Matthew 1:18-25 (Week 2 – A Thrill of Hope Christmas Series)
Jason White






Many experts today say that we are in an epidemic of loneliness and that it is leading to more mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. We are not meant to be alone, and in Matthew 1:18-25, we see that the God of the universe left the glory and riches of heaven to be with you. He is Emmanuel, God with us. If you have accepted Jesus’ free gift of salvation by faith you are never alone.

Matthew 1:22 – 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”).





Sermon Audio Transcript
So I don't know if you've seen this in the news social media accounts, but it seems like I'm starting to see all over the place where there are these articles that keep talking about this epidemic of loneliness that we're facing in our culture. And throughout our world today. Statistics keep popping up showing that more and more people are feeling lonely. And it's not just the loneliness, that's getting a lot of attention. It's the mental health issues. It's the anxiety and depression and things like that. But what a lot of people are beginning to say, who study this kind of thing is that it's the loneliness that's really driving the rise of the mental health issues, the depression, and the anxiety that many people are facing today. And so loneliness is really becoming a huge problem in our world and causing a lot of pain, it's causing a lot of hurt in people's lives. And really, that's because we are not meant to be alone. Every single one of us have this deep desire down within us on some level, again, some of us more than others being extroverts and introverts, but we all have this desire deep down on some level, to be with other people, to be with friends, to be with family, to be with just people to help keep us from feeling lonely. But here's the deal. As much as we want to be with other people. I think what we really want even more than that is for other people to want to be with us. We want to be with other people. But it's even more beneficial to us. When other people want to be with us. It hurts to be rejected, when we put ourselves out there to try to reach out for a new friendship or a date. Or asking someone's for someone's hand in marriage. And we get turned down in some way it hurts. I mean, there's this desire to be wanted, it feels good when somebody else wants to be with us. When someone else it feels like they want to be with us, it makes us feel valuable, it makes us feel special that makes us feel like we're really loved. And so when other people reject us, we feel that I'm honestly really not sure that there's too much worse than the feeling of not being wanted. And again, there are a lot of people in our world today who are feeling that rejection, feeling that pain of being lonely, of not being able to be with other people and other people to want to be with them. And maybe that's where some of you are today. Maybe that's where you find yourself, you're feeling that loneliness, you're feeling that depression, that anxiety. And maybe it's because you're just not with other people or you don't find this real sense that people really want to be with you. Maybe you've even put yourself out there and you've experienced rejection in some way. If that's you this morning, what I want you to know more than anything else is that the God of the universe wants to be with you. He desperately desires to be with you. And not only does he want to be with you, he has gone to great lengths to be able to make that happen. And that's what we're going to see when we look at these verses in Matthew this morning, chapter one, verses 18 through 25. And so let's just dive in and see what Matthew says here beginning in Matthew chapter one. Oops, we'll get there. He says, This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about his mother, Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph. Now I need to pause there because that's not language that we typically hear in our culture today. When it comes to this thing called marriage. We don't get pledged to be married to people, we fall in love with someone and we ask someone to marry us. And they either reciprocate those feelings of wanting to be with us by saying yes, or by rejecting us and saying no, right. But we're told here that Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph what would have specifically happened and we won't go into all the details with this, but in general, I guess I should say is that Joseph's parents would have gone to Mary's parents and asked if they would give Mary to their son, Joseph. Now they could say yes, or they could say You know, if they said yes, then they would actually enter into a formal arrangement, they would make official arrangements for them to be married, they would enter into a contract and Joseph would have it, Joseph's family would have been compensated them in some way, they would have given them some some kind of financial compensation to be able for their son to be able to marry their daughter. Now, as soon as that happened, as soon as they said yes, and they entered into this formal arrangement, and they had given them the compensation paid the bride's price, then they would have been at that point in time already labeled husband and wife, they would officially be husband and wife at that point. But they didn't begin to live together, again, very different than our culture and the way it works today. As soon as that happened, even though they were considered husband and wife, they would have gone through a one year betrothal period before they could really be together. And then of course, after that, one year after that