22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" --which means, "God with us."

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

Matt 1:22-25 (NIV)

We discover in our verses for today, fulfilled prophecy through the virginal birth of Christ as well as the demonstration of careful faithfulness through the actions of Joseph. God will fulfill His every Word – we can take that to the bank. Jesus gives us a noteworthy solemn declaration regarding this later in Matthew in the Sermon on the Mount:

17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Matt 5:17-18 (NIV)

Since Matthew was writing primarily to a Jewish audience, the fulfillment of prophecy was constantly being brought to the forefront. In chapter two alone we discover no less than four occurrences of the prophet’s predictions being fulfilled through the life of Jesus. Matthew was ever pointing his audience to the fact that Jesus was indeed their long awaited Messiah. In our verses today Matthew cites the fulfilled prophecy from the pen of Isaiah – almost word for word:

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. Isaiah 7:14 (NIV)

The Christ would not come from an empress or queen – He did not appear with outward pomp or splendor – rather leaving His glory behind, He arrives in the womb of a poor young virgin - a reflection of spiritual purity. The highest and holiest entered this world through the most humble of doors. The Name “Immanuel” would assure the people of God’s continued Presence – to be sure, He is a “with us” God. Isn’t that wonderful news? He does not leave us as orphans. The writer of Hebrews affirms this:

God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." 6 So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" Heb 13:5-6 (NIV)

“By the light of nature, we see God as a God above us; by the light of the law, we see him as a God against us; but by the light of the gospel, we see him as Immanuel, God with us, in our own nature, and in our interest. In this consists the salvation he brought about, in the bringing of God and man together; this was what he intended, to bring God to be with us, which is our great happiness, and to bring us to be with God, which is our great duty.” Matthew Henry

God’s encouraging Word through the Prophet Isaiah comes to mind:

10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

Next we see the faithfulness of Joseph in being obedient to the Lord’s commands. He did not let his earthly concerns keep him from being distracted from the eternal matter of obedience to the will of God. There was no delay in his actions for delayed obedience, quite frankly, is disobedience. God was his strength and His presence was both Joseph’s comfort and consolation. We will always discover the sufficiency of our Lord Jesus when we follow His way and rely upon His strength and wisdom. With Him, nothing lacks of value even though at first blush, as in the case of Joseph, it seems difficult, confusing and scary to the flesh. God’s ways are not the ways of man – as Christians we must get used to this – we don’t blend with the world - Jesus didn’t. Our Lord lived out His earthly life in perfect obedience to the Father and as such, Paul states in Philippians, God exalted His Son:

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil 2:9-11 (NIV)

“Tarry not for a convenient time. The movings of the Spirit are never convenient to the interests of the flesh, and I shall engineer your circumstances to conform to My plan and My will. You will glorify Me; for My plan for you excels all other ways, and in the center of My will is a perpetual fountain of glory. Do not doubt or hesitate, for I the Lord your God go before you. You already have My promise that the work I begin I am able to carry through to completion. Yes, there is already laid up an exceeding weight of glory for those who go through with Me and determine to seize the prize. For I have wealth beyond your fondest dreams to bestow upon those who have left all to follow Me. All the glittering enticements of this transient life are as chaff in comparison, for God’s gifts and calling never waver, and My giving is restricted only by the will and choice of the recipient.” Frances J. Roberts

“A Good God is everywhere — and provides for everything with love.” Maximilian Kolbe, a Jew converted to Christianity in the Auschwitz concentration camp - known as the “Christ of Auschwitz” because of his loving deeds towards others - a willing martyr for the Lord’s glory and his eternal good.

What I Glean

  • All prophecy in Scripture will one day be fulfilled.
  • Christ left His glory in heaven – entered the earth through humble doors – remained obedient to His Father’s will – exalted by the Father to the highest place and given a Name above every Name.
  • I am to follow in Jesus’ obedient footsteps though my flesh may be “inconvenienced” – I am to be faithful to God’s call on my life.