Christmas is a virgin and a child

Matthew 1:18-25

Jerry A Collins




Ø      What is significant of Jesus coming here supernaturally?

Ø      What is the birth of Jesus asking us to believe?

Ø      What should be our natural response to Jesus birth?


I have recently begun to eat oatmeal regularly. Ruth has been doing it for several months since she has changed much of her diet due to her migraine headache problems. Eating oatmeal was never exciting. It looked so ordinary. Just sort of sat there and got caught up in your mouth as you chewed it. Well, I now find it exciting to eat oatmeal because I have found a way to make it extraordinary—beyond what is ordinary and usual about oatmeal. I cook it on the stove, then add raisins, then almond slices with some walnuts. Then brown sugar showered with slivers of apples. Then some milk and to finish it off a half a container of strawberry or banana yogurt on top. This, my friend is no ordinary oatmeal! Jesus birth was no ordinary one. It was topped off with several extras that made it stand out as an extraordinary birth. Matthew goes to great lengths to fill us in on the unique detail that made it so. We are going to see an unexpected pregnancy, an incredible explanation of this pregnancy and finally an unbelievable response to this pregnancy. Matthew records vs. 16 that Mary is the mother of Jesus. This demands further explanation which we are about to review.


As this event unfolds, the whole narrative describes God as the principle actor moving behind the scenes to bring about the birth of Jesus. Mary is found to be with child vs 18—that is she is passive— the story is not emphasizing anything she did. But Joseph is about to act vs 19. We learn that he is a righteous man and the reason for telling us this is to reveal the motivation for what he is considering. What he was considering was a way to exonerate her from the penalty of the law which in Deut 22:23-30 stated she should be stoned to death for this. Apparently a betrothal period of sometimes up to year was applied before they actually consummated the marriage. This was to show that the couple remained pure until they were united. If a violation in that period, as this appeared at first to be, then it would take a divorce to end this engagement—marriage.  Joseph did not seek the death penalty for her but wanted to keep things private so his righteous response goes beyond what the law said. He created a response that reflected the mercy and compassion of God without violating the law of God. Matthew then explains to us in vs 18 what it is that Joseph will discover in vs 20—namely, that she was found to be with child by the HS. We cannot know God’s plan because it is only known to us as it works out in the details of our lives. Joseph was expecting to marry but God’s plan included his wife being pregnant before that. We cannot know these things ahead of time so we have to be prepared to respond from the revelation we have in God’s Word. And sometimes that revelation has not spoken directly to what it is we are facing at the moment so we have to create a response from what it is we do know about God’s expectations & nature in His Word and apply that to our situation—create a response that reflects His character and pleases him. Not fear, worry, anger, anxiety but prayer, faith, righteous.


(1) In this section God chooses to explain to Joseph by an angel in a dream. God interrupted Joseph’s life situation and gives him some revelation. Stuff he could not have known unless God told him. The point of vs 20-23 is that this pregnancy and birth was completely supernatural and beyond any human comprehension. Jesus was born of Mary without a human father. Vs 16, the genealogy prepared us for this. It does not list Jesus as the son of Joseph. He was born of Mary. Jesus himself affirmed this with statements like I am from above, you are from below and God sent His son into the world. (2) The revelation also explained the name of this child. The heart of it is the giving of the name ‘Jesus’. Comes from OT name Joshua and names like Hosea, Isaiah all based on the same verb meaning to save or the Lord saves. But not just any kind of saving going on here. Needs clarification since mostly refers to physical saving in OT from enemies, disease, oppression, death. Even followers of Jesus often thot more in sense of national deliverance from Rome than in a spiritual deliverance from sin. So the clarification of His name for it is He who will save His people from their sins vs 21. Once sin is dealt with then the results of sin can be cared for as well. (3) This revelation also explained this birth as fulfillment of OT prophecy from Isaiah 7. The setting: Impending invasion of Israel in 734. Jerusalem threatened by alliance between Israel and Syria to replace the king with puppet. Isaiah called to tell King Ahaz that the invasion would not happen. In few years the north would be destroyed taken captive and Judah would survive. But this message demanded faith in this future program of God and the prophet offered him a sign to guarantee this word’s reliability. This king was not a believer 2 Chr 28 so did not want to submit to this call of faith but also did not want to appear as unbeliever to the people. So pretended piety refused to ask for sign saying he did not want to test he Lord. So prophet gave one to the people that there would be a birth guaranteeing future of dynasty. War coming and extinction possible but God guaranteeing future of Davidic royal line by an unexpected birth—a virgin would conceive and have a son. The prophecy: The anticipation of an unexpected birth of a prince in days of Isaiah connected with the royal family would be a sign—a godsend—that the royal family would continue in spite of things. We do know that this prophecy has its fullest meaning in birth of Jesus and HS applies it to this birth. This Davidic royal line almost non-existent—Rome completely dominating political scene. And in middle of this a sign was given which was ancient sign of Isaiah. There would be an actual virgin birth in lineage of David and any partial OT fulfillment only foreshadowed this. He is called Immanuel—God with us. In other words the birth would be evidence of God’s presence with his people and this fulfills prophecy 700 yrs earlier and Matthew say everything about this birth and this child in Isaiah 7-11 applies to Christ. John says he is the creator of all things 1:3. Galatians says in the fullness of time God sent forth His son born of a woman 4:4. In Phil 2 he did not cling to lofty position and took on form of servant. As soon as Joseph awakened he obeyed God 24-25. He violated custom by immediately taking Mary into his home to care for her but no sexual relations until after Jesus birth. Joseph willing to give up rites.

(1) He deserves our adoration and worship. Some evidence some considered his birth ‘troubled’ jn 8:41 enemies said ‘we are not born of fornication’ possibly hinting at his birth. The revelation, the account, the explanations, all declare it is supernatural.

(2) God’s revelation and divine plan must be embraced by faith. Except for what is written in scripture we cannot know what God is doing. Both His Word and His plan must be embraced in faith. Those who believe in the Lord will receive His Word and obey it.

(3)  God will surprise you and Jesus will trouble you. Stick to Word of God and evaluate circumstances with it.