A New Perspective
You know what it’s like. You’re just living your life, going to classes, doing homework, hanging out with friends. You have a rhythm and know what to expect.
Jesus’ Earthly father, Joseph, had that going on, too. He had a good job as a carpenter and was engaged to be married. He knew what to expect: get married, settle down, start a family. Life was great until an expected event happened.
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. 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.
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. 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.”
All 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 Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
When Joseph woke up, 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.
Consider These Questions
1. What does the angel of the Lord tell Joseph to do?
2. What does he learn about the baby?
3. What is Joseph’s response to the dream?
4. How can you follow Joseph’s example by giving up your own expectations and obey what God commands?
5. The name Jesus means “the Lord saves.” Why would God name Jesus that?
Joseph learns three specific things about the baby within Mary. First, that God, through the Holy Spirit, fathered the baby. Secondly, the baby’s name is to be Jesus. Lastly, that the baby will save his people from their sins. Wow, that must have been a lot for Joseph to take in! Can you imagine?
Jesus came to earth to save people from their sins. Romans 3:23 says that “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” meaning that no matter how hard we try, we cannot live up to the standard of God’s holiness. We can’t earn extra credit points, do good things or buy our way into heaven. Here’s the good news, though! “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) God named His son “the Lord saves” because He knew that Jesus would willingly die on the cross for our sins. He died in our place in order that we could be reconciled to God. Jesus saved us from our sin – past, present and future.
As you prepare for the birth of Jesus, reflect on how the Lord has saved you and forgiven you. Take time to thank God for what He has done in your life and submit your life to Him.