January 4, 2010
The Lord is up to something big!
Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:22-23)
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ 1 1:18 Some manuscripts of the Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed 2 1:18 That is, legally pledged to be married to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
Happy New Year!
Can you believe it is already 2010? I don’t know about you, but I’m excited about what the Lord has in store for our church this year. I wonder who will come to Christ? Which relationships will be restored? Who will He heal? And what other ways will His name be made more famous this year? Why am I so confident great things are in store for the body of Christ at Watermark?
Because on January 1 we read of the Lord’s faithfulness throughout the generations beginning with Abraham, running through the time of David, and culminating with the birth of Jesus. If we learned anything from reading that long list of names, it was that the Lord was up to something big!
Today’s passage is no different. Joseph was heartbroken over Mary’s pregnancy and apparent betrayal. Yet, an angel of the Lord appeared in order to let Joseph in on a secret . . . “Joseph, your soon-to-be wife is carrying God’s Son!” In other words, the angel informed Joseph that the Lord was up to something big! In fact, from the angel’s reciting of Isaiah 7:14, we learn that Mary’s pregnancy had been a part of God’s plan for a very long time:
“Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel . . . .’”
Throughout the Book of Matthew, the idea of Jesus fulfilling Old Testament prophecy is repeated time and again. It serves as a constant reminder that the Lord was and still is up to something big. Tragically, in the same way that many people failed to recognize what God was up to in Jesus’ day, so, too, will many people miss what the Lord is trying to do in and through their lives today.
Matthew 1, like the rest of the book, is full of promise. And so is 2010 for those who believe in Immanuel, God with us!
1. What are you praying for the Lord to do in and through you this year? (Think big!)
2. How many times does Matthew speak of Jesus as the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy? What do you think he is trying to communicate by repeating this idea?
3. Why is the virgin birth so important? What does it teach us about the person of Jesus?
FAMILY DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
1. Verse 23 says that “Immanuel” means “God with us.” What did that mean to Mary and Joseph? And what does that mean to us today?
2. Why was Joseph scared to go ahead and marry Mary (verses 19-20)? What did he end up doing and why (verse 24)?
3. What are ways we can obey God today?