Matthew 1:21-25, Prophetic Heredity
Matthew showed Jesus to be fully qualified as both king and savior, that this had always been God’s plan,
“’She [Mary] will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’
“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet”
Whether it was Matthew reminding the reader, or the Holy Spirit guiding Joseph’s thoughts at that moment, Joseph believed this baby was the coming Messiah,
“…the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ (which means ‘God with us’).”
And Joseph was sensitive to God's leading, recognized God's word, and put it immediately into practice in his life,
“When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.”
If there was ever any question about the virgin birth, Joseph’s actions should put your doubts to rest. If the baby had been conceived by another man, Joseph would have divorced her. Even if he had married her, he would have had no reason to keep from consummating their marriage bed together. But instead, as soon as Joseph had received God's word to him, he was ready to be obedient to all God's commands in three direct ways.
First, he married Mary.
Next, recognizing the fulfillment of prophecy in Mary’s virginity, he made sure she remained a virgin until Messiah was born, so no one would try to dispute fulfillment of God’s word.
Finally, even though the custom was to name the first born after the father, Joseph obeyed the Lord's command to name God's Son Jesus.
Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua, which means “Jehovah saves.” Jesus’ life’s work was appointed from before time. Paul said in Philippians Jesus humbled Himself to become a man, and you can certainly see it as humbling, to step down from the throne of God to enter into the womb of an ordinary young girl, living in Israel.
Paul went on to say Jesus humbled himself in obedience to His Father, He became obedient even to death on the cross. This was how Jehovah would save His people from their sins, He would die for them, sacrificing Himself in the place of those who are guilty, you and me, every sinner.
The ancient Jew, at this point in the text, would have taken particular note of the name Emmanuel ("God with us"), since this was what God had said to Moses was His desire, to dwell among His people. When the tabernacle was dedicated, and later the temple, God’s presence descended to dwell visibly in the midst of His people. But God had never been so present as to become a human being, living side-by-side with His people. It is an amazing truth.
The Lord understands you and me because He went through every kind of life experience you and I live through, yet He never sinned (Hebrews 4:15). Whatever is going on in your life, you can talk to Jesus about it. He will listen with compassion and love, He knows you and loves you, and understands completely what you’re going through.
But the most important name given to Jesus is the one Matthew used in his genealogy, in verse 1, verse 16, verse 17 and verse 18: Christ, Messiah, the anointed one. Messiah is the unique God-Man, the eternal Son of God, Who is also the Son of Man, with two distinct natures in one Person forever – fully God and fully man. Because of Jesus' humility in obedience, God has exalted Him, giving Him authority over every authority. Jesus is even now actively ruling with God, as Lord over all.
Just as you can't separate the brilliance of sunshine from the sun itself, Jesus is described as "the radiance of the glory of God." (Hebrews 1) Not just an image or a reflection of God, He is "the exact imprint of God's nature," "He is the image of the invisible God," Jesus is the absolutely authentic representation of God's being. God says that all of His fullness – the totality of God's powers and attributes – rests in the Lord Jesus Christ.
There are two kinds of prophecy about Messiah. The first kind of prophecy points to Christ Who will suffer for the sake of His people, out of love for them. The second kind of prophecy points to the future when Christ has promised He will one day come back to rule the earth in righteousness, and gather His people to Himself forever. How much of your trust have you put in this Christ?
God requires faith in a relationship with His Son Jesus Christ
What has God given you to believe and have faith in Him about? In what ways is your life reflecting your response to God's word?
Joseph had only one night of instruction with God’s word, and then he immediately responded in practical, real-time ways. He was definitely all in. What has God given you to apply in your life right now, without delay?
Who has God given you to protect—to feed and clothe, to care for and teach, to pray over and tenderly love?
God gives us His presence on earth, He is with us and has promised to live in us when we believe in Him. When was the last time you simply thanked Jesus for His presence with you, and (for those of you who have put your faith in Him) in you?
In just one chapter, Matthew showed that Jesus called Christ is fully qualified to be king and savior by His royal ancestry, His divine conception and birth, and by His credentials through the fulfillment of prophecy in His coming, and His identity.
How fully have you accepted Jesus for Who He is?
All passages taken from the New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.