waiting period, then they would have come together, they would have had their wedding ceremony, which again would have been pretty different than ours. Josef's family friends would have gotten to Mary's house, they would have taken Mary on this, the ceremonial walk in celebration back to his house for this celebration dinner, the ceremonial wedding dinner with those friends and family and then they would have officially consummated the marriage at that point. So when Matthew says that they were pledged to be married, he's letting us know that they were in this one year betrothal period, they were technically considered husband and wife, but they were not yet together. Matthew goes on in this verse though, and says after they were pledged to be married, but before they came together, so before they came together before they consummated the marriage, before that one year, betrothal period was up. She was found to be pregnant. In other words, Mary started showing you could see that she was pregnant, it was obvious she was found out now the Matthew tells us that it was through the Holy Spirit. And no doubt that Mary probably tried to explain that to Joseph. No, Joseph, it really was the Holy Spirit like an angel came, right. He told me this was going to happen. But you can imagine how difficult that would be to hear. I mean, that sounds ridiculous. Even in this particular day and age, even though we're much more scientifically advanced. And they are they understood where babies came from. Right? It wasn't every day that someone walked up and said, it's by the Holy Spirit that I got married. I mean, Joseph knew that that meant that she had probably been with someone else. And so he was hurt. He was feeling that rejection, most likely. Okay. And so at this point in time, because of that, God has to step in, right. And here's what he does, verse 19, Because Joseph, her husband was faithful actually doesn't step in at this point. I'm getting ahead of myself. He's feeling the rejection here. And we're told because the Joseph, her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her he knew that it would ruin her if this got out. I mean, it would be there would be consequences for Mary according to the law and within this culture that they lived in. And so he didn't want to expose her to public disgrace. So he had in mind to divorce her quietly. Again, he wasn't buying the story. Evidently, he she's trying to explain it to him over and over again, he's not buying it. And so he wanted what he was entitled to, which was a divorce. But again, he knew this would publicly ruin her. So he tries to do it out of respect, and do it quietly. Now this, because of this being what Joseph wanted to do is where God has to step in verse 20. But after he had considered this, so he's considering the divorce. This is the next step that I'm going to take here in 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. So again, Joseph was afraid. He was afraid to take her home, because of what the law said because of what he thought she had done because of what other people would say if he just ignored this kind of thing. And so, we see the Lord comforting him, don't be afraid. But we also see that he reveals to him that Mary was telling the truth.I mean, think about that you go to sleep one night, you begin to dream The Angel of the Lord shows up and reveals this to you. And then you wake up, and you're going, oh my gosh, this entire time, she was actually telling the truth. Again, think about how difficult that would have been for Mary, for her to walk through that time and not have someone believing her the rejection that she would have felt, of course, he couldn't help but feel that way. This wasn't the normal way that things tended to happen. So this is the Lord showing up revealing these things. And he's even gracious enough to Joseph next to tell him why it is that she was conceived by the Holy Spirit, verse 21, She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, again, the angels revealing all of this to Joseph, why, because he will save his people from their sins. This is what he was being born into this world to do to save people from their sins. Now, I want to come back to that, because we really need to camp out on that a little bit, make sure we don't miss that here. But what we see here next is really important, because Matthew is writing about these events that had taken place, how the birth of Jesus Christ kind of came about, but he wants to make sure that we don't miss the connection here to things that were said in the Old Testament. So as soon as he finishes saying this, in revealing to us about these events, and how he showed the truth to Joseph, he jumps into verse 22. Now, it says all of this took place, what he just wrote about all of these events 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 Immanuel, which means God with us. And then he goes on to tell us that When Joseph woke up, he did, 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. This was important because again, he was trying to show and reveal to us that he was conceived through the Holy Spirit and wanted to make sure that we knew that this is how these things had taken place. But the big thing that Matthew does not want us to miss out, is that what he was writing about the events that he was making sure we knew had taken place had been written about 700 years prior to this happening. So he quotes the Prophet which Prophet did he quote here? Well, it's the prophet Isaiah. And we see this in Isaiah, chapter seven, verse 14, again, this is about 700 years before Jesus ever came on the scene. And the prophet Isaiah is