Summary: Everything about the birth of Jesus was supernatural. There was the miraculous conception. “Mary was conceived of the Holy Spirit.” It was unheard of for a virgin girl to become pregnant by the Holy Spirit.
The Supernatural Power of Christ’s Birth
Everything about the birth of Jesus was supernatural.
First, there was the miraculous conception. “Mary was conceived of the Holy Spirit.” It was unheard of for a virgin girl to become pregnant by the Holy Spirit.
Second, when you look at the part Joseph played in the birth of Jesus you realize Mary and Joseph had a miraculous relationship.
Matthew 1:18 Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph. The pledge was equal to a marriage contract. But before they were officially married Mary became pregnant.
Matthew 1:19 Joseph was a righteous man. He lived by the Torah – First five books of the Bible.
Scott McKnight, a New Testament scholar describes what it meant to live according to the Torah. Joseph would not eat unclean food. He didn’t mix with the wrong kinds of people. He didn’t keep his carpentry shop open on the Sabbath to make a few extra drachmas.
Joseph discovered he had a major problem. The girl he was engaged to marry was pregnant. Joseph knows that whoever is the father, it is not him. Equally troubling was the fact that living in a small village everybody knows everybody’s business.
Joseph is confronted with the unexpected pregnancy of Mary, his betrothed. This is about as bad as it gets in the first century. Since Joseph knew the child was not his, he prepared to nullify their betrothal agreement.
Mary’s pregnancy could not be hidden. The child’s birth would be undeniable evidence of her apparent immorality and betrayal. Although Joseph intended that she escape the legally sanctioned death by stoning, Mary was about to become permanently scarred by scandal. Joseph himself faced humiliation
Put yourself in Joseph’s place for a moment. Your fiancée is pregnant and your whole reputation and identity revolve around one thing – your commitment to the Torah. What the Torah says you do.
It doesn’t take much imagination to know how Joseph must have agonized over his situation. Imagine you are engaged to a 13-15 year old and your fiancée come to you and says, “I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that I’m pregnant even through we’re not married yet. The good news is I haven’t been with anybody else. An angel came to me and said, “Hail Mary, full of grace. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.” (Luke 1:28, 30)
Joseph didn’t want to expose Mary to the public because of the dire consequences. (Deut. 22:21), if a girl got married and could not prove she had been faithful prior to marriage, “She shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of the town shall stone her to death. She has done a disgraceful thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father’s house. You must purge the evil from among you.”
Matthew 1:20 - An angel of the Lord became a miraculous marriage counselor to Joseph. “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.”
Matthew 1:21 Mary would have a miraculous birth – the angel said: “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.”
This would be a miraculous fulfillment of bible prophecy as recorded in Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”
Joseph considered all the options and consequences: no longer would he be considered a righteous man by the community. He would lose friends and business, but he was willing to pay the price to carry out God’s mission for his family. His whole reputation would be trashed, his work as a righteous man would cease.
Now when Joseph looked people in the community in their eyes he would no longer have their respect and adoration.
The Gospel of Matthew gives Joseph’s biological heritage and spiritual faithfulness work to complete God’s divine Christmas plans.
Matthew first mentions Joseph (1:16) during his litany of Jesus’ genealogy. Joseph is a descendant from the Davidic line and is cited as "the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born." No matter how delicately Matthew describes the situation, it is evident that although Joseph, the Davidic descendant, is Mary’s husband, he is not the infant Jesus’ father.
Verses 18-19 begin by describing a typical first-century social construct, in which a couple was betrothed or promised for a fairly lengthy period of time before the final marriage took place. This extended period of time not only allowed the bride’s family to consolidate and prepare the required dowry. Not coincidentally it also allowed enough time to go by that the prospective bride’s chasteness would not be challenged.