the matter. When we come to the service of the Lord, it frequently means we have to relinquish our own ambitions and desires to accomplish the greater purpose of furthering the kingdom of God. Joseph filled his role exactly as it was given to him. I. Birth of Jesus Announced to Joseph
The carnal mind resists such humble submission. However, Joseph humbly accepted his role and served in a capacity of righteousness and faithfulness that few would have been willing to accept. I. Birth of Jesus Announced to Joseph
Mary Conceived by the Holy Ghost A. Mary Conceived by the Holy Ghost The virgin birth is a biblical doctrine one should believe and embrace. Scripture is absolute, inerrant, infallible, and inspired. (See Psalm 12:6; 119:40; John 10:35; 17:17; II Timothy 3:16-17.) We can believe with complete confidence that it is more than just another ancient collection of writings.
When the Word declares the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, we can believe it. The virgin birth fulfills the first messianic prophecy (Genesis 3:15) by allowing the seed of the woman to participate in destroying the devil. The virgin birth also created a unique entity in that Jesus Christ was both fully human and fully divine. Two human parents could never have created a savior for mankind. Only the work of the Holy Ghost overshadowing Mary could accomplish this. I. Birth of Jesus Announced to Joseph
I. Birth of Jesus Announced to Joseph The virgin birth was necessary for there to be a faultless and perfect sacrifice free from the stain of sin. Jesus was sinless because He did not descend through Adam; He literally became the second Adam to save mankind from sin. (See Romans 5:14; I Corinthians 15:22; 15:45.) Fully supported by all of Scripture, our confidence and faith in the virgin birth is foundational to our spiritual life in Jesus Christ.
The person who attempts to discount one great doctrine of the Bible will ultimately come to a place that all of Scripture will unravel for that individual because of his unbelief. Eve fell when she questioned the authority and accuracy of God’s word by allowing the serpent to influence her to question God: “Hath God said?” (Genesis 3:1). Individuals should be careful in this postmodern world that they not reject God’s Word, including the doctrine of the virgin birth. I. Birth of Jesus Announced to Joseph
The Child’s Name Revealed B. The Child’s Name Revealed The Scriptures declare that the child was to be named Jesus because He would save His people from their sins. The name of Jesus is the most powerful name ever introduced to mankind. It is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Jeshua or Joshua, which means “Jehovah is salvation.” The name delineates a clear connection between Jehovah of the Old Testament and Jesus of the New Testament.
God had promised a messiah all through the years of Israel’s history, and through Jesus Christ, God fulfilled His promise. There are many other biblical titles that correspond to the nature and identity of Jesus Christ. He is the first and the last, the beginning and the ending, the Alpha and the Omega, the Ancient of Days. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords—the Anointed One, the Messiah. He is our Prophet, Priest, and King. I. Birth of Jesus Announced to Joseph
He is our Savior and the Only Wise God. He is “Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). He is the Lord, the Almighty, the Door of the sheep, the Good Shepherd, the Great Shepherd, the Chief Shepherd, and the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls. He is the Eternal One, the One who is, and was, and is to come. He is Jesus! I. Birth of Jesus Announced to Joseph
I. Birth of Jesus Announced to Joseph To incorporate these references into one’s personal devotion time is a faith-building practice. These descriptive titles identify divine characteristics of Jesus that open our understanding to the divine authority and power of God.
The Son’s Predicted Redemption of the People C. The Son’s Predicted Redemption of the People The prophetic announcement to Joseph also included the fact that Jesus would redeem mankind from sin. Redemption comes through the offering of a blood sacrifice for the removal of sin. The concept of redemption of any sort usually involved a price to be paid, and the price for the redemption of mankind involved the work of the Cross.
The writer of the Book of Hebrews made it clear that the blood of bulls and goats cannot satisfy the penalty of mankind’s sin. (See Hebrews 2:17; 9:23-26; 10:4.) The practice of blood sacrifices under the Old Testament system only forestalled judgment, awaiting a sacrifice that could indeed purge our sins. Only a suffering savior could provide the path for redemption (Hebrews 5:8; 12:3-4; Isaiah 53:3). Jesus entered this world specifically to take care of that need. I. Birth of Jesus Announced to Joseph
I. Birth of Jesus Announced to Joseph He suffered physical pain and death on the cross. Perhaps the most painful aspect of the Crucifixion was the burden of sin the Lord had to endure. (See Isaiah 53:6; 53:12; II Corinthians 5:21.) He was a man who was guiltless and sinless, formed to bear the weight of the sin of the whole human race.
The Birth Set to Fulfill Prophecy D. The Birth Set to Fulfill Prophecy Scattered throughout the Old Testament are numerous prophecies that were written by prophets of God who were moved on by the Spirit. Many of the prophecies foretold the coming Messiah with details concerning His arrival in Bethlehem, His life, and His death. Clearly, the prophecies pointed to Jesus Christ, and they give supporting evidence that the Word of God is true.
