The coming of the King: Matthew 1:18-25

The Jewish Wedding

In Matthew’s account of Christ’s birth, he focuses on Joseph. To understand what was going on, we must look at the Jewish wedding customs of this time period. When a man wanted to marry a woman he would save money to purchase a gift. He would then go to the father of the woman and give the family his gift. At that same time, he would have written his bride-to-be a note. In this love letter, he would have told her how he felt about her and his plans he had for her. If the father was pleased with this gentleman, he would allow the wedding to take place. Before they could make this commitment before God, the groom had to go prepare a place for the couple to live. Once the father said they could get married there was a commitment that could not be broken. During this period of time, the couple is betrothed. To break off the engagement at this point, one would have to write a certificate of divorce. This was the situation of Mary and Joseph. They had made the commitment to get married, and by law, had to go to through with the marriage. When looking at a Jewish wedding you can see the symbolism of God throughout it. Think of the gift the groom gives to the father. Christ also gives his Father a gift to purchase His bride, the church. Also, the letter that is groom wrote to his bride.  We have a letter of love written from our groom, Jesus, it is the Bible. To take it one step further, we are in the betrothed stage. Jesus left to go prepare a place for us, and one day He is returning to take His bride home.

She is Pregnant

Consider Joseph for a moment. Joseph being a young man, probably seventeen or eighteen years old, was trying to prepare a life for his bride. Then his world changed. He got word that his soon to be wife was pregnant. How devastating this must have been to him. “How could she,” he must have thought? Mary must not have been the girl he thought she was. The anguish that went through Joseph’s mind, there had to be a whirlwind of emotions. He would have gone through his options over and over again. “Do I have her dragged out in this streets and stoned because that is what she deserves?” Then he would have thought about the life he was going to have, “But I love her and don’t want any harm to come to her.” He was legally bound to this woman, and now what? Finally, after debating with himself, Joseph decided to the right thing. He will divorce her quietly. That way no harm will come to her.

God is in Control

Then something amazing happened, God broke His silence and sent and angel to comfort Joseph and tell him what to do. Joseph did what God had a commanded. God had a plan and that plan involved Joseph raising the Son of God. When the angel told Joseph that his name was to be “Emmanuel,” he must have shouted with joy. That word means “God is with us.” If you had to pin down the theme of Matthew to one verse, it would be verse 23. Matthew wanted us to know that God has now come in the babe Jesus, and now He is with us. God came in the humble form of a baby so that He would one day grow into the man that would die for all of our sins. In the Old Testament God first came in a Tabernacle. He would travel with the Israelites. Then He moved to the Temple, and people would go and see Him. Now, God is with us. No matter where you are in your life, God is with you. No matter how low you might be, no matter how much you think you do not need him. God is with you. You might feel alone, but if you look to Him, God is with you. You might be rebelling, allowing the hate in your heart to drive you. Friend, put down your arms, God loves you and wants to be with you.  He is there waiting on us.

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