Christmas From Matthew, Pt. 7

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.  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.  Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 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.

Matthew 1:20-23

As we look at the Christmas story out of the book of Matthew, one of the things that we notice is the method of coming into the world that God chose.

He could have come into the world in any way that He wanted.  He could have simple opened the skies and descended to earth as an adult, with trumpets sounding and angels singing.  But He chose not to do that.  He could have just “appeared” on the Earth, either as a child or as an adult.  But He chose not to do that.

He chose to come into the earth as all men (since Adam and Eve) come into the earth – by birth.  And, because man had sinned and has a sin nature, He skipped the man and came to the earth through the womb of a virgin.  It was a miraculous birth – the only one like it in the history of mankind.  But that is Jesus – miraculous.  He is the only one like Himself in the history of the Earth.

Jesus was born into the human race – the humblest of beginnings.  And He was born of a virgin – the most miraculous of beginnings.  What a wonderful Saviour!

Christmas From Matthew, Pt. 6

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.  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.  Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet saying, 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.

Matthew 1:21-23

As we look at the Christmas story from the book of Matthew, we can look at the two names specifically given to Jesus.  The passage says, “…thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins”  and “…they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”

Jesus.

“He shall save his people from their sins.”  The name “Jesus” means “Saviour.”  That is a perfect description of Jesus.  He is the Saviour, and, as the passage says, He will save His people from their sins.

Emmanuel.

The name “Emmanuel” means “God with us.”  This is also a perfect description of Jesus.  It is hard for our human minds to comprehend, but God Himself came down, humbled Himself, became a man and walked around this earth as a man among men for over thirty years.  During that time, it was literally “God with us.”  We can also look at this name as being spiritual.  When we are saved, it is through Jesus that we can have “God with us” and “God in us.”

These names given to Jesus are perfect descriptions of what He is and what He does.  What a wonderful Saviour!

 

Christmas From Matthew, Pt. 5

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews?  for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.  When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

Matthew 2:1-3

There is a famous saying that you hear and see around this time of year.  “Wise men still seek him.”  In this passage, we find the famous wise men.  They had studied the scriptures and had seen the star.  They came to worship Him, and, naturally, they came to the earthly “king” of that area – Herod.

We know the story about Herod’s anger and jealousy.  But today, we will focus on the wise men.

These wise men did not have to seek the Lord.  They were from a distant kingdom.  Many of the Jews, Jesus’ own people, did not worship Him.  Apparently, they weren’t even looking for Him or read for His coming.

But these wise men were looking for Him.  They searched for Him.  They did everything they could to find Him.  And, when they found Him, they worshipped Him.  It is no wonder that they are referred to as “wise men.”  They lived two thousand years ago, but the lessons that they give us still remain.  If we would be wise today, we must seek the Lord Jesus.  If we would be wise today, we must worship the Lord Jesus.  It is the same today as it was way back then.  We need to seek for Him.  And, once we find Him, we need to worship Him.

Christmas From Matthew, Pt. 4

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.  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Matthew 1:20-21

During this Christmas season, it is important for us to remember why we celebrate.  We see the signs (and maybe we even have one ourselves) that say “Jesus is the reason for the season.”  That is very true.  Jesus is the reason for the season.

But why do we celebrate Jesus?  It may seem like a simple question, but it is worth answering, especially at this time of the year.

I believe that we find the answer in verse 21: “…thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.”  We celebrate Jesus because He is our Saviour.  We celebrate Him because He saves us from our sins.  We celebrate Him because He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  We celebrate Him because, as Peter said, “Thou hast the words of life.”

During this Christmas season, let us never forget what Jesus has done for us.  Let us never forget that He came to save us from our sins.  We did not deserve it, but Jesus loves us and gave Himself for us.  That is the reason for Christmas.  That is why we celebrate.

Away in a Manger (Hymn)

Away in a Manger
Traditional Carol

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head.
The stars in the sky looked down where He lay,
The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.

The cattle are lowing, the Baby awakes,
But little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes;
I love Thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky
And stay by my cradle til morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me, I pray;
Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care,
And fit us for Heaven to live with Thee there.

Of all of the traditional Christmas carols, I think this one does the best job of “setting the mood” of what the night of Jesus’ birth was really like.  Of course, we know very little about that night and what really went on there where Mary laid the baby Jesus in the manger.  But it is interesting (especially during this time of year) to think about.  Even more interesting to think about is that God Himself lay still there in the manger, as a helpless baby.  And He did it for us.  What a wonderful Saviour!

Christmas From Matthew, Pt. 3

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.  Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.  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.

Matthew 1:18-20

Although he was not His father, Joseph was a part of the Christmas story.  He was the husband of the young woman that God chose to send His Son into the world through.  Joseph was, all at once, thrust into the role of providing for and protecting this young child who would be named Jesus and Emmanuel, because He would save His people from their sins and because He truly was “God with us.”  Joseph, from what we read about him, was up to the task.

In this passage, two things stand out about Joseph: he was good man and he was a thinking man.

Verse 19 says “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man…”  He was a good man.  He loved his wife.  Even when he found out that she was “with child,” he did not want to publicly humiliate her.  He was a good man.  It would be good if the same were said of us.

Verse 20 says “But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream…”  Joseph was a thinking man.  He was not rash or hasty.  He “thought on these things.”  He took the time to think things out before he acted.  We would save ourselves much trouble in our lives if we would do the same.

Joseph was a good person and a thinking person.  These things allowed him to have an intimate part in the life of the Saviour.  How are we doing?

 

Christmas from Matthew, Pt. 2

And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. 

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.

Matthew 1:16,18

I love the wording of the Bible.  If there is any doubt that the Bible is an inspired book, look at these examples and the perfect wording that they contain.

Mary was the baby Jesus’ mother.  But Joseph was not the father.  She was a virgin.  And the Bible is very clear about that (Matthew 1:23, Luke 1:27).  Notice the wording in verse 16: “And Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus…”  He is referred to as “the husband of Mary,” not “the father of Jesus.”  There are two other verses that do the same thing: “And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.” (Luke 2:33)  “…Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.”  It is “Joseph and his mother,” not “his mother and father.”

The only time Joseph is referred to as the father of Jesus is when the Pharisees tried to trap Him in His words.  “And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?”  The Pharisees said that Jesus was the son of Joseph.  Jesus never said that.  God never said that.  The Bible never says that.  The Christmas story here in Matthew begins with a clear explanation of who is who and who is not who.  Jesus=Emmanuel, the Saviour of the World.  Mary=Mother of Jesus.  Joseph=Husband of Mary (not the father of Jesus).

The Bible truly is an amazing book.  There is so much to learn about it.  We can even learn things from the way verses are worded.  We could study it every day for the rest of our lives and never come close to understanding everything contained in it.

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