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  • Chad Werkhoven

Matthew 1:18-25 - Courageous Couple

Jesus came to save you from your sins AND fear.


Matthew 1:18-25 (NIV)

18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”  (which means “God with us”).

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.


Listen to passage & devotional:


Belgic Confession of Faith, Article 18: The Incarnation

So then we confess

that God fulfilled the promise

which he had made to the early fathers

by the mouth of his holy prophets

when he sent his only and eternal Son

into the world

at the time set by him.

The Son took the “form of a servant”

and was made in the “likeness of man,”

truly assuming a real human nature,

with all its weaknesses,

except for sin;

being conceived in the womb of the blessed virgin Mary

by the power of the Holy Spirit,

without male participation.

And he not only assumed human nature

as far as the body is concerned

but also a real human soul,

in order that he might be a real human being.

For since the soul had been lost as well as the body

he had to assume them both

to save them both together.

In this way he is truly our Immanuel—

that is: “God with us.”



It had to be one of the most awkward conversations of all time: young, innocent Mary, trying to explain her unexpected pregnancy to the faithful young man she was engaged to. Put yourself in Joseph's sandals; what conclusions would you come to as Mary told you about her angelic encounter with the archangel in which he informed her that she who was 'highly favored' by God (Luke 1:28) would be having a child out of wedlock in 8-1/2 months. That's a lot to process!

So it makes sense that after trying to wrap his mind around this crazy situation that Joseph "had in mind to divorce her quietly." Now put yourself in Mary's position: days after being visited by Gabriel and being told that she would bear the Son of the Most High, whose kingdom would never end, she's rejected and sent out to fend for herself. If Joseph couldn't accept her and believe her story, what would her father say when she went back to him?

But everything changed when Joseph dreamed his dream. This was no ordinary dream, of course. Like Mary, Joseph received an angelic message, corroborating exactly what Mary had tried to explain, right down to the name she also had been instructed to give the child: Yehô·šûaʿ(Joshua), or in its more Greek form: Jesus: the one who will save His people from their sins.

As strange as this entire story sounds, it most certainly wasn't something that God was making up as He went along. As Matthew writes, "all of this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 'The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him ʿim·māʹ·nû ʾēl (God with us).'" But it wasn't just Isaiah who had predicted this some 700 years before Jesus came; this had already been planned by God as He cursed the serpent in the Garden: the woman's offspring would crush the serpent's head.

Dig Deeper

God must love irony.

At the dawn of history, He had to go and find His image bearers, who were hiding from him naked and afraid due to their sin. Now, thousands of years later, the two parents He'd chosen to usher ʿim·māʹ·nû ʾēl into the world were also, in a sense, hiding in fear. But although the angel called out to Joseph in a similar way that God had called out to Adam, the message the angel brought was quite different. Instead of a glimmer of hope buried under a pile of curses, all Joseph heard about was salvation.

And it would come exactly how God said it would: through the offspring of a woman. It didn't have to be this way; just as God formed His first covenant representative out of the dust of the ground, He certainly could have formed the new covenant representative in the same way, or any number of other ways if He wanted.

But yet He chose a young couple, who both needed to be told the same exact thing by their angelic messenger: "Do not be afraid (v20, Luke 1:30)." God sent His Son, born of a woman, not just to take away your sins, but to also still your fears.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who does exactly what He says He'll do;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Thank God for sending Jesus, born of a woman, and pray that you will experience the Spirit filled courage that Mary and Joseph did;



Read the New Testament in a year! Today: Romans 12


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