When the Unexpected Happens

Key Verse: “Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife.”
—Matthew 1:24

Selected Scripture:
Matthew 1:1-25

OUR LESSON CONCERNS the birth of Jesus. We read “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 Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.”—Matt. 1:18-19

According to Jewish law, marriage in Israel demanded that espousal be a time of one year. Joseph had not consummated the marriage at the time he found Mary with child, even though at espousal, the woman was considered as the lawful wife of the man to whom she was betrothed. This engagement could not be ended by the man without a bill of divorce. (Deut. 24:1-4) Thus Mary, after she was betrothed to Joseph, might have been punished if the angel of the Lord had not told Joseph that Mary was with child by the Holy Spirit. This was an unexpected event for Joseph and, as written, he felt he would have to put her away.

Being a man of faith, Joseph thought about what to do. What would his countrymen think of Mary? Would they think of her as an adulteress? For that matter, what would they think of him? Joseph was fearful. Then an angel appeared in a dream telling him not to be afraid, that Mary was with child by the Holy Spirit. Joseph then took Mary as his wife, but “knew her not” until she brought forth her firstborn. (vs. 25) The angel tells Joseph to call him Jesus, for he would “save his people from their sins.”—vs. 21

Names are very significant in Israel, the name Jesus from the Greek, means ‘savior.’ In Luke 19:10, we read of the purpose of his birth, “The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” What was ‘lost’? Life forfeited by Adam in the Garden of Eden.—Gen. 2:16-17; I Cor. 15:22

An earlier prophecy of the birth of Jesus says, “The Lord himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isa. 7:14) This word ‘Immanuel’ means ‘God with us.’ Surely, through the death of Jesus as the corresponding price for Adam, he will save his people, the Jews, and the whole world from their sins. The name Immanuel—God with us—is significant. The name Jesus in the Hebrew is Joshua, meaning ‘the salvation of Jehovah.’

In Matthew 1:23, it is worthy to note that Jesus was to be born of a virgin. Jesus, we read, was “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.” (Heb. 7:26) Through a virgin birth, purity and human life from the Heavenly Father, our Lord would be a corresponding price for Father Adam. ( I Tim. 2:3-6) We should note that Mary was not a perfect human being, just one of Adam’s fallen race. (Ps. 51:5) Jesus’ perfection came from God, his father.

It took faith and obedience for Joseph to follow this most unexpected event. We will find in our lives many unexpected events and our faith must be strong as was Joseph’s.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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