An Unbelievable Truth (vs. 18-19)
The story begins with Joseph being confronted with an unbelievable truth. He finds out that Mary, to whom he is engaged, is pregnant and he knows that the baby isn't his. But the most unbelievable part of the story is that Mary claims that the baby was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Literally, she is carrying the Son of God.
Perhaps it's because many of us have grown up in church, but most of us pass over how impossibly hard it would have been for Joseph to believe this story. And verse 19 tells us that he couldn't believe it. Of course, Joseph wanted to be nice about it, but he decided to separate from Mary, because in the end, he just couldn't trust her story.
A Series of Miraculous Events (vs. 20-23)
But things change for Joseph through a series of five miraculous or supernatural encounters.
- A supernatural messenger
- approaches him in a supernatural dream
- to reveal a supernatural conception
- that will result in a supernatural savior
- who will accomplish God's supernatural plan
Each of these supernatural encounters are specially designed by God to get Joseph to believe the unbelievable. They are a series of proofs to show Joseph that he can trust God.
Consider the progression. If God can miraculously reveal himself by an angel in a supernatural dream, then perhaps he can miraculously cause Mary to conceive. And if God can miraculously place his son in the womb of a woman, then perhaps, miraculously, that son can be the savior of the world. And if God can miraculously provide a savior, then perhaps he can miraculously accomplish all that he has promised.
The point is, each miracle is like a shining beacon that reminds us that God can do the impossible. Each miracle is God's message to us that we should believe the unbelievable.
The Appropriate Response is to Trust and Obey
After Joseph encounters God through this progression of miracles, he has a choice. Will he trust God or not? Matthew tells us that he does trust God, he doesn't send Mary away, and he names his Son Jesus!
As Matthew continues his gospel, he makes it clear that Jesus has come for people who realize that they need a miracle in their lives. The Scribes and Pharisees will reject Jesus because they believe they have it all together, it's only the people who realize they need a miracle in their lives who truly experience his saving power. In Matthew 9:12, Jesus says, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick," Our story of the miraculous conception of Jesus reminds us that even if we are so sick we can hardly believe there is hope, Jesus can do the impossible.
Matthew 1:18-25 presents the supernatural beginnings of Jesus Christ to show us that we can have the confidence to believe the unbelievable concerning our salvation!
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