The Nativity by Matthew – part 2
The rest of the first chapter of Matthew’s Gospel is still about genealogy. The earlier part followed the style of the Old Testament genealogies and is the bridge between the Old and New Testaments, between the story of the physical people of Israel and Judah and the spiritual nation of Christians. All in all, it is the continuing story of God’s people, the pivoting point being Jesus Christ.
The earlier genealogy was a list and showed that Jesus was a human in history and a descendant of David. The second genealogy is the divine family tree and is told in narrative form, from the point of view of Jesus’ adoptive father, Joseph.
The story of the virgin birth is important. It is there to give the divine family tree of Jesus, that the Christ was from God. Jesus is Immanuel, God with us. God is in human form as a baby in the womb of a virgin conceived by the Holy Spirit and not by a man.
There has been a discussion that the word used for virgin by the prophet Isaiah could also mean young woman, which is true in Hebrew. In the Greek Matthew was writing the word means virgin, nothing else. The miracle of God coming to dwell among us in human form is done by God alone.
Joseph’s reaction to finding out his wife was pregnant was understandable, but his decision to put her away quietly shows he had restraint, he could have had Mary stoned to death. The visiting of angels in a dream was one of the ways God spoke to the Old Testament prophets. This is another link to the Old Testament: Matthew’s Gospel is the link between the Old and New.
Let us praise God that he came down to us in the form of a man in the form of Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Saviour.
Here’s the story:
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
Matthew 1:18-25 ESVUK