saying, therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign, The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son. And we'll call him, Emmanuel, God with us. Now, this isn't the only thing that Isaiah said, you heard the more family read a verse in Isaiah, that is just two chapters away from this. And so as they have mentioned this here, and he's talking to King Ahaz, the king of Judah, and there's some talk about how there's maybe even some kind of immediate fulfillment to this. But when you take it into context with what he says here, and the rest of the chapter, and then again, just two chapters later, where again, the more family read this for to us, a child is born, to us, a son is given and the government will be on his shoulders, and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Then in verse seven, he goes on to talk about how this will be an everlasting kingdom, that one will always sit on the throne of David, it. So again, when Matthew was saying this in Matthew 122. He's saying that all this took place to fulfill what was written about 700 years ago, he is making sure that we are connecting the dots to these events that he's talking about were happening to what had been prophesied about all along. Of course, he had been doing that in the first 17 verses as well. And we talked about that last week. And so when we really begin to see all of these things that we're prophesied about all of these things that had to fall into place, for him to be the one the Messiah, the one that God would send to rescue the world from our sins. It really should grow our faith and fill us with a thrill of hope. Matthew was, again trying to through all of this he had written about how he was conceived and given birth to a son. But the big thing is that he doesn't want us to miss that this was a manual. This was God with us. This was no normal human baby. This was God in the flesh. And the other thing that we need to keep in mind, as we're reading this in the very opening chapter of Matthew, is that Matthew is writing this, after, of course, Jesus's entire life, His death, and His resurrection and all of the above. And now he's writing a historical account about the life of Jesus. And so, if Matthew had watched Jesus all throughout his life, and he knew that Mary and others were going around talking about this virgin birth, and someone had been conceived, and Could this really be the Messiah, that he's had 33 years to watch the guy to look for evidence to whether this was actually really true or not. And so now that he's writing about it, we have to come to the Kluge conclusion that there must have been enough evidence that Matthew had seen with his own eyes to verify that this was, in fact true, or he wouldn't be writing about it. But again, all throughout Matthew's gospel, we see that he's confirming that this was the Messiah after he writes this, he writes about supernatural things that he does that he heals people in that he walks on water, and that he raises people from the dead, we see that he talks about the way that he taught people and that he taught them with authority. We saw the way that he talks about him conducting himself and how he had never done anything wrong. He never sinned. This guy was just always doing the right things. Right? We see the prophecy. Matthew knew and understood all the prophecies and how he could connect the dots to these things. But above all else, Matthew saw that this guy died on a cross that they took him and they buried him in a tomb. And all of a sudden, he was talking to him after three days. This was no normal human baby. He was Emanuel, He was God with us. And I think when we see that, and for those of us, especially who have been in church for some time, and we are reminded about the Christmas story every year, maybe we've read, Matthew, maybe we've read the accounts in Luke, I wonder if we pause long enough to think about what that really means to say that Jesus was Immanuel, that He was God with us. I mean, think about what this means for him to have been with us in this way. God, the supreme being of all beings, right, the Creator of all things, the one who reigns over and above all things, who's in authority, and in charge of all things, and especially even including heaven, and having a being a place where he dwelt in a place of no blemishes, no pain, no imperfection, no hunger, no thirst, where Gods constantly being worshipped, and adorned. And Matthew is saying that if this baby was God with us, then that means that he left that place, willingly, he left that place to come here. And the omni present, God actually squeezed himself into a human baby somehow, and was born into this world. The God of the universe, who reigns over all things lowered himself to a place where he was completely dependent upon an earthly mom, to hold him and to feed him, and to just keep him alive.Talk about stooping for us, right?And then he grew up and he subjected himself to everything that you and I experience here on Earth, hunger and thirst and pain, humiliation, tiredness, and on and on, and why, why did he do that? Why did he choose to leave that to come here for this?We saw it and what the angel was revealing to Joseph when she when he said She will give birth to a son, and you're given the name of Jesus. Why? Because he will save his people from their sins, he left the glory and the riches of heaven to come here to die for your sins. But why? Well, because sins were the barrier that existed between you and God, but he didn't just come to die for them so that you could be free Given you understand that him having to go to the cross to purchase your forgiveness was a means to an end. The