• He would be the seed of the woman—Genesis 3:15 (Galatians 4:4; Luke 2:7; Revelation 12:5). • He was the promised seed of Abraham—Genesis 18:18 (Acts 3:25; Matthew 1:1; Luke 3:34). • He was the promised seed of Isaac—Genesis 17:19 (Matthew 1:2). • He would descend from the tribe of Judah—Genesis 49:10 (Luke 3:33; Matthew 1:2-3). • He would be born in Bethlehem—Micah 5:2 (Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:4-7). I. Birth of Jesus Announced to Joseph
• He would be born of a virgin—Isaiah 7:14 (Matthew 1:18; Luke 1:26-35). • He would be a prophet—Deuteronomy 18:15 (John 6:14). These are only a few of the numerous prophecies of Scripture that have been fulfilled as predicted. These should fuel our faith to trust in God and His Word. As He has promised, the Lord will ultimately redeem those who have been born again. I. Birth of Jesus Announced to Joseph
Birth of Jesus Announced to Mary II. Birth of Jesus Announced to Mary An angelic messenger also announced the birth of the Messiah to Mary. She was just a common teenager who possibly was illiterate and had little knowledge of the outside world beyond Nazareth. Although she probably attended the synagogue on a regular basis, it is doubtful she knew much beyond the basics of Judaism. Hidden in obscurity, she could have spent her life in Nazareth and then died leaving little to show for her existence.
God seems to take great delight in using humble people who have little of this world’s goods, propelling them to the forefront where they can serve as valuable vessels. Joseph, Mary, the shepherds, and a host of others fit into this story with these very qualifications. This is the environment into which God chose to manifest Himself in flesh and where He would live for more than thirty-three years. I. Birth of Jesus Announced to Joseph
A Complimentary Greeting A. A Complimentary Greeting The angel informed Mary that she was highly favored by God and that He was with her. We do not know why God favored Mary, but apparently God saw her as an humble vessel who would willingly accept His purpose in her life. Materially and socially, she had no notable standing in this world. However, as some have noted, the most important things are not things.
How often individuals in our materialistic times fail to comprehend the true values of life and the worth of an individual. We cannot reckon true worth by one’s material holdings, for it is a poor benchmark by which to judge a person. Because the Lord was with Mary she would be able to endure the conflicts that would come from rearing a son that many in the religious society in Israel would deem a radical. I. Birth of Jesus Announced to Joseph
How often individuals in our She would need the Lord to be with her when later Jesus would face severe persecution and execution at Golgotha. If the Lord is with those whom He calls, their destiny has been set. He has equipped them to perform the task He called them to do. No matter what capacity we may have in the church, God will anoint us to build, to teach, to preach, to guide, to pray, and to live out the principles of His kingdom. I. Birth of Jesus Announced to Joseph
The Future Mother’s Reaction B. The Future Mother’s Reaction Mary reacted with trepidation, but she pondered long the things God’s messenger related to her. She understood the great responsibility God was placing upon her, aware of the required commitment for her to fulfill the task.
I. Birth of Jesus Announced to Joseph Christians must have regular times of quiet, prayerful meditation upon God and His plans for their lives. We face the challenge of many distractions—daily activities, leisure time, trips, shopping, traveling, eating—that can hinder God’s speaking to us, but prayer opens the door to effective communication with the Lord.
The Angel’s Assurance C. The Angel’s Assurance With every calling comes assurance from God that He will help the one called to meet every challenge. Gabriel, despite bringing Mary somewhat troubling news, also informed her all would be well as God would perform His will through her. Gabriel assured Mary that the Lord would be with her.
The Child’s Name and Greatness Proclaimed D. The Child’s Name and Greatness Proclaimed Just as with Joseph, Gabriel revealed the name, Jesus, to Mary. Whether or not Mary knew anything of God’s covenants with Abraham or David, He would fulfill both through her simple, submissive service, to which she willingly submitted without question.
Jesus would be more than just another child to come into the world. His presence would signal the beginning of a new dispensation through which God would work in humankind. In this new dispensation, the Lord would bring grace, justice, holiness, righteous principles, and ultimately salvation to every believer. I. Birth of Jesus Announced to Joseph
A Twelve-year-old Boy at the Passover III. A Twelve-year-old Boy at the Passover True spiritual ambition always involves sacrifice, purity, and consecration. Ambition without sacrifice, holiness, and consecration always is destructive no matter how successful or altruistic it may appear. This was apparent throughout the ministry of Jesus. He passed His own will through the crucible of sacrifice and consecration.
I. Birth of Jesus Announced to Joseph Crucifixion of our own ambition may be challenging and painful, but it is essential to fulfilling God’s purpose. In the account of Jesus’ trip to the Temple in Jerusalem, we witness the Lord’s self-denial early in His life. In Jerusalem Jesus demonstrated both His submission to earthly parents and to the eternal will of God. Interestingly, His life’s purpose began there and it would end there.
Accompanied by His Parents A. Accompanied by His Parents Although Jesus Christ was fully God and fully human, it is clear that Mary and Joseph helped to shape His attitudes about worship. That is not strange since, after all, that is God’s divine plan for the home and families. Their taking Jesus to Jerusalem pointed to their own reverence toward God and the priorities they placed on corporate worship.
I. Birth of Jesus Announced to Joseph They had traveled there to celebrate the Passover Feast and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which together lasted eight consecutive days. It is important in the postmodern age that children see patterns of worship in their parents’ lives. The things honored and revered by parents are usually replicated in the lives of their children.