point, the main point really wasn't for you to be forgiven. It was so that you could be with God and that had to happen in order for him to be with you. And for you to be able to be with him. He didn't just come, in other words, to be God with us for 33 years on the earth, He came to be God with us forever. And he gave it to the cross to be able to make sure that that was happened. And he was able to take all the sins of the world upon him, because he was fully God, and he had no sense to pay for himself. And he was able to die for those and pay the penalty, because he was also fully human, and could represent us being another one of us being human. And so then, of course, after going through his finished work on the cross, He was raised from the dead. And Matthew writes about all of this later on in his Gospel in at the very end of it, after making sure we understood all the events that have taken place with Jesus. Here's what he says at the very end of this. And surely this is Jesus talking with His disciples. And surely he says, I am with you some of the time. Surely I was with you during these 33 years that I was here, but now I'm leaving, and you'll be all alone again. No, surely I am with you.Always. Surely, Iam with you. Always in, we know that he's with us always. Because when you get through the rest of the Gospels, and you turn to the book of Acts, they show us that after Jesus ascended and went back to heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to come dwell in us so that we can enter into a spiritual union with Him and Him be with us in us be with him for for. So as we look at this birth of Jesus through the eyes of Matthew, today, last week, throughout this entire Christmas season, I want to encourage you to continue to reflect and really just even meditate upon how much God must really love you to go to the lengths that he went, so that he could be with you forever. I told you one time about this story. If you were here during one of our marriage series about this teenage girl who posted something on social media, who said one time my life will never be complete, until somebody runs through an airport chasing me down to stop me from getting on a plane because they love me and they don't want to see me go right. And I mean, that'd be amazing right? To know that someone loves you that much that they would go that far to chase you down and stop you from getting on an airplane because they love you that much. But that has nothing on what the God of the universe did for you the lengths that he went to be with you. Charles Spurgeon, one of the greatest preachers who ever lived in the 1800s actually talked about this in one of his sermons and says it way better than I ever can. And so I just want to read to you what he said in that sermon in the 1800s. Observe, he says, the wonder of condescension contained in this fact, that the God who made all things should assume the nature of one of his own creatures, that the self existent should be united with the dependent and deprived and the Almighty, linked with the feeble and mortal. In the case before us, the Lord descended to the very depth of humiliation, and entered into alliances with a nature which did not occupy the chief place in the scale of existence, oh, the condescension of it. I leave it to the meditations of your quiet moments, dwell on it with care. He says, For I am persuaded that no man has any idea how wonderful a stoop, it was for God's us to dwell in human flesh, and to be God with us. God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh has condemned sin in the flesh. Oh, the depth is all that we can say, as we look on and marvel at this stoop of Divine Love, a man the, you know, have you come to the place where you know and you understand dand how much the God of the universe really does love you, and wants to be with you this morning, you are loved, you are valued, you are cherished so much, that he descended from the glory and riches of heaven, to come here to suffer and die, so that he could be with you forever, and you can be with Him forever. If you'll just receive His gift of forgiveness. You just receive it by faith. As soon as you put your faith and trust in Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, He does apply that forgiveness that He purchased for you on the cross, he does come to dwell in you, and He will be with you and you will never, ever, ever be alone again. And if you've said yes to Jesus, I think that's the other thing that we need to make sure we own this morning. And we're thinking about as we leave, if you've said yes to Jesus, you are never ever alone. There's never a moment when you do not have the abundant life of Jesus dwelling in you. There's never a moment when you don't have access to his guidance and direction and empowerment. There's never a moment where you're alone. He's always there when you're sleeping. He's there when you wake up. He's there when you go to work. He's there when you go to school, he's there when you're playing sports. He's there when you're playing in the band. He's there when you're playing video games, or you're scrolling through your social media feed. He's there when you receive the news that it's cancer. He's there when your loved one passes away. He's there when you lose your job. And when there's not enough money to pay the bills. He's there when you're being bullied. He's there when your boyfriend or girlfriend breaks up with you. He's there when you get served divorce papers and you are left all by your self. He's there in the stress. He's there when you are anxious, and he's there when you are depressed. You are never ever alone. God